Monday, September 30, 2013

Thai Yellow Curry (And Homemade Curry Paste)

This was a delicious and flavorful dish.  If you use store-bought curry paste, this dish is incredibly easy to make, too.   I could have ordered yellow curry paste from Amazon, but I chose to make my own, instead.  I froze what I didn't use in 2-3 tablespoon mounds to use for later.
As far as the kids go, my two-year old loved this.  This curry is more sweet than spicy-hot, so it was perfect for him.  My 11-year old daughter seemed to like this well enough; had seconds, but didn't finish them.  My boys seemed scared of it...... oh well.  It's not like food from different countries is foreign to them!!  :)  

A note about using the homemade curry paste: unlike store-bought paste, the homemade version has no added salt, so you may need to add some salt to the finished dish.  If you use the shrimp paste or anchovies, those add some salt.  I didn't add salt, since the fish sauce called for in the yellow curry recipe contained enough salt for me.  

Thai Yellow Curry
adapted from Rachel Cooks Thai

1 14-ounce can of coconut milk
2 tablespoons yellow curry paste (recipe below, or use storebought)
1 large chicken breast
1 cup water
2 medium potatoes
1/2 of a large onion
1 14-ounce can of baby corn (or other vegetable)
1 teaspoon fish sauce*
1/2 teaspoon sugar or palm sugar
kaffir lime leaves, fresh basil, and/or thinly sliced hot red peppers, for garnish

1.  Prepare your ingredients. Slice the onion, baby corn, and chicken into bite-sized pieces. Peel, cut, and parboil the potatoes for 5 minutes. Set aside.

2.  Open the can of coconut milk and scoop the top thicker cream part into a pan. Heat this cream over medium heat until the oil just starts to separate from the milk. Then add the yellow curry paste and saute with the cream until it becomes fragrant. (If your coconut milk doesn't have cream on top... just dump the whole thing in and start with that.)

3.  Add the chicken, coat in the curry paste, and cook until it's done. Then add the rest of the coconut milk and 1/2 cup to one cup of water and bring to a boil. Let cook until the consistency of the curry is what you prefer. You can use more or less water depending on how thick you want your sauce.  

4.  Add the potatoes, onions, and baby corn and cook until just done, but still firm. Adjust seasonings with fish sauce *(for gluten-free cooking, make sure your fish sauce is gluten-free) and sugar to taste.  Garnish with thinly sliced kaffir lime leaves (or fresh basil)  and sliced red peppers. Serve with jasmine rice.

Homemade Yellow Curry Paste
adapted from Food

7 dried hot red chilies (long ones of the cayenne variety)
3-5 ounces shallots, chopped 
1 tablespoon fresh lemongrass, that has been thinly sliced cross ways
10 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped (10 if small or 5 if large)
1 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped 
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper 
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon shrimp paste, chopped or 3 anchovies (or 1 tsp. capers + squirt fish sauce)
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

1.  Soak the red chillies in 5 tablespoons hot water for 1-2 hours. (You could also put them in a microwave oven for 2-3 minutes and then let them sit for 20-30 minutes.)

2.  Put the chillies, together with their soaking liquid, into a blender or food processor along with all the remaining ingredients in the order listed.  
Blend, pushing down with a rubber spatula as many times as necessary, until you have a smooth paste.

3.  What you do not use immediately should be refrigerated or frozen.  To freeze, lay a sheet of wax paper out on a baking sheet.  Measure out two or three tablespoon mounds onto the wax paper. Freeze overnight.  In the morning, place frozen mounds into a freezer-safe bag or container, label, and store in freezer.  When ready to use, thaw out desired amount in the refrigerator overnight, covered.  
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