A streamlined fresh Thai curry

July 11, 2010|By LYNNE ROSSETTO KASPER / Scripps Howard News Service

Dear Lynne: Thai vegetable curry is my goal and I am not getting there. I started with a packaged curry paste -- that was pure hellfire. The Thai cookbook on your site has recipes that look like they'll take days. Right now the local vegetables are great, but it's hot, humid and I need a killer recipe that's not going to kill the cook. I hope you can help. -- Marc on the Mississippi

Dear Marc: See how this recipe works for you. It keeps the essential Thai flavors, but is streamlined for those of us who don't have an hour or two for the job.


o Serves 6 to 8; doubles easily.

Streamlined Thai Curry Paste (this freezes well):

2 to 3 jalapeno chilies, seeded (If you like authentic heat, use just the small fresh Thai chilies found in Asian stores.)
4 large shallots, peeled and coarse chopped
8 large cloves garlic, peeled
4-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and coarse chopped
Shredded zest of 2 medium limes
1 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons expeller-pressed vegetable oil



1-1/2 cups water
2 14-ounce cans coconut milk
1 tablespoon Thai or Vietnamese fish sauce
2 generous tablespoons tamarind concentrate (optional or use more lime instead)
2 to 2-1/2 pounds mixed vegetables cut into bite-sized pieces (i.e., green beans, corn, potatoes, small onions, tomatoes, Chinese broccoli, eggplant or greens). Cut hard, slower-cooking vegetables into smaller or thinner pieces so all the vegetables cook at the same rate.
Juice of 2 limes
2 handfuls fresh Thai or regular basil leaves, torn

1. In a blender puree the first 7 ingredients. Heat the oil in a 12-inch straight-sided saute pan over medium high. Add the puree and saute off water for about 3 minutes. Stir in 1 can coconut milk. Simmer until mixture is sizzling (coconut milk will look separated -- this is as it should be). Keep scraping up the brown glaze on the bottom and sides of pan. That glaze gives the curry depth. Consider it pure gold.

2. Stir in the 1-1/2 cups water, fish sauce, tamarind and the rest of the coconut milk. Boil 5 to 10 minutes, stirring to blend in with the curry. It should be like a thick soup. Sauce can be refrigerated up to two days at this point.

3. Finish dish by bringing sauce to a gentle simmer. Add the vegetables. Simmer gently until they are tender. Taste for salt.

4. Squeeze the lime juice over the curry and fold in basil leaves. Serve hot or warm.

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