Thai Green Curry (made easy)

A few months ago on Twitter, Astrid commented that someone had said that it was easier to use store bought green curry paste for a home cooked curry than to make your own.  We both agreed that we completely disagree with this comment.  Making your own green curry paste is not hard.  In fact, it is super easy if you have a food processor to hand.  Without a food processor you can still do it, but it requires more chopping and a mortar / pestle to grind up the ingredients into a good paste.

The recipe below was originally inspired by Nigel Slater.  Over time I have simplified it.  For example, he adds in ground cumin and coriander (1 teaspoon each) to the paste.  I don’t do this any more.  He also adds Thai fish sauce (one tablespoon to the paste – another tablespoon to the curry when cooking).  I don’t always have this to hand so don’t always add it.  Finally he suggests adding green peppercorns to the curry when cooking – I love green peppercorns but don’t always have these to hand either.  The dish is fine without them, but a bit more interesting with them.

For the vegetables and proteins to use in the curry itself.  I often use chicken for this recipe.  But I also use prawns.  Nigel’s original recipe keeps it simple using just chestnut mushrooms, chicken, and then fresh herbs (basil and coriander) for the curry.  I tend to add in vegetables of many colours to the curry phase – I love baby bok chois, baby corn, sweet red romano peppers…  I think the joy of this recipe is that once you have made the paste, and as long as you keep the stock/coconut milk measuring consistent, you can do just about anything with it.

I serve over steamed brown rice.  But again, I bet you could serve it with Asian noodles as a soup, or with white rice, or however it takes your fancy.


Curry Paste Ingredients / Instructions

4 stalks lemon grass, peeling away the outer husks and using the tender inner leaves
3 medium hot green chillies, seeded and chopped (note: I use 3 as this is plenty for us but add to your taste)
3 cloves garlic
1 thumb sized piece galangal or ginger, peeled
2 shallots, peeled
1 good sized handful of coriander leaves
1 teaspoon of lime zest (or if you have it, as my supermarket does, some Thai Keffir Lime leaves)
1 tablespoon lime juice (if you do not have lime, you can substitute lemon just use less)
1 teaspoon ground black pepper

(optional – these are in the original Nigel Slater recipe but I eliminate them)

1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon Thai fish sauce

1.  Put all ingredients into Food Processor (Magimix)
2.  Blend until chopped finely / paste-like (frequently stopping to ensure ingredients are in bowl rather than sides)
3.  You can store in a very airtight sealed container in the fridge for a day or two before use

Note:  I prefer using immediately as the fresh smell is just so good, and the fresh flavours even better.

Curry Ingredients / Instructions

2 – 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
a few teaspoons oil (for browning chicken – ground nut oil has a high heat ability so this is a good choice)

Vegetables of choice

(Nigel Slater suggests 200g of quartered chestnut mushrooms; I use 3 baby bok chois, 1 sliced Romano red pepper (rings), baby corn pieces, sometimes mushrooms, sometimes mange tout (snow peas))

1 can coconut milk
400ml stock (chicken stock, or vegetable stock – I have a tin of Marigold organic vegetable bouillon at home that I mix for this)
Coriander leaves (and stalks also ok) – chopped up

Note:  400ml stock is the same amount as the can of coconut milk – so you can use the can to measure it out.

If you have it to hand:

1 tablespoon Thai fish sauce
Chopped basil (Thai basil)
1 tablespoon green peppercorns (drained, just the peppercorns)

1.  Cut chicken into strips, brown in oil.
2.  Remove chicken from pan, brown mushrooms (if using them).
3.  Remove mushrooms from pan, add stock, coconut milk, and curry paste (4 tablespoons, add more to taste)
4.  Bring to simmer, add in chicken, mushrooms (if using) and other vegetables.
5.  Cook until vegetables done (about 10 minutes)
6.  Add green peppercorns and Thai fish sauce (if you have to hand) and chopped herbs (basil, coriander)

Serve over rice, noodles, however you choose, and enjoy!

PS: Here is Nigel Slater explaining how to from BBC Food…

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