Whenever I get asked the question, “what is my favorite food” I’m always hesitant to answer because there are sooooo many delicious things to eat in the world. But a dish that is always in my top list: Thai Curry.
Thai Curries are the equivalent in the food world to a good hug. They’re warming, sweet and savory at the same time, spicy, and hearty yet refreshing, Sometimes after eating certain foods, like fast food, the feeling of sluggishness and bloating can occur. Thai curries are pretty much the opposite of that feeling. I always feel satisfied and refreshed after eating one.
There are three distinct types of Thai curries: Green, Red, and Yellow. Green ones are made with green chilies and herbs like mint and cilantro to give it its green color. Reds are made with red chilies and red colored spices and oils. And yellow is given it’s color from turmeric, which is a VERY potent dye. Turmeric will stain clothes, plastic containers, and even skin. Yet, turmeric has incredible health benefits. It’s main benefit being that it possesses anti inflammatory powers. In Thailand and Vietnam, locals make tea out of fresh turmeric roots for health and prosperity.
The beautiful thing about making a Thai curry at home is that it is a magnet for little bits you probably have in your refrigerator. You probably have most of what you need to make a delicious meal in your pantry and refrigerator right now. There are only a couple of special ingredients you will need, which makes shopping much easier.
Thai Yellow Curry:
I like to split this recipe up into two different parts. Cooking the vegetables and making the sauce. Most recipes cook the vegetables in the sauce, but I’ve found that cooking them separately AND THEN serving the two together produces much much better results.
For the vegetables:
4 red bell peppers
3 heads of broccoli
6 Yukon gold potatoes
1 lb. green beans
3 tbls. oil
salt to taste
Preheat your oven to 400°F and get your self three different baking trays. If they are metal, line them with parchment paper so you wont get and burned bits. Now cut your carrots peppers, broccoli, and potatoes into bite sized pieces and toss them all separately with oil and a pinch of salt. On one tray, add your potatoes, on the next tray add the carrots, and on the third tray add your broccoli and peppers. The broccoli and peppers cook at the same rate, but the carrots and potatoes cook at different rates which is why we are going to cook them all separately. If you’re wondering why go to all the fuss, well…This dish show cases the vegetables as the star of the show, so it only makes sense to give them the royal treatment. By cooking them all separately, we will have an incredibly more flavorful dish in the end. As far as the green beans are concerned, blanch them in boiling water for 2 minutes and remove to an ice bath.
here you can find a much more detailed instruction on that process. Once all the veggies are trayed up, roast them in the oven until they have just the slightest bite to them, all except the potatoes. You can cook those until completely soft throughout. I’m not going to give you a cooking time either! It all depends on your oven and how big you cut the vegetables, so any cooking time I give you could possibly be inaccurate. Instead, use your sense of touch and taste. By far the most important tools in your kitchen are your senses. Learning to use them to tell when your food is done is one of the best things you can learn about cooking. So keep checking on your veggies in the oven and don’t be afraid to poke at them and taste one from time to time. Once they are all out of the oven, it is now safe to mix them together and reserve for later.
For the curry:
2 cans coconut milk
1 cup water
3 coves garlic
1 thumb sized piece of ginger
2 stalks lemongrass
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground fennel
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 teaspoons turmeric
mint and cilantro to garnish
1 to 3 small Thai chilies (optional for heat)
While the vegetables are cooking, wash the dirt from the inner leaves of the leek under running water. Cut the leek into dice sized pieces and find yourself a medium sized saucepan and put over medium heat with a couple tablespoons of oil. Add the leek once hot and stir in a couple pinches of salt. Sweat for about five minutes. While that is cooking roughly mince the garlic, ginger, and chilies (use cautiously, they can get pretty hot!) and slice the lemon grass into thin rings. Add them to the pot, as well as all the spices, and continue sweating for a few more minutes until everything is soft. Now add in the water and coconut milk and stir to combine everything. Bring this to a simmer and cook for ten minutes. Transfer the contents of the pot to a blender and blend until the curry is smooth. Now add back to the pot, and season with lime juice and salt.
Now that the prep work is out of the way, we can finish the dish, or reserve for later. Once you are ready to serve, heat a large skillet or steel pan over high heat and add a tablespoon of oil. once hot, add a serving portion of your vegetables and sauté until they crisp up on the surface. In a bowl or serving dish ladle in your warm curry sauce and top with the vegetables, a scoop of cooked jasmine rice if you like, and plenty of mint and cilantro.
The great thing about cooking the two separately is that your veggies will never get soggy and mushy, and the leftovers will always be just as good as the day it was first made. Give this recipe a try and leave a comment below to let me know what you think!