I fell in love with the wonderfully fresh, aromatic and spicy Thai food, whilst on honeymoon in Thailand. We went to a beach restaurant in Koh Samui and being vegetarian we were well looked after. It was reassuring to know the pots and pans were well cleaned in our view before preparing our food but it meant our food always took longer to prepare.
While we were there we were told that the authentic food is very spicy, so this is a challenge to me as I love spicy food. Towards the end of our honeymoon, in Phuket we went to another beach side restaurant. I asked for the real authentic green curry that the locals would have, to this I was told we would not be able to handle it !! It was a great curry for me I just loved it :D, on the other hand even though my dear husband had it, it was too much for him and as a result he needed a few glasses of drinks to cool him down.
With Thai food the way in which the food is prepared and served is very interesting as it shows that, if you add the correct ingredients at the right time into the curry you get the most of the herbs and spices and that adds to the flavour and entire eating experience. It not only is a fantastic treat to the taste buds but also the eye as all the food is carved and looks beautiful, even the pineapple served after every meal was cut up in such away that you just wanted to leave it rather than eating it up.
The inspiration for my vegetarian version has been created by basing it on a Tarla Dalal recipe as well as looking at ingredients on ready made jars of curry paste and from TV shows. I put more lemon grass and coriander in the paste and less coconut in the curry, or as I did this time, none at all as the rice had coconut milk. This is a great curry to have if you like spicy food, and would like a change from Indian food and don’t quite fancy Chinese.
Thai Green Curry with Coconut & Lemon Rice
You can use what ever vegetables you have at hand, I like to use as many green vegetables as possible and a few to just add a splash of colour like the red capsicums, baby corn and mushroom. If you do not have or like tofu then you can use either paneer or leave it out. Do not be put off by the long list of ingredients, as mentioned before you can pre prepare the paste and freeze it which makes it much easier to have a green curry when ever the moods takes you there.
Preparation time: 30 mins Cooking time: 30 mins Serves: 4
For the Green Curry Paste
10 green chillies chopped
6 cloves of garlic chopped
1 onion chopped
3/4” piece of ginger (or to make it more authentic use galangal)
1 1/2 cups chopped coriander (with stalks)
zest of 1 lemon
juice of 1/2 lemon
4 stalks of lemon grass, bruised and chopped
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp ground coriander (dhana)
2 tbsp ground cumin (jeeru)
* Grind into a fine paste using a pestle & mortar or food processor, with a little water. Keep aside*
NB This makes 1 cup of paste, if you are in the mood to have a spicy curry use all for one curry otherwise use half.
2 tbsp sunflower oil
1 courgette chopped
1 each green & red capsicum
5 or 6 chestnut mushroom (or button) quartered
1 cup each sugar snap peas & baby corn chopped into 1 cm pieces
1 carrot sliced
1 cup savoy cabbage shredded
2 cups of water
1 tsp salt
300 g firm tofu cubed
For Coconut & Lemon Rice
2 cups rice
100 g coconut cream
1 tsp salt
4 to 5 cups of hot water
juice of 1 lemon
1) Make the paste for the green curry and boil the water. Chop the vegetables for the curry.
2) Heat a heavy bottom pan on medium heat, add the oil and paste and cook for a few minutes, stirring to ensure that the paste does not stick and all the aromas are released from the ingredients in the paste.
3) Add the capsicums and cook for a further few minutes, add the vegetables and salt and coat them in the paste and cook until they start to get tender. Add the water and cook for about 20 mins or until the vegetables are cooked.
4) While that is cooking, heat another pan on medium heat and place the rice and coconut cream and sauté for a few minutes. Add the hot water and salt and cook until the rice is ready and water is evaporated roughly 15 mins. Once cooked switch off heat and squeeze the lemon juice, mix and let it rest a few minutes before serving.
5) Check that the vegetables are cooked and add the tofu, mix and simmer for a few minutes before serving. Enjoy!