If you look at my recent posts you would reliase that I have not talked about the weather for quite sometime. And I guess with that I atleast have earned myself an opportunity to talk about it once more. Especially when we all are under it. Right now the weather is really nasty here in Kolkata. The sudden weather change has got even the most immuned and stronger ones under its grip. Every house is suffering from bad viral fever and cough n colds.
If that was not enough the bad weather and scarcity of rain has managed to give rise to the Dengue mosquitos and how much the Govt. authorities try to deny it too many cases of this dreaded diseas has surfaced already. Come evening and we all lock ourselves within closed doors and windows.
In this hot and humid and gloomy weather the last thing I would like is to get into the kitchen and cook up a storm. But at the same time I crave for something warm, something ‘open up the blocked nose’ kinda spicy meal. And nothing fits that description better than some spicy Thai meal. Spicy, tangy and fiery red.
Thai cooking is quick if you have the basic ingredients ready. I prefer to cook my own red curry paste whenevr I get some fresh Galangal and stock it in the fridge. With that in store making a meal never takes more than 30 minutes.
Vegetarians replace chicken with tofu or paneer. Even the curry tastes awesome only with vegetables.
Red curry chicken with vegetables
Red curry paste:
(adapted from Thai table)
Shallots: 11/4 cup
Dry red chillies: 5-6 whole dry red chilies
Galangal: 4 tbsp chopped (or use young ginger)
Garlic: ½ cup
Coriander roots: ¼ cup (I used both roots and stems)
Dried shrimp paste: 2 tsp (or use 5-6 medium prawn heads)
Kaffir lime leaves 1 tbsp (or use gandhoraj lime leaves)
Zest of one big lime or 2 lemons
Oil: 1 tbsp
for the curry
Boneless chicken: 300 gms cut in 1” cubes
Vegetables: carrots, zucchini, eggplant (used the thin long variety)French beans, capsicum, baby corn: all cut in thick diagonal strips: 2 cups (we add more than 3 cups as we love it that way)
Tomato: 1 large red tomato
Coconut milk: 200 ml (used dabur’s)
Kaffir lime leaves: 2-3 pieces
Fresh red chilies: 2
Kashmiri red chili powder: 1/2 tsp
Kashmiri red chili powder: 1/2 tsp
Fish sauce: 1 tsp
Sugar: 1 tsp
Oil: 2 tbsp
First make the curry paste. Wash and chop the lemongrass in thin slices. Tear the lime leaves. Slice the shallots, galangal, coriander roots and garlic in thick chunky pieces. place everything except the oil in the blender jar. You should actually grind it in a mortar and pestle. And make a not so smooth paste.
Heat 1 tbsp oil and fry this spice paste with salt on low flame. Cook for 7-8 minutes till the paste is cooked and oil start to ooze at the sides. This paste can be kept for a couple of months if fridges.
Always keep this in an airtight glass jar.
To make the curry
Rub a pinch of salt to the chicken and keep aside.
Heat 2 tbsp oil in a big pot and add 3 tbsp curry paste and very thinly sliced kaffir lime leaves. Once it releases the aroma add in the chicken. Stir for 3-4 minutes and then add the veggies. Mix to coat everyting well.
Let it cook on low flame for 3-4 minutes minutes. Stir constantly.
Add the coconut milk and 3/4 cup of water or enough to cover everything. Mix everything well. bring it to a boil and then add fish sauce, salt and sugar to balance the taste. I also added 1/2 tsp kashmiri red chili powder for colour. Bring down the heat and let it simmer gently for 5-6 minutes.cut the tomato in 6 or 8 pieces and add. mix and simmer for another 2-3 minutes, till the chicken is done and the curry is thickened. Add chopped fresh red chilies if you like. Finish of with some fresh basil or coriander.
Serve with steamed white rice.
A Homemaker's Notes:
- You can definitely use good red curry paste.
- to make this purely vegetarian substitute fish sauce with light soy sauce, the shrimp paste with bean sauce.
- Substitute chicken with mushroom, tofu or paneer. or make a purely vegetable based curry.
- other veggies that you could include are mushrooms, Thai eggplant, snowpeas, broccoli etc.