Sunday, September 23, 2007

Thai curry

I've never really been satisfied with my thai curry... The first time I made it, years ago, I made it from green curry paste and it was quite good, but I've never really gotten it back up to that level yet. I think it's because I got lured in by curry powder, and then later started making my own spice blends, which basically amounted to curry powder anyway. Curry powder doesn't really taste like thai curry.

Using some thai curry paste recipes for inspiration, I set out to cook some of the remaining veggies I had into a tasty dish. At this I succeeded, although it is not quite there yet... I place the blame squarely on my inability to find galangal. I will have to track some down for next time. You can substitute in ginger, but it's not the same. Also, I am not going to put shrimp/anchovy/etc paste or fish sauce into it. Or garlic, for that matter, as I think I am somewhat allergic to it. Maybe I should put in some salt to make up for the lack of these things.

I rode my bike to the market this morning and picked up some tofu, ginger, and coconut milk. Whilst boiling the tofu (cut into triangles) for texture, I threw some red chilis in the food processor with ginger, lemongrass (dried, sadly), cumin, coriander, paprika, and cayenne. In spite of the skin-burning capsaisin in the chilis, they are not all that hot, and I didn't use enough cayenne to make it really hot, although I tried. Anyway, I blended that all up into a paste and sauteed it for a bit, then added onions, carrots, and water, and cooked until the onions went translucent. Then I added two cans of coconut milk, a pile of chopped bell peppers, and the tofu. At this point, I whipped up some more curry paste, because it clearly wasn't enough. I don't think there's an exact science to the proportion, but a basic guideline I can use in the future is two chilis per can of coconut milk.

I'm eating it with some jasmine rice, and enjoying it a lot. It's still not quite right, but it's the closest I've gotten in a long time. Something that worked well once in the past was to deglaze at one point with a cup or so of crisp white whine (like chardonnay) and add in some brown sugar. I think it really needs galangal and fresh lemongrass to really sparkle.

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