One of the joys of living in Southeast Asia is the astounding and mouthwatering variety of food it offers. The sights, sounds and scents (not all fragrant) of the street markets, the hustle and bustle of the wet markets and the availability of steamy, delicious and inexpensive meals just can’t be replicated in the West.
After moving to London, I started to recreate all my favourite Southeast Asian dishes in my own kitchen, mostly out of desperation as I wasn’t impressed with the Eastern offerings at many restaurants. The task usually involved lots of research, frantic phonecalls to aunts in foreign lands, a hunt for a well-stocked Asian grocer and lots of grinding of exotic spices and herbs (sometimes of teeth) afterwards.
This recipe is for a paste that will help you make (to the applause of your guests) your very own Thai green curry!
- 3 long, green chillies
- 10 small, green chillies (bird’s eye)
- lemongrass, 1 stalk, with the white part chopped
- 3 shallots, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 inch galangal, chopped
- coriander roots, fistful
- Ground coriander, 1 tsp
- Ground white pepper, 1/2 tsp
- Ground cummin, 1/2 tsp
- Lime leaves, 1 tsp worth, chopped
- Salt, 1 tsp
- Fish sauce, 2 tsp
- In a mini processor, add the chillies, lemongrass, shallots and garlic
- Process in bursts til they are chopped finely
- Add all the other ingredients and process to a smoothish paste
- Be patient, I never said this was an easy assignment!
- You may add some canola oil to ease the process
- The paste may be wrapped in foil, in tablespoonfuls, and frozen.