A while back you may remember me talking about how my thai yellow soup came into being. This is the very recipe where that chilli mishap occurred. You see, my beloved Elly is not a big fan of “spicy” food so I was trying to create a thai curry that she would at least like, so I could have a curry more often without feeling guilty that I was torturing her.
Honestly it had nothing to do with me wanting to slowly increase her tolerance for spicy food
On that fateful day the particular green chili I had decided to use was (unknown to me) not terribly hot and as I was cooking with Elly in mind I also removed the seeds. Since that incident I now cut a tiny amount of chilli off the end and touch my tongue with it to get an idea of heat. If I don’t feel a burn I use the seeds in the dish.
But that’s just me – I’ve known people who put lots more chilli in their cooking than I do, it’s all down to personal taste so it’s always a good idea to experiment with the strength and amount of chilli in a curry if it’s not to your liking.
1 stick of lemongrass
3 cloves of garlic
1 green chilli (seeds optional)
Half an onion
Thumb sized piece of ginger
Handful of fresh coriander (leaves and stems)
Handful of fresh basil leaves
Handful of fresh mint leaves
Half teaspoon ground coriander
Half teaspoon ground cumin
Half teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons fish sauce
Juice of half a lime (zest the lime first and save along with the remaining juice)
1 teaspoon brown sugar
Roughly a quarter can of coconut milk
and the rest
1 and a half onions, finely diced
4 chicken breasts, diced
2 bell peppers, diced
Three-quarter tin of coconut milk
2 kaffir lime leaves
The Curry Paste
To make the curry paste, roughly chop the ingredients and add everything except the coconut milk to your blender. Give them a few pulses to break it down a little. You are looking for a this to become a thick but smooth paste, so add the coconut milk a little at a time and try to blend. As soon as it starts to turn into a paste stop adding coconut milk and blend to a smooth paste.
Now you have your curry paste, you can store this for a day or two in an airtight container in the fridge. Or you can use it fresh, which is always my preference. It’s nice to know that you could make this up in advance if you were going to be a little pushed for time.
and the rest
Next, you’ll want to heat a frying pan over a medium to high heat and when it is up to temperature add a little oil and then your paste. You just want to release the aromatics from it so don’t wait too long (about a minute) before adding the rest of the onions and allowing them to soften a little (about 5 minutes). Add the diced chicken and stir fry until sealed (about 5 minutes).
Now increase the heat under your pan and add the coconut milk, diced peppers and the kaffir lime leaves. As soon as the mixture begins to boil, reduce to a simmer for about 20 – 25 minutes and serve on a bed of pilaf rice.
Remember the lime zest and juice I said to save? Well, here’s a great way to use it up and add a real subtle zing and punch to this dish. When making the rice pilaf, add the lime zest and juice instead of the turmeric and cook as normal. Hey presto, zingy rice!
4 cooked chicken breasts, shredded or finely chopped
Small tin sweetcorn (260g)
2 carrots, julienned
1 leek, cut in fine rings (or substitute 1 onion)
Half a bag of beansprouts
Thumb-sized piece of ginger, finely diced
1 red chilli, finely diced
2 cloves of garlic, finely diced
Toasted sesame oil
Juice of 1 lime (or 1/2 a lemon)
Packet of spring roll pastry (or substitute filo pastry)
Makes between 8 – 18 spring rolls, dependant on the size of your pastry sheets and amount of mix placed in each one.
Prepare all ingredients as described above. Heat oven to 200C.
Heat a wok, then add 2 tablespoons vegetable oil. Stir fry the ginger, garlic & chilli for approx 2 mins, stirring all the time so it does not burn. Add the carrots & leek, continue stirring for 2 mins more.
Add 1 tablespoon oyster sauce, 1 tablespoon soy & half a teaspoon sesame oil, along with the juice of the lime, stirring in well. Add in the sweetcorn & chicken and stir until well coated, remove from heat. Stir through the beansprouts.
Place a sheet of spring roll pastry on a clean surface, with the corner towards you. Spoon on filling in the centre, then fold up corner nearest you over the filling. Fold in the two sides, then roll entire piece over to finish sealing. Place on a non-stick baking tray and repeat until filling is all used.
Baste the finished spring rolls with some vegetable oil, then bake for 20-25 mins in the oven, until crispy to the touch. Serve as a meal or a snack.
150g dried pasta (the smaller the pieces the better)
2 cloves of garlic finely diced
1 tablespoon of fresh thyme, chopped
Juice of half a lime
Handful of grated parmesan
Begin by preparing the pasta as per the packaging. Then when you drain the pasta get your pan back onto a high heat and add the butter to the pan.
Once the butter has melted add the garlic and fry this for about one minute, then add the thyme and stir it in well. Finally, add the lime juice and stir for about thirty seconds before adding the pasta back in, mixing together well and serving with some grated parmesan.
You can also add some chopped salami, pepperoni or even chorizo at the same time as the garlic if you want some additional flavour.
2 sea trout fillets
1 thumb of ginger, grated
1 red chilli, roughly chopped
A handful of coriander, chopped
2 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon of sesame oil
Juice of half a lime
1 large handful of fresh baby broccoli
6 spring onions, chopped
Medium egg noodles
Begin by adding the ginger, chilli, coriander, soy, sesame oil and lime juice to a resealable container big enough to hold both pieces of trout and stir it all together (Ziploc-style bags work great for this). Next, pop the trout into the marinade, seal it and place in the fridge for about an hour.
While the fish is marinating, rinse the baby broccoli and chop off the florets, then chop the stalks diagonally into lengths of 1 – 2 centimetres.
About 10 minutes before the marinating is complete take a pan, fill it with water and bring it to the boil. You will need this ready for when the fish goes on so that you can cook your noodles at the same time. You will also need a wok and a frying pan.
Using the wok, poach the broccoli in lightly salted boiling water, for about two minutes. This is best done just before the fish goes on. When poached, take the pan off the heat and drain the hot water, leave the broccoli to one side.
Brush off the marinade before frying the trout in a hot pan for about 2 minutes on each side. Make sure the frying pan is as hot as possible before adding the fish skin side down. Do not discard the marinade.
Follow the instruction for the egg noodles and cook them in the saucepan of water you brought to the boil earlier.
Get your wok back onto the heat, add a lug of sesame oil and then pop the broccoli and chopped spring onions in. Stir fry these for about a minute then add the reserved marinade to warm it up. Add the noodles and toss together in the wok.
Once the fish is ready serve immediately.