One thing I have learnt from my ‘almost’ three years of kitchen adventure is learning how to balance and harmonize flavours. Even the fresh ingredients, such as herbs, spices and vegetables, can differ depending on their freshness, the soil and climate condition where they are grown, the way they are packed and stored etc. Same chilli I had bought few days back was less spicy and the tomatoes were more juicer than the one from my previous shopping trip to same old supermarket. Similarly, tamarind puree from same brand may differ in degree of sourness depending on how thick or thin it is made while the colour of chilli powder may be brighter than the last pack you consumed.
For any cook, amateur or experienced, it is important to make adjustments in the quantity used to bring out the right flavour of the ingredients to suit your taste buds rather than blindly following the given recipes religiously. Recipes should serve as guidelines as they cannot speak for our taste preference or the variance in the ingredients we get from different places. Rather following the cooking instructions, I follow my instinct and my palate as it is these two which tells me what I would like in a particular dish, a hint of this a dash of that which creates a perfect harmony between flavour, aroma and the complete satisfaction of creating something which my loved ones enjoy.
Following your instinct and taste should not be limited to the ingredients you are familiar with, to the food which you are grown up with or to the one’s which you have had tasted hundred times. For me it is more important when I create a foreign cuisine where the ingredients used can vary considerably from batch to batch, brand to brand and seasonality. Never hesitate to cut down the number of chillies if you can’t take too much of heat, increase the amount of lime juice if you enjoy sharp and sour taste. Don’t panic if you are short of one or two ingredients. Add or omit herbs and spices to suit your taste and adjust the flavour according to your preference. Play around with the ingredients until you get the right combination of flavors that are most suited to your palate.
One cuisine which I feel I can safely tweak to my preference is Thai food. Who wouldn’t fall for a subtle blend of hot, salty, sweet and sour flavors of Thai curry which makes the taste buds tingling? When cooked with home-made curry paste it’s a cherry on icing. Don’t hesitate to make these curries if you are short of any ingredients and pick vegetables of your choice depending on your taste and seasonality.
Dont be scared of the Long List of ingredients given below, its not at all that difficult as it seems. The cooking time is very less and hassle free if all the right ingredients are present with you. When I made this Red Thai Curry before, it was just for experiment, but this highly versatile Cuisine has gotten its place as a staple in my home. Serve it with Thai Coconut rice as a base and am sure, you will love it too 🙂
What you need ?
For Thai Curry Paste:
- 3 Green Chillies
- 1 cup Fresh Thai Basil Or replace with sweet Basil
- 2 cups Fresh Coriander
- 6 Spring Onions chopped
- 1 tbsp Fresh Galangal ( you can use Ginger instead, but fresh Galangal is really the best for authentic flavour )
- 3 cloves Garlic chopped
- 3 stalks Lemon grass chopped, white core only
- 1 tbsp Ground Coriander
- ½ tsp Turmeric powder
- ½ tsp Black pepper ground
- ¼ tsp Salt
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp lime zest
- 1 whole Lime Juiced
- 2 tbsp Olive oil
For the Curry Base :
- 1 can tick coconut milk/cream
- Selection of Vegetables ( we used baby corn, red peppers sliced, Mango Touts, Beans, and sliced button mushrooms )
- Fresh Coriander and red chilli for garnish
How to Make ?
- Chop all the ingredients for the Curry Paste roughly, and blend in a mixer in a coarse Paste. Keep aside.
- In a wok or pan heat 1 tbsp vegetable oil, add 2 tbsp Green Curry Paste and fry for 30 seconds.
- Add all the vegetables and fry for next 3-4 minutes, cooked.
- Add Coconut Milk and Simmer for 10-15 minutes until the vegetables are cooked.
- Taste for seasoning and add more lime/sugar as required
Easy isn’t it !! 🙂
- Using fresh Galangal is very important in this recipe, but if you dont get it fresh ginger can be used as a substitute. Although it wont taste the same, but still will not give you the feel about it.
- Many vegetables can be used in this recipe, including Tofu. Which should be shallow fried separately after all the vegetables. And then should be mixed with the vegetables, if you mix it along with them the water oozing out might spoil the taste.
- Fresh Coconut milk will always serve better for flavors, but store bought coconut milk is pretty much OK. I used the same Canned one, but then dont use Sugar since its much sweet than fresh one.