After pad thai, green curry is one of Thailand's most famous contributions to world cooking. The paste from which it derives both its color and its name forms the base of a wide variety of vegetable and meat dishes in the form of stir fries, dry curries and soups. Commercial green curry pastes are easily available, but as time goes by I've more and more adopted the practice of making my own homemade pastes — just as with spice blends, the additional time spent preparing your own is rewarded with incredibly fresh, vibrant and authentic flavors and aromas that the commercial varieties can't really compete with.
And this green curry paste recipe is no exception — the aroma alone is astonishingly clear, pungent and exotic, and the taste is extraordinarily vivid. Green curry pastes are typically made with fish sauce and sometimes shrimp paste as well, so this homemade version presents another advantage to vegetarians.
Keep the 1 1/2 cups that this recipe makes in a well-sealed jar for up to a couple of weeks in the refrigerator, or freeze it in ice cube trays or a tablespoon or two at a time in small baggies — a little of this potent blend goes a long way! I'll shortly be sharing a recipe for an authentic and wonderfully flavorful green curry lentil and vegetable soup that uses only a small amount of this paste but to great effect.
Some notes on this recipe:
Feel free to adjust the quantities of individual ingredients to your preferences, and increase or reduce the number of green chilies depending on your taste and the type of chili. I used unseeded serranos in this recipe, with a fairly hot result. You can seed the chilies as well if you prefer less heat. You can also substitute 1/4 teaspoon each of ground coriander and ground cumin for the whole seeds if necessary, although I feel that toasting and grinding the seeds adds a fresher flavor.
Finally, galangal (or galanga) is a close relative of ginger and is used in the same way. Galangal has a paler and thinner pinkish skin that is peeled just as with ginger, and while the taste is hot and zesty like ginger, it has a strong and unique citrusy and mustardy flavor and aroma with hints of pine that is quite unlike its cousin. I recommend looking for it in an Asian grocer where it is usually available fresh or frozen (some people prefer frozen galangal imported from Thailand over fresh galangal grown in California or locally). But ginger will also produce a fine result.
|Homemade Vegetarian Thai Green Curry Paste|
|Recipe by Lisa Turner|
Published on March 18, 2012
The base for one of Thailand's most famous food styles, green curry paste adds a vivid zesty and pungent flavor and aroma to curries and soups — this homemade version is especially vibrant and suitable for vegetarians
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Red Chili and Vinegar Paste
Spicy Sun-Dried Tomato Paste
On the top of the reading stack: Quinoa 365: The Everyday Superfood
Audio Accompaniment: Fernando Lagreca