This one is a personal favorite. I just love coconut-based sauces, so rich, creamy, and nutty. The rich flavors in this dish though is perfectly balanced-out by the pungency of the green curry.
Green curry is a Thai variation which basically is a coconut milk based dish, given a green tint with the use of green chilis in the flavoring paste. Usually used for a main component of seafood this would work equally well with chicken, or any other light-flavored meat. I prefer to use a red curry paste though for stronger flavored meat such as beef or duck.
This for me is the fun part – making my own curry paste from scratch. This way I have total control of how the flavors play in my final dish. For this I used shallots, ginger, garlic, lemongrass stalks, cilantro, lime, and of course the green chilis. Feel free to alter this. Use more lemongrass for a more citrus hint, more cilantro for a lighter, fresher curry, or more chili for more heat. You may also add in some of the basil leaves at this stage if you wish.
You’ll need to pre-chop your ingredients for this roughly to make processing it easier for the blender. Traditionally done with a mortar and pestle, I don’t see any disadvantage to using a food processor. You may add a little liquid in here to produce a finer paste. I add a bit of coconut cream to mine, which I will later explain. A few tips on this step :
- Use your cilantro all the way to the root. They’ll end up in a paste by the way, plus those roots have lots more flavor than the leaves.
- You may have to peel the outer layers of the lemongrass off as they would not break down in your food processor. You’ll eventually feel rough bits of them in your sauce.
- Use only the stalks of lemongrass. The tops won’t be broken down in the paste either. But don’t discard them yet. You’ll want to save them for later.
Next is a very important step to making your curry – roasting the paste. Roasting it would release all the oils from the aromatic components, deepening their flavors. Here is why I chose to incorporate some coconut cream as I processed my paste. I wanted it to split with the heat in this stage, releasing its natural oil, and consequently roasting my paste. Also, the curds would toast in the process, lending off a distinct nutty essence. You’ll want to keep a constant stir to this to keep the curds from totally burning which would result in a bitter flavor.
Don’t worry if you end up with a few bits sticking to your pan. Just deglaze with some stock, scrape them off, and you’re fine.
The full recipe with ingredients list, instructions, and more photos of the process starts on Page 2! This helps the page load faster, so you see all the images and print the recipe even on slow internet connections 🙂 More fun photos of the final dish on Page 2 as well!