Thai curries make for one the most soulful and comforting meals, especially during a lazy, drizzly day. The broths are so complex and flavourful, your taste buds make you go back for more and more (and then some more).
My love for Thai food is to the extent that I takeout from Thai restaurants at least 4 times a week (there was a time when I had Thai green curry for lunch every day for a month – no kidding!).
Having said that, eventually I decided it was time to learn the nuances of Thai cuisine myself and stir-up the magic in the kitchen.
Two months back, I finally bought a big fat cookbook holding recipes from well-known chefs and street hawkers all over Thailand – obviously the book boasted of authentic Thai stuff, but come to think of it, nothing can get as real as street food can it?
After satiating myself by flipping through all the pretty pictures an infinite number of times, I eventually decided to try red curry as my very first attempt into Thai cooking.
It is a dish which is not overtly spicy, pleasantly oily, rich and mild. In short, a perfect meal for dinner after a hard days work. The original recipe called for prawns and pineapple, so I substituted the prawns with a mix of veggies (carrots, baby corn, broccoli).
After sweating it out in the kitchen for an hour, the end result came out so well that I could hardly believe it myself.
The magic is the balanced medley of spiciness from the red curry paste and tart sweetness from the pineapple – right proportions of both when combined with luscious coconut cream is what creates a winning dish with flavours that linger on your taste buds (salty, sweet and sour) much after you have had the sinful bite of steamed rice with the curry.
No less that what you get in fancy restaurants, this recipe is a keeper.
[Adapted from: Khao restaurant, Bangkok]
- Coconut cream: 500ml
- Coconut milk: 250ml
- Hot water: 120ml
- Red curry paste: 3 tbsp
- Soy sauce: 1.5 tbsp (add more at a later stage if needed – soy sauce is very salty so its best to add it with precaution)
- Palm sugar: 2 tbsp
- Tamarind sauce: 220g
- Pineapple: 200g, tinned, cubed
- Firm tofu: 100g, cubed
- Carrots: 2 medium, sliced into discs, parboiled
- Broccoli: 1/4 cup, small florets, parboiled
- Baby corn: 5-6, slit, parboiled
- Kaffir lime leaf: 1, chopped finely
- Red thai chilli: 1, finely sliced
- Bring coconut cream and water to a rolling boil under medium flame in a large pan, until a thin layer of oil begins to surface
- Add red curry paste and stir well till fragrant, and oil emerges again
- Add coconut milk, soy sauce, sugar and tamarind
- Mix well and bring broth to a simmer
- Add vegetables, tofu and pineapple and continue simmering for another 7-10 minutes
- Taste and adjust seasonings as needed
- Switch off flame, add kaffir lime and chilli and stir to combine
- Serve hot with steamed rice