I am finally posting again after my 6 (or more) month hiatus. I love curry, all kinds. So far the only one I have tried to make is Thai yellow curry after my wonderful husband took to me on a cooking class date night for my birthday a year ago, where we made it. It is actually pretty easy to make the curry paste (if you cheat and use a food processor. If you do it the right way – hand grinding everything with a mortar and pestle it is a lot more work) and if you make a big batch then you can have extras, and at a later date throw it together with some veggies, tofu, chicken, etc and whip up a really easy meal. The hard part is finding some of the ingredients. Some of the staples, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, and lemongrass can be particularly difficult to find in regular American grocery stores and if you don’t have a local Asian market, you could be out of luck. So here is my version of Thai Yellow Curry made with ingredients that are relatively easy to find in American grocery stores. Certainly not authentic, but still healthy and delicious.
4 sticks celery
4-5 pieces fresh turmeric root
1 chunk ginger about 2 inches long
1 red chili pepper
2 small shallots
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 tsp Cumin
1 tsp Coriander
1/2 tsp cloves
1 tablespoon honey
2-3 tablespoons liquid aminos or soy sauce (or consider cured black olives)
2 tablespoons oil – avocado, canola, grapeseed, etc
Chop the celery into chunks, no more than about 2 inches long. Wearing some sort of rubber or latex or nitrile gloves so your fingers don’t get stained orange, and using a paring knife peel the turmeric and ginger and chop them into a few chunks. Peel the shallots and the 2 cloves (not whole heads as pictured above) of garlic. Slice the chili lengthwise and scrape out the seeds and discard. (It is a great idea to still wear the gloves for this step so when you accidentally rub your eye later it doesn’t catch on fire even though you have washed your hands 5 times…..). Toss all of that into the food processor.
Grate the zest off of the lemon and the lime using a microplane (pictured) or a zester. Make sure you only get the colorful part which is what contains the flavorful essential oils and try not to get too much of the white rind, which is the bitter part.
Once all of that is in the food processor, drizzle in the honey, and add 1 tablespoon of the aminos and 2 tablespoons of the oil.
Pulse the food processor to blend everything together, stopping periodically to scrape it down off the sides. Once it is partially blended, as long as you do not see liquid pooling, add another tablespoon of aminos and then a third if it still isn’t too soggy. If you pause between the additions and you see liquid pooling, use a teaspoon of salt, or 2 tablespoons of cured black olives instead. Keep pulsing until it is blended and paste-like.
Once this is done all you have to do is pick your protein (chicken and tofu are great), veggies (I suggest some combination of carrots, broccoli, red/yellow bell peppers, and peas), add about 3 tablespoons of paste (more or less to taste) and 1 or 2 cans of coconut milk depending on how much you are making (1 can for up to 4 people, 2 for more or for leftovers). If you use chicken be sure to cook it first, then add the coconut milk, curry paste, carrots and broccoli for about 5 minutes then add the rest of the veggies for another 5 minutes and you are done!