A good Thai curry must be made from scratch. And in this day and age where one can easily find Thai herbs in one convenient pack at most supermarkets, it is easier than ever. Fresh herbs, a few dry spices from your pantry, and a heavy blender are enough to whip a gorgeous red curry paste like this one. Once you have the paste, making the actual dish - whether fish, chicken or prawn - takes less than 20 minutes. Make this fragrant, fresh homemade curry at home once and I promise, you will never buy packaged curry paste ever again.
Ingredients for Thai Red Curry with Fish
2 tablespoons store-bought Thai red curry paste (or 1 full recipe homemade curry paste)
400ml coconut milk
500g white fish, cut into large chunks
8 kaffir lime leaves, torn
1 tablespoon palm or brown sugar
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
10 pcs okra, chopped into 1 inch pieces
handful of Thai sweet basil leaves
Homemade curry paste:
3 teaspoons white peppercorns
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
8 dry large red chilies
½ teaspoon coarse sea salt
8 large cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped shallots
1 tablespoon finely sliced lemongrass
1 tablespoon finely sliced coriander roots
1 tablespoon finely sliced galangal
peel of ½ kaffir lime
½ teaspoon shrimp paste
1. Let coconut milk rest in a warm place for 30 minutes. Open the can and skim off coconut cream from top.
2. Pour coconut cream and curry paste in a hot wok and stir-fry for a few minutes until oil separates. Add the rest of the coconut milk and season with fish sauce and palm sugar - stir well.
3. Add fish at this point along with okra and torn lime leaves. Stir, bring to a boil, cover and cook for 10 minutes until fish cooks through.
4. Squeeze in a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice. Stir gently. Garnish with thai sweet basil. Serve hot with steamed rice.
Making Homemade Curry Paste:
1. Start by dry roasting white pepper corns, cumin seeds and coriander seeds in a dry saucepan. On medium flame, toss seeds for 2-3 minutes until fragrant. Pound using a mortar and pestle, set ground spices aside. Alternatively, use a coffee grinder or spice mill to grind spices.
2. Take dried chilies, soak them in warm water for about 10 minutes to rehydrate them, then drain the chilies. Cut off their stems, and chop. You may deseed chilies at this point for milder curry.
3. Pound chilies in a mortar and pestle until pasty. Place all other ingredients one by one in the mortar and keep pounding until pasty. Finish with ground spices. Alternatively, add chopped chilies to a heavy blender with metal blades along with the rest of the ingredients. Blend until very smooth, adding a few tablespoons water if necessary. Use this quantity for recipe above.
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