The picture you see here is a typical Mumbai restaurant menu. I visited restaurants like this the Monday after Diwali in one of the most posh neighborhoods in Mumbai, Pali Hill. This is an extremely safe and residential neighborhood, one where I saw many women jogging in the morning and hoping on and off the bus at all times of day and early evening. Take in this photo, examine all the details. Remember that as a westerner no matter where you go it’s not a good idea to drink non-bottled water or eat from the street vendors. How would you shower and brush your teeth? Hell even my friends from India don’t drink the water and occasionally get put in the hospital for eating bad street food. One person I spoke with remarked “it’s just something that happens now and again in this part of the world”, this was after spending a week in the hospital.
Now consider this, during the week I was in Mumbai I didn’t get sick once, I ate all Indian food with the exception of 1 meal (will blog on this later) and I loved every minute of it. I am just going to come out and say it, the reason why Indian food outside of India has a hard time replicating the authentic flavors is 2 fold: Dairy and spice tolerance. Yogurt, cheese and milk are all from Indian cows that produce unique flavored dairy products. The cheese in my saag paneer was exceptional, the lassi’s were strong and the yogurt had a hint of sour cream. I am a loyal convert to the “India is the best place for vegetarians”. It is truly an awesome place for foodies and once you’ve eaten there you will long for those dishes in your hometown Indian buffet.
With this post I am going to cut right to the chase – Making Thai Green Curry from scratch was one of the best experiences I could have as someone in the gourmet food import business. If you are passionate about food, you should know how to make it (or at least try). The recipe below is from a Thai cooking school I attended while on holiday.
This recipe is the benchmark by which I judge all curry. Once you’ve made it, you will easily be able to recognize the most authentic products in your favorite restaurants. We at MIEW take our experiences into account when choosing which products to carry.
Have you tried to make Green Curry at home?
From scratch or opening a jar of simmer sauce, let us know @MIEWfoodsLLC! Next time: we complete the meal with Pad Thai.
Green Curry Paste
Large mortar and pestle
10 roasted black peppercorns
1 T roasted coriander seed
1 T roasted cumin seed
15 bird’s eye chilies (traditional Thai; for “American” super spicy, start with 6-9)
1 T galangal finely chopped
2 T lemongrass finely chopped
2 t coriander root finely chopped
1/2 t kaffir lime peel, chopped
1 T garlic chopped
3 T shallots chopped
1 t shrimp paste (vegetarian/vegan: substitute with about 1/8 t salt)
5-6 Thai basil leaves (optional, but highly recommended)
Combine all ingredients in a large mortar and use a similarly sized pestle to pound all of it into submission. And when I say pound, I mean that it needs to turn into a paste with nothing left but a ball of green goodness. It should take you about 15 minutes to get it to this stage.
You’ll know your paste is ready when it sticks together in a ball, similar to a dry dough. Now, you’re ready for the wok.
Thai Green Curry
In wok or large pot, heat:
1T vegetable oil
Green Curry Paste
1-1/3 C coconut CREAM (cream is the traditional, but coconut milk can be used)
1 C chicken stock/veggie stock
2/3 C chicken (sub cubed tofu)
Combine thoroughly, stirring often, until chicken is cooked fully
After chicken is cooked, add:
2 Thai eggplants, chopped or whole (smaller than common US eggplant)
1/2 C pea eggplant (similar to the size of garbanzo beans)
While eggplant is still is somewhat firms body/crunch to it, add remaining ingredients:
2 Kaffir lime leaves (as garnish, eat at your own peril)
1 T fish sauce (sub soy sauce or tamari)
1 T palm sugar (white sugar will work)
1 red chili, julienned
1/4 C Thai sweet basil