Green curry is misunderstood in many places outside of Thailand. Often perceived as a mild curry that you would give most chilli phobics (certainly in the UK and Ireland), it is often bland and dull, full of green peppers and mushrooms and to my mind, unless you are somewhere very good, not very interesting.
In Thailand, green curry is hot. Very hot and aromatic. Packed with flavour (which is the signature for most Thai food in my experience), you can choose the heat level you want if you make it yourself, so when we made this at the cooking school at the Khlong Lat Mayom floating market, we went for a compromise medium heat which was just perfect and not medium for our palates at all. Hot, so fresh and really delicious.
Several things make this recipe flavourful: fresh homemade coconut milk and cream, fresh pounded curry paste (you must – so much better than shop bought), the wonderful herbs and aromatics, the fish pounded to a paste with fish sauce (which Thais use instead of salt on the table) and lots of chilli.
It won’t be possible to replicate this entirely outside of Thailand but I will suggest where you can make substitutions as you go. As long as you make the paste from scratch – this is key – you will have a great dish. Everything else is a bonus.
Enjoy – it is a fantastic curry. I have adapted this recipe, but it comes from Siri, so thank you, Siri!
Note: if I don’t suggest an alternative, the ingredient is relatively easy to source via Asian supermarkets – some are online too.
Recipe: Siri’s Thai Seafood Green Curry
Serves 4 – 6
500g white fish (we used black spot fish), creamed to a paste with a few tbsp fish sauce OR 500g fish chopped into bite size pieces – hake would do well here
1 tbsp palm sugar (or brown sugar)
4 tbsp good fish sauce
250g small green aubergines, quartered (or one aubergine, diced)
4 kaffir lime leaves, leaf removed from the central stem
2 handfuls of Thai sweet basil when leaves are removed from the stems (difficult to substitute, but a combination of spinach, Italian basil and a little ground star anise would approximate it crudely)
50g Chinese galangal strips – ginger would be our closest approximation
50g pea aubergines
Green curry paste:
half a galangal root – about an inch
2 stems lemongrass, outer layers removed and topped and tailed
5 small shallots, peeled and topped and tailed
zest of half a kaffir lime (or normal lime if you can’t get one)
5 birds eye chillies
3 green finger chillies (he actually used 5 but I think 3 is good!)
5 cloves garlic
1kg fresh coconut meat from the inside of a young coconut, 1 liter of water
OR 1 x 400g tin of coconut milk and 1 x 160ml tin of coconut cream