Appetizing Aromatherapy: Thai Green Curry

I make curry quite regularly, especially when I'm pressed for time. Toss some curry paste, coconut milk, meat and veggies into a pot and you get a pretty tasty meal that can last a few days. In those cases, I'll use jarred curry paste that you can get at the store. However, I always find that I need to use a lot of it and the flavour is a little flat (maybe I just need to look for another brand...) Since I had too much time on my hands (such luxury!), I made the paste from scratch this time.

Curry paste preparation is virtually aromatherapeutic. Just chopping up lemongrass, cilantro, basil and lime releases incredibly appetizing smells. When the curry paste comes in contact with a hot pan, the delectable fragrance that is released is enough to call your diners to the table. I don't know if I'll go back to using the jarred stuff again!  

Thai green curry with tofu, bell pepper, carrot and green beans

Recipe after the jump!

Green Curry Paste

Yield: 1 cup (enough for one large curry)

Blend the following ingredients in a blender until a paste forms:
1 stalk lemongrass, minced
1-3 green chilies, sliced (Thai green chilies or jalapeno)
1 shallot, sliced
4-5 cloves garlic
1 thumb-size piece of galangal or ginger, thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped fresh coriander/cilantro leaves and stems
1/2 cup fresh basil
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground white pepper (available in most supermarket spice aisles)
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
3 Tbsp. fish sauce
1 tsp. shrimp paste
2 Tbsp. lime juice
1 tsp. brown sugar
3-4 Tbsp. coconut milk (enough to blend ingredients together)

To make the curry:
Heat a wok or large frying pan or pot over medium-high heat. Add 2-3 Tbsp. oil and swirl around, then add the green curry paste. Stir-fry until fragrant (1 minute), then add 1 cup stock plus your curry ingredients (meat, seafood, or tofu/wheat gluten + vegetables). Simmer until ingredients are cooked, gradually adding 1/2 to 1 can coconut milk until you're happy with the taste/thickness/amount of sauce.As you're cooking, you can also add 2-3 kaffir lime leaves (left whole) as well as any leftover lemongrass stalk pieces for even more flavor.When your curry is done, always perform a taste-taste for salt and spice. Add more fish or soy sauce if not salty enough, or some fresh-cut Thai red chilies if not spicy enough (OR add some dried crushed chili). If too spicy, add more coconut milk. If too salty or sweet, add a squeeze of lime juice. If too sour for your taste, add a touch more sugar. Finish your curry by sprinkling over generous amounts of fresh basil.This paste is also excellent added to noodles, soups, or used as a marinade for fish, shellfish, chicken or pork. For beef or bison, I find it best to make it into a curry (as noted above), slicing the meat very thinly and adding vegetables like eggplant and chopped tomatoes. 

Recipe from About.com, Thai food

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