May 19, 2007

Thai green curry

Thai green curry

For Mother's Day, my 2 sisters and I prepared lunch at home for the family. My mom's favorite cuisine is Asian, so that's what we went with as a theme, it's her day after all so we wanted to make her happy. It made me happy too because it meant I could finally try some recipes from At the Table of Jim Thompson , the cookbook I purchased form The House of Jim Thompson during a recent trip to Bangkok.

It is an elegant book of Thai recipes, some in their traditional form while others sporting a Western twist, contributed by chefs of the Jim Thompson restaurants. The pages are adorned with beautifully-styled photographs, masterpieces in their own right. I spent hours admiring them, wistful, and with a yearning for the skills of the food stylist that prepared them.

At the Table of Jim Thompson

I chose a salad and a curry from the book and my sister, Ginny, complemented this choice with MarketMan's spicy eggplant which was excellent. My younger sister, Diane, helped with the chopping, toasting, and grinding and it was nice to have someone to bark orders at and not feel guilty about it because she really seemed to be enjoying herself.

Kaffir lime leaves

It was delicious, the kaffir lime leaves (ma-krut to the Thai) imparted a fragrant citrus tartness to the creamy curry. They could make a perfume out of this leaf! Even my mom who struggled a teensy bit with the heat of the curry loved it. She loved everything actually and was mmmm-ing the entire time, grateful to us for the wonderful meal made even more enjoyable by the fact that she didn't have to lift a finger to make any of it. :)
It was a hot summer day, not exactly the perfect day for a hot curry. But with the refreshing pomelo salad and the cold drinks, we hardly noticed. I had made a pitcher of lemongrass iced tea and Ginny made a large tub of sago't gulaman (a local syrupy refreshment made with tapioca pearls or sago and gulaman or agar-agar). And to finish things off, there was a box of frozen brazo de mercedes sitting coolly in the ice box for dessert.

So here's the recipe I used. I tripled the ingredients to feed our party and tempered the heat for my mom's sake by adding a little bit more coconut milk. Because the green curry paste I used was hot enough, I omitted the red chili from the recipe. You'll love how simple it is to make how quick. Thai curries, unlike Indian curries, do not require long cooking times.

Green chicken curry (Gaeng Gwuio Warn Gai)
adapted from At the Table of Jim Thompson
Serves 1-2

1/2 cup (125 ml) coconut milk
1 cup (250 ml) coconut cream
2 tbsp green curry paste (photo at right)
2 tsp grated palm sugar
1 tbsp naam pla or Thai fish sauce
100 g skinless chicken thigh meat
3 kaffir lime leaves, torn
2 small eggplants, cut into sections
a handful of basil leaves

Pour the coconut milk and coconut cream into a wok and bring to a boil. Add the curry paste and mix well. Add the palm sugar and fish sauce and cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until fragrant. Add the chicken, lime leaves and eggplants, and simmer until the chicken and eggplant are cooked. Garnish with basil leaves to serve.

Up Next: pomelo salad recipe


Anonymous said...

I think I want that book. Thanks for telling us about it!

Anonymous said...

Oooh! Thai green curry! :) Looks and sounds delicious! I enjoy making this too because, aside from liking it, it's as you said -- very simple to make :) I already used some of the leaves!

christine said...

Aren't they so fragrant, seriously they should bottle the scent! hehe. And though not obvious from this picture, I was worried in the beginning thatI had too much chicken and eggplant in the sauce. But it turned out perfect. My dad loved it so much he was drinking the sauce like a soup!

Anonymous said...

I have always loved Thai food but never tried preparing one myself. Bookmarked a lot for ages actually... haay naku wish i'd have the time. This recipe will definitely be added to my "things to try" list. :-)

christine said...

Hay Iska, we share the same problem! I don't have time to cook like I used to before. I get home late on weekdays and I'm usually out on the weekends. It's really becomes a luxury to me now. But then we appreciate it more also, no? :) You have so many recipes I want to try!

Suzanne said...

I love a good Thai Green Curry. Actually a hot day is supposed to be perfect curry eating weather - think of the local climates where all the various curries come from. A hot curry make you sweat, which cools you down.

christine said...

Hi Suzanne! You're absolutely right! Curries are common food in mostly hot climate places. That never occured to me, the reason for it. :) THanks.