I’ve mastered the art of combining spices to make Indian curries, and very rarely opt for anything other than homemade spice mixes. Store-bought curry pastes have there place: they are extremely handy when everyone wants a curry while on holiday at the beach, but apart from than that, I just don’t buy them. However, I have a different attitude when it comes to Thai curry pastes.
Red, green, yellow, mussaman and penang – you can get them all. And they are so handy. They either come in a small sachet that you use all in one go, or in a resealable jar that can live in the fridge. I think the difference is you need fresh ingredients to make a Thai curry paste. Things that don’t just live on the pantry shelf that you can reach in and grab when you want to use them. Thai curry pastes need planning. You need to go out of your way to buy the lemongrass, galangal, chillies. They aren’t a lazy option. They are an enterprise that requires thought. And sometimes that’s just too much effort.
But be warned. Thai curry pastes are not created equal. At one end of the spectrum are the really bad ones that need to be avoided (price is no indicator of quality), and then there’s those stocked by specialist delis, usually displaying the name of a well known chef. After a few hit and misses, I have found the Mae Ploy brand consistently good across the range. Having said that, it’s always best to err on the side of caution when it comes to adding the curry paste, especially one you’ve never tried before. You can always add more, but its very hard to take it out if it’s too spicy. The only option then is to add more coconut milk to dilute the flavour.
This recipe is great with chicken too. Enjoy!
- 4 small chat potatoes (200g), halved
- 400 ml can coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon yellow curry paste
- ¼ cup water
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 tablespoon grated palm sugar
- 500 g firm white fish, cut into 3cm pieces
- 4 green onions, thinly sliced
- ½ small red capsicum, thinly sliced
- ¼ cup coriander leaves, roughly chopped
- jasmine rice, to serve
- Cook the potato cubes until almost tender. Drain and set aside.
- Place half of the coconut milk in a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Boil until the oil has started separating from the coconut milk. Add the curry paste, stir through and cook for a minute. Add the remaining coconut milk, water, fish sauce, lime juice and palm sugar. Stir until the sugar dissolves.
- Add the fish and potato. Cook over a low heat until the fish is cooked to your liking. If the sauce becomes too thick, add a little extra water. Stir in the green onions, coriander and red capsicum.
- Serve with jasmine rice.