Sunday, November 3, 2013

Quick Thai-style curry how-to

Thai-style curry with green peppers and tofu,
made with plenty of coconut milk to eat with rice.
Here's how to make a quick Thai-style curry with pretty much whatever you have on hand.  I don't guarantee that it's 100 percent authentic, but by keeping small jars of Thai red curry and Thai green curry and a few small cans of coconut milk in the larder, I can whip up a dish on short notice that reminds me a lot of Thai restaurant food, and I don't even have to go out!

Tonight's version was very simple, using green peppers, onions and tomatoes and some leftover tofu as the base ingredients.  You can use just about anything:  Meat, poultry or seafood, tofu or faux meat, or just-plain veggies. When our garden is producing, I'll often make an entire curry based on green beans sliced into bite-size pieces, or cubes of fresh eggplant.

The basic procedure remains the same regardless:  Using a wok over high heat, brown a good ration of chopped onions in peanut oil or coconut oil with minced garlic and ginger, a good shake of red-pepper flakes and a generous grind of black pepper. 

When they're browned, add your primary ingredients, cut into stir-fry pieces.  Again, tonight it was green peppers cut into squares and tomatoes peeled and cut into chunks. Cook together briefly, then add coconut milk (I used about 7 ounces, half of a can, reserving the rest for another use) and a dab of red or green Thai curry paste, and cook on medium-high until the sauce thickens.  Use a little cornstarch-water slurry if you want a thicker sauce. 

Use more or less coconut milk depending on whether you want a rather dry dish or a lot of sauce.  Tonight I was in the mood for a saucy dish to sop up with rice, so I used extra. Another night I might go the other way.

Serve with steaming rice - tonight I used basmati, cooked Indian-style with a half-hour pre-soak before cooking the grains. That's all there is to it, quick and easy Thai-style comfort food.