There are some questions in this life/world I do not really need answers to. Namely:
-Just how unhealthy is pre-churned ice cream custard? It’s not even ice cream–it’s just a precursor. Pre-indulgence, pre-dessert, pre-fattygoodness. Therefore I’m just gonna keep taste testing.
-Why is the whole Internet talking about Miley Cyrus? … Oh. Ok. I guess the Internet will answer that for me no matter how little I care. Thanks Internet!
There are other things I would like demystified, though–green curry is one of them. It’s such an interesting, nuanced flavor–I don’t think there’s anything quite like it. Green curry paste is widely available, sure. But if we can take basic, whole ingredients and make it ourselves, why wouldn’t we?
…Well. Time constraints, the unavailability of elusive ingredients, etc. I know. I know! That’s why I’m doing this–so you don’t have to. As fun a project as it was, simply buying your green curry paste and whipping this up on a weeknight is plenty rewarding, plenty delicious, plenty soul-nourishing. It’s summer’s vegetable bounty, plus dreamy coconut milk, plus the aforementioned green curry, plus chicken (or tofu if you’d like).
Project Green Curry Paste begins by toasting spices… Nothing like this has ever ended poorly. Right?
The rest: lime zest, galangal, lemongrass, shallot, garlic, Thai chiles. Not too shabby either! Your favorite Asian market probably has these things… I know I would be lost without the ol’ 168.
Heidi at 101 Cookbooks, the source and inspiration for this, uses a mortar and pestle, with a food processor being an acceptable alternative. Honestly, I’m not sure a food processor works. See all those little seeds? They never quite got crushed properly. This was still very, very good–though I can only imagine the flavortopia it would have been had I invested in a mortar and pestle first.
As for the vegetables, literally anything you find at the farmer’s market will probably work great. Well, maybe don’t try this with artisanal soaps, but you get my drift, no?
Oh, corn. Corn is probably a must in August, though.
The richness of the coconut milk you want to use is entirely your call. I liked this lowfat situation–not too heavy, not too light. Though I suspect you can’t really go wrong.
Kaffir lime leaves are a beautifully fragrant addition, if you can find them. If not, no big deal.
…And in no time, you can stick your face in this and take a deep breath. You shall smell glory itself.
It’s almost the season for eating warm things out of bowls… That’s why we’re starting with something that screams “Summmmeerrrrrr!” Transitions, and all that. Delicious, delicious transitions.
- 2-3 green hot Thai chiles
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
- 1 tablespoon chopped shallots
- 1 tablespoon chopped galangal
- 1/2 teaspoon lime zest
- 1 tablespoon chopped lemongrass
- 1/4 teaspoon toasted cumin seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon toasted coriander seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 14-ounce can coconut milk (I used lowfat)
- 4 medium shallots, chopped
- 2 tablespoons green curry paste, or more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 boneless skinless chicken breast, sliced thin (for vegan version, substitute with tofu and add when adding squash and beans)
- Kernels from one ear of corn
- 1 cup chopped cauliflower
- 4-5 kaffir lime leaves (optional but wonderful)
- 1 cup diced summer squash
- 1 cup yellow wax beans or green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
- kernels from 1 ear of corn
- 1 lime, halved or quartered
- Chopped cilantro and additional lime, for serving
- Crush the ingredients, starting with the Thai chiles and working your way down the list, in a mortar and pestle (preferably--see notes above). Alternatively, process everything in a food processor.
- In a large pot over medium-high heat, bring about 1/4 cup of the coconut to a simmer, than add 2/3s of the shallots. Sprinkle some lime juice over the rest of the shallots and set aside. Saute shallots in pot until they're soft and translucent, 2-3 minutes. Add the curry paste and salt and cook for another minute or so.
- Add the rest of the coconut milk to the pot along with the chicken, cauliflower, corn and lime leaves, if using, then cover, and simmer until chicken is cooked through and vegetables are almost done, 15 minutes or so. At this point add the squash and beans. Simmer until squash and beans are tender-crisp, 3-5 minutes.
- Remove from heat, add lime juice or salt if desired, and top with cilantro to serve (alongside with lime wedges). Serves 4.