Monday, July 28, 2014

Recipe: Gaeng Keow Wan Gai (Thai Green Chicken Curry)

Thai Green Chicken Curry must be a comfort food. It's not my favourite dish- in terms of curries, I'm much more a massaman red duck curry with lychees-kinda eater. However, green chicken curry is so easy to make and so good over white rice (an indulgence these days), that I think everyone should know this recipe.

We harvested a basil patch over the weekend and wound up with a large bag of Thai basil, so I was motivated to make this, one of the dishes that uses a good amount of Thai basil and also Pad Krapow Moo, stir fried minced pork (or sliced long beans, for a healthier alternative) with Thai basil over rice, usually topped with a fried egg.

This curry is also easily stored for a simple one dish meal. The essence is the green curry paste, or rempah, as we would say in South East Asia, which in Thailand is called Nam Prik. If you cannot be bothered to make your own, you can get a packet version- I would recommend the Blue Elephant sauce packs. (There are some curries for which you have to make the Nam Prik yourself, this I feel is not one of those).

The Nam Prik has all the hallmarks of South East Asian cookig- kaffir lime, galangal and lemongrass, as well as a very Thai ingredient of cilantro root, which is supposed to be very healthy and helps to lower cholestrol. Combine the coriander seeds, cumin and peppercorn in a mortar and pound well. Pound hot chillies and salt together, then add the remaining ingredients except the belachan. Add the cumin mixture and the belachan and mix well. Modern chefs might use a food processor or a thermomix to grind the whole lot until smooth and fine.

15 large fresh green chillies
3 shallots, sliced
9 cloves garlic
1 tsp finely sliced fresh galangal
1 tbsp sliced fresh lemon grass
1/2 tsp finely grated kaffir lime rind
1 tsp chopped coriander root
5 white peppercorn
1 tbsp roasted coriander seeds
1 tsp roasted cumin seeds
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp shrimp paste (belachan)

400ml coconut milk
100ml water
500 grams chicken meat - either thighs or breast meat
2 egg plants
1 box cherry tomatoes
3 tsp fish sauce
a handful of Thai basil

From there, the process is easy. Heat some vegetable oil in a pan, fry the rempah until aromatic and add half the coconut milk, while continuing to fry. Add the remaining coconut milk and water, then turn up the heat and cook with the chicken, egg plant and tomatoes until cooked through. 

I use regular egg plant instead of Thai egg plant in my green curry chicken because I'm not a fan of the see and pulp -filled Thai eggplant, and I like my curries fairly mild, if you like yours thicker and spicier, feel free to add less coconut milk or more chillies. 

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