Spicy food is something I really like. Spices are very important for food and the Thai kitchen knows how to use spices. This dish can be a bit spicy, however due to the coconut milk it becomes less spicy. If you want to have a more spicy meal, add more chillies (even dried) or remove less seeds of the chilies. For this dish I always use 10-15 red chilies and the seeds of 1 or 2 chilies. It all depends on the level of spice I want and who joins for dinner. Some people don’t like spicy food then I prepare this dish with a minimum of spices.
Ingredients for 2 persons
- 2 gr. coriander seeds
- 1 gr. cumin seeds
- 10-15 red chilies, fresh.
- 4 shallots
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1.5 cm. fresh galangal root
- 2 stems of lemmongrass
- 12 peppercorns
- bit cinnamon
- bit turmeric (fresh if possible)
- 1/2 table spoon shrimp paste
- bit of olive oil
- 400 ml. coconut milk
- 2 chicken breasts or 2 chicken legs
- 2 spoons Thai fish sauce
- small can with bamboo
- 10 kaffir lime leaves
Preparing basis paste
In case using fresh turmeric peel the turmeric and cut into small pieces. Roast the coriander seeds, cumin seeds and fresh turmeric in a baking pan till the flavors release. Then turn off the heat and transfer the seeds in a pounder or mixer. In case using powdered turmeric, do not fry it as most of it will stay in the pan.
Cut the shallots in thin rings and cut the garlic.
Cut the chili peppers in half, remove the seeds. As mentioned for a bit more spiciness leave the seeds of 1-2 chilies in the chilly. The rest has to be removed. When making the dish for ourselves I use the seeds of 2 chilies.
Peel the galangal and chop in small pieces. Cut the lemongrass in thin rings.
Add the chili peppers, garlic, shallots, garlic, galangal root, lemon grass, pepper corns, cinnamon, turmeric, shrimp paste in a pounder or food processor.
I normally start rubbing the ingredients in the pounder, when the flavors are mixed and the first parts are softer I transfer the mixture into a foodprocessor. In case you do not have a pounder or want to put everything immediately into the food processor this is possible!
Rub in the pounder till it is a paste or process in the food processor till the ingredients are a paste.
Add some olive oil to the paste and mix it. This is the basis red curry paste.
Preparing the Curry
Cut the chicken breast in small pieces or remove the meat from the chicken legs. Fry the pieces in a baking pan till it the chicken becomes a bit colored.
Heat the coconut milk in a wok till it’s warm. I do not let the coconut milk boil as it will shift, but if you want to do this, this is not a problem. Some people like it better when the coconut milk is shifted.
Add the 3 spoons of the basis red curry paste and stir it through the warm coconut milk.
Stir and boil this for 3 minutes. Keep on stirring otherwise the paste might burn in the pan.
Add the baked chicken, the Thai fish saus, kaffir lime leaves, bamboo and sugar and stir. Boil it for 5 minutes. Make sure the chicken is cooked. Stir sometimes so the paste will not burn.
When the curry is done turn off the heat and serve the red curry with white rice, a hot egg and some vegetables. Add shrimp crackers if you want.
A riesling goes well with Thai food.
Alternative to chicken
This curry is also delicious if you make it with Shrimps or Tofu.
When you want to make a vegan red curry replace the chicken for tofu, replace the fish sauce for mushroom sauce and the shrimp paste for fermented bean paste, or skip the shrimp paste and do not replace it by a substitute.