I am coming up with two posts this fortnight. It is not a comeback but I am happy to step into my ‘blogger’ shoes after a long break. Thank you for asking after me. Your messages, comments and mails always make me smile. I am afraid I am not able to moonlight as ‘Sunshinemom’ as much as I would like to, and my day routine has just become more consuming in terms of time and energy. But, hey – once a blogger, always a blogger – right? As soon as I got a break this month, the one thing I wanted to do was cook my favourite foods and frame it for eternity. But then, I realized I have become rusty! My camera has not been used for quite sometime and the white balance settings were forgotten to be set, the lenses had to be cleaned and the memory cards erased before I could take the first step. In fact, all the photographs in this post have been taken with the white balance settings of days gone by, and I had to post-process them a bit.
I am also excited because of the changes. Autumn is my favourite Season and I love the way the trees shed in anticipation of new coats. Autumn is also a time for soups, for many Indian festivals and gatherings around friends and relatives. A time to enjoy, to be soaked and stored for memory.
On a different note, I did find time to visit one of my hobbies – crochet. I made this crochet dress for my daughter. You know her – Jr.H. I would like to know whether you like it, and your thoughts on it. I am not sure whether I should share the pattern for things I make on TT. Do you think it would hamper the site? It is a challenge for me to start or maintain another site, when I am not able to regularly update the one site I have!
A closer look:
The instant recipe is very similar to the Thai green curry I had published earlier. The main difference is the use of ‘red bird chillies’ instead of green. This time I did not have all the ingredients needed, but I am happy to tell you that the result was not very different.
Dish: Thai Red Curry with home made curry paste
Allergy information: Contains soy sauce
Yield: Serves 3 persons
Red pepper, deseeded and chopped into medium sized chunks – 1
Baby corn – 10-12
Small purple eggplants – 3-4 (I did not have Thai eggplants)
Sesame oil (not toasted) – 1-2 teaspoon, for roasting the vegetables
Fresh red bird chillies, chopped fine – 2
Sesame oil – 1 teaspoon, for cooking
Freshly expressed coconut milk – 2.5 cups, second extract
Indian lime, only zest (I did not have makroot lime) – from 2 limes
Red bird chilli, chopped fine – 1 (to garnish)
Raw organic sugar (I did not have palm sugar) – 1 teaspoon (or to balance taste)
Salt to taste
If you have, add zucchini and spring onion greens.
Red curry paste
Lemongrass – 2 stalks, only the tough portion at the bottom of the grass
Red onion – 1, small (I did not have spring onion bulbs)
Thai Red bird chillies – 4
Garlic cloves – 3
Fresh galangal – 3 cms (note on how to use galangal follows)
Fresh coriander roots with a little stalk – About 15
Dry coriander seeds, roasted without oil till aromatic – 1 teaspoon
Fresh kaffir lime leaves – 4, or 2 dried leaves
Soy sauce – 1/2 teaspoon (can be omitted if allergic)
Prepare the vegetables:
Pre-heat oven at 200 deg. C. for ten minutes.
Line tray with foil. Brush with a little sesame oil. Place chopped vegetables on the foil and top with a teaspoon of sesame oil, tossing the vegetables. Sprinkle with a little rock salt and bake for 15 to 20 minutes till done and slightly charred. Set aside till needed. The vegetables should have a crunch to them. Do not let them cook completely as they taste mushy in the curry. Not very good, in my opinion.
While the vegetables bake in the oven make the curry paste:
Cut the stalks of lemon grass, chop the red onion and galangal into rough pieces. Cut or scissor the kaffir lime leaves into thin strips. Place in a mixer along with the other ingredients listed under ‘curry paste’. Grind to a paste with a little texture. You do not want a very smooth paste in a mixer as it means incorporating more heat. This time I did not use stone as I did not have the time or muscle!
Make the curry:
Place the roasted vegetables and the curry paste in a wok stirring well to coat. Toss well, about 1-2 minutes. The vegetables are already done and need not be cooked further. This step is only to incorporate the curry paste.
Add the coconut milk. Stir well and bring to a boil on low heat. The
Add spring onion greens, if using, lime zest and sugar (palm sugar if using). Taste and add salt as per your need. I used 1 teaspoon of pink salt. Taste again and balance if needed. Let cook for a minute and remove from fire.
Before serving garnish with chopped red chillies.
Thai red curry may be served with steamed rice or with Thai rice noodles. I used sushi rice, but it tastes as good with kolam rice, and excellent with jasmine rice. I like the rice to have separate grains, and cook it open rather than pressure cook.
How to use galangal:
Galangal is a rhizome used extensively in many Asian countries, especially in and around Thailand. It has a very strong, peppery flavour and is a very hard root with bone like projections. It is pink and brown, and softer when fresh as compared to dry. Though it lasts long when refrigerated (for a week), it becomes tough. Galangal may be used either crushed or chopped into matchsticks, but it needs to be trimmed first. Remove the top layer of brown skin, and if the shoots (projections) are tough, simply discard them. It can be crushed using a mortar and pestle, or chopped with a kitchen knife.
I don’t think it can be substituted with ginger as the flavours are very different but if you must, ginger is the thing recommended by most chefs.
Sourcing ingredients, and suggested substitution:
If you live in Thane you will find fresh kaffir lime leaves, thai chillies and galangal at Hypercity on Ghodbunder Road, Godrej Nature’s Basket at Hiranandani Estate or at Korum Mall next to Eastern Express Highway at the vegetable counter.
If allergic to soy or gluten, omit soy sauce.
Vegetables I use:
Broccoli, yellow and white pumpkins, yellow or green zucchini, yellow or green peppers, apart from the vegetables used in the above recipe. Mushrooms are good too. Cut zucchini and small eggplants into half moons. Halve baby corns, and mushrooms. Chop pumpkin into chunks.
Tofu is a good addition too if you would like to add. I recommend toasting it on a tawa till the edges brown before adding.
P.S: I hope to come back with better photographs next time. The cam and I need to make friends again.