13 September, 2006

Traditional Thai chicken red curry recipe

Okay, so harking back to before "the break", I stocked up on all the ingredients required to cook traditional "Gaeng phed kai" or Thai red chicken curry (picture duplicated below for your convenience) having been so inspired by Douglas Chew-
I'm going Thai... ;)
- this was basically all the bits I didn't have in the cupboard or growing on the windowsill/in the garden, namely - Coriander seeds, Fish Sauce, Fermented Shrimp Paste, Coconut Milk, Galangal, some nice fresh dried chillis, some fresh lemon grass and a big old block of palm sugar...without further ado, on to the recipe (it's 2 stage) -

Traditional Thai Red Curry Paste Recipe

1. So, from scratch (the quantities I supply here will be sufficient to make 4 large, spicy servings of any Red Curry, but I happen to like Chicken) grab your mini blender (or pestle and mortar) and put in the following ingredients -

10 Dried red chillies (stalks and all)
7 Cloves of garlic (take the skins off)
1 Inch cube of galangal (dried is fine, in a pinch a similar quantity of fresh ginger might work instead, but I haven't tried it..)
1 Inch of lemon grass (if it's the bottom inch chop the root bit off and throw it away)
half a teaspoon of lime zest ("kaffir" lime if you can get it otherwise ordinary lime will do fine)
5 Black pepper corns
1 Tablespoon of coriander seeds
1 Teaspoon of cumin seeds
2 Teaspoons of fish sauce
1 Generous teaspoon of fermented shrimp paste or "kapi", as it is known (this stuff is STRONG!)

Now, I know this seems like a lot of chillies, but don't worry, this is simply the proportions we need to get the correct basic paste mixture (we decide how hot the final dish is going to be later)-
Traditional Thai Chicken Red Curry #1
2. Whizz it up (or spend 25 minutes grinding (choice is yours)) then immeditately put it into a totally airtight container and pop it in the fridge...
Traditional Thai Chicken Red Curry #2
3. The next thing to do is to wash up your blender (right away) or it may accumulate the same delicate aroma as the paste (you'll know what I mean when you do it), so get it all properly clean now
3. If you have the time, give the paste one nights rest to let the flavours really work into each other ;)
4. (Gordon Ramsay Voice) - Traditional Thai Red Curry Paste - Done... ;)

Note - this paste will keep for a month in the fridge, so you can comfortably make it *well* in advance of the dish itself...one thing though, make the container airtight as I said, if not, well...your milk/cheese (anything in there, in fact, that is sorbant and mild) may not be quite the same again... ;)

Traditional Thai Chicken Red Curry Recipe

1. Okay, so you are now ready to start cooking, ...You'll need the following (for each portion) -

1 Large (or two small) neatly trimmed chicken breasts (cut into bite-sized pieces, get free-range if you can, local free range is ideal)
Half a tin of coconut milk (you can get it in Tesco now)
Half a teaspoon of lime zest, "kaffir" if you can (for bonus points ;)
About ten large leaves of sweet basil (fresh)
2 Tablespoons of fish sauce
1 Inch square chunk of palm sugar
A little splash of vegetable oil
1 Tablespoon of fresh coriander leaves (for the garnish)
Your fresh homemade paste from the fridge

Add - (and this is essential) - Lots of Basmati Rice
(I'll leave the cooking method for that up to the side of your chosen packet though)
Traditional Thai Chicken Red Curry #3
2. Heat up a medium-sized frying pan...Add your dash of oil and between 1 and 3 tablespoons of the red curry paste (bear in mind, one tablespoon is *very spicy*, 3 tablespoons is traditional Thai and will most likely induce a fatal heart attack in anyone unaccustomed to the raw power (start small, you'll still *love* it, and work your way up (next time you cook) if you feel the need)...Fry it fast, keep it moving around so it cooks evenly, and don't let it burn...
Traditional Thai Chicken Red Curry #4
3. While the Curry paste is cooking, quickly shred the basil and crush the palm sugar, now, at the first hint of the fine fragrance (not burning, no black bits please...if you are in any doubt as to when the fragrance is present you can normally tell because all non-curry eaters will now have left the kitchen (if not the house) because of the strong aroma) immediately add the coconut milk and let that simmer until you see oil forming around the edge -
Traditional Thai Chicken Red Curry #5
4. Now, add all of the rest of the ingredients and slow the cooking down to an energetic simmer
Traditional Thai Chicken Red Curry #6
5. Turn your chicken regularly and cook for a couple of minutes (until the chicken is obviously done) the time to this will vary depending on how small you made the chunks, but it's no more than 5 minutes (this is a lightning dish to cook)...
Traditional Thai Chicken Red Curry #7
6. Serve over the rice, make sure you pour all the sauce over too, it's wonderful soaked into the rice, and garnish with a generous handfull of shredded coriander leaves...
Traditional Thai Chicken Red Curry #8
7. Traditional Thai Chicken Red Curry - Done...

Enjoy... ;)


Anonymous said...

MMM do you have the green version to hand?

kipperfrog said...

Looks good!

¨°º©[ Fink ]©º°¨ said...

I never much liked any Thai Green I tried (EU versions, a bit weak), but I guess I can add it to the list (from what I can see it's extremely similar in construction though)...my next project is Resturant-quality Chicken Tikka Dansak though I recon...watch this space! ;)

Thanks KF...I'll do you one with King Prawns as soon as we can arrange it... ;)

If anyone is insane enough to go for the "FULL 3'ER", please post... ;)


Whittleman said...

To help your anonymous friend with a green curry recipe: I believe that the main and fundamental difference between red and green curry is the colour of the chilli peppers used in the paste.

¨°º©[ Fink ]©º°¨ said...

Ah, thanks for the confirmation Whittleman... ;) I suspected as much...

gincoleaves said...

Hi Fink, I've spotted you on Aardvark's Flickr pics, are you guys related or "three Amigos only"? Haahaha!

The Thai dish looks Great!!
Did you do that all by yourself??
Damn, I'm so hungry now!! LOL!

¨°º©[ Fink ]©º°¨ said...

Hi Gincoleaves, actually we met in prison (ONLY JOKING!)...hehe...No, not related just old mates... ;)

And yep, all me... ;)

Thai cooking isn't technically difficult, 90% if the effort is in tracking down authentic ingredients! :)

gincoleaves said...

HAAHAAHAHA! The connection here
is as clear as daylight! :-)

Daniel said...


Ever thought of making it as a chef and buying up most of Eastbourne for your Fink 'consumer paradise' ? :P

¨°º©[ Fink ]©º°¨ said...

Hehe...I think Flyingpops would be out the door if she had to put up with the "Thai fragrance" on me more than once in a blue moon... ;)

I could eat it day and night though...


Tom Hopwood said...

Mmmm. A good Thai stick before the meal could only add to the enjoyment. Coup.. er I mean Coo.