Saturday, 23 June 2012

Thai Red Curry Paste

This curry is a beautiful and fragrant, it will fill your kitchen with aromas of fresh lime and pungent ginger, all mouth watering and tempting. The ingredients for this recipe are now available in most large supermarkets and I think it is worth the effort to make your own curry paste if you can, it is amazing the difference between it and the shop bought variety, much richer. Some of these ingredients are very new on the Irish market so I have a brief explanation of the more unusual ingredients to help you on your way.

There are two dozen varieties used in Thai cooking, including the green finger length chillies; medium length plump chillies (yellow, white, orange, green or red); and the tiny bird's-eye.

Similar in appearance to ginger but lighter in colour and more tender. It's flavour is fresh and fragrant, with slightly less heat than ginger.

These hard woody stalks add zingy citrus-lemon flavour to dishes. It can be added whole , then removed at the end of cooking. To release the flavours, the stalks are usually crushed or pounded using a mortar and pestle.

6-8 Long red chillies, deseeded and roughly chopped
1 Lime, juice of half and the rind
2 Shallots, roughly chopped
4cm Ginger, peeled and grated
4cm Galangal, peeled and grated
4 Cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
2 Stalks of lemongrass, finely chopped
10 Black peppercorns or 1tsp freshly ground white pepper
1tsp Salt
1/4tsp Corriander seeds or 1tsp ground corriander
1/4 tsp Cumin seeds or 1/2 tsp ground cumin
6tbsp Vegetable oil

Blend in a food processor the red chillies, shallots, garlic, galangal, fresh ginger and lemongrass.

Add the lime juice and grated rind, peppercorns, corriander seeds and cumin seeds. Gradually add the vegetable oil and blend to a smooth paste. The more traditional method is to grind all the ingredients into a paste using a mortar and pestle, works up an appetite!!

When a smooth fragrant paste is achieved transfer to a sterilised jar and keep refrigerated. The paste will keep for 4-5 weeks.

TIP:To sterilise jars, either put them through a cycle in your dishwasher, boil them for 5 minutes in pan of water or place in an over preheated to 150C/ 300F/Gas 2 for 10 minutes. 

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