Green curry is known as the hot cousin of the standard yellow or spicy red bases of other delightful dishes, though most assume -- because of its colour -- that it is quite the calm dish. However, in terms of flavor, it is the sweetness of the paste which sets it apart from other curries. Originating in Asia, the paste has been used for hundreds of years to flavor a variety of dishes, however, it was in the 14th century, in Siam, where a dish similar to the one we partake of today was adopted -- with coconut milk to offset the spiciness of the curry.
After a long and difficult day at work, there is nothing better than being able to come home and create something out of a few ingredients, play textures and flavors off of each other, and please a variety of palettes. It is a simple pleasure, one derived out of giving joy to others, even if it is just in their mouth from the food, and their soul from the company. There could be no better end to the week.
2 lemongrass stalks, the tender white part minced, the rest discarded
2 green birds eye chilies, sliced
5 tbsp. purple onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic
1 thumb-size piece of ginger, sliced
1/2 c. fresh cilantro leaves & stems, chopped
1/2 c. fresh Thai basil (regular works as well), chopped
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. ground white pepper (available in most supermarket spice aisles)
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. tumeric
3 tbsp. fish sauce
1/2 tsp. salt (if you have shrimp paste, use a tsp. of it instead of the salt, however, I know this is a very rare ingredient to have in your pantry for when else would you ever use it?!)
1/2 lime, juiced
2 tsp. brown sugar
4 tbsp. coconut milk
1 tbs. peanut oil
1 can coconut milk (get the good stuff, its like 30 cents more, but completely worth it)
2 small chicken breasts, sliced
2 sweet bell peppers
1 c. mushrooms, sliced
1. Stick all the ingredients for the paste in a blender. Blend until desired consistency is reached (I like mine really really smooth, but if you are wanting a chunkier paste, then be sure to finely mince your ingredients before blending to avoid large random pieces of ginger and such in your dish).
2. Place a large frying pan on the stove and add the coconut milk and green curry paste. Let it come to a simmer and cook for about five minutes or until reduced slightly and incorporated.
3. Add the chicken and simmer until almost completely cooked -- about 5-8 minutes. Add the mushrooms next and cook for two minutes. Add the peppers and cook for another two minutes. Check the chicken and if that is cooked, as well as the vegetables, remove from the stove and let sit for another two minutes to thicken. Serve on a bed of rice with plenty of sauce drizzled over.
4. Pray. Eat. Enjoy. Try something new on the stove, even if it involves shrimp paste.