Currying favour in the heat
AFTER A hard day’s tapping away at the computer last week, I suddenly had a craving for a curry. This is not such a rare occurrence — it happens to me at least a couple of times a week. I am fairly sure that I have developed a mild chilli addiction. Research has shown that the body reacts to consumption of chillis by releasing endorphins. The hotter the chilli, the greater the response, so it is possible to experience a chilli high — and the great thing is that my drug of choice is available in all supermarkets in fresh and dry forms and its use is unrestricted.
The only downside to the curry craving was a) that it was very hot and sweaty outside and b) making curry can be a long and involved process. Then I had a brainwave. How about a Thai green curry? Not only can it be assembled in a few minutes but they eat it all the time in Thailand where it is very hot. So it must be the perfect antidote to an English summer.
You will see lots of prepared green Thai curry pastes in the shops but nearly all contain fish sauce and/or shrimp paste so for a kosher version you will have to start from scratch. Fortunately this involves merely blitzing a few ingredients together. If you want to do this the zen way, and have nothing planned for the day, you can use a pestle and mortar. However a mini food processor will achieve good results in seconds. You will need two cloves of garlic, a thumb sized piece of ginger (peeled and chopped), two chopped spring onions, a chopped stalk of lemongrass with the outer skin peeled away, two, or even three, green chillis, two tablespoons of light soy sauce, a teaspoon of cumin and two teaspoons of ground coriander, plus a good handful of fresh coriander. Blitz well.
From here it’s easy. Pour a little vegetable oil into a hot wok and add your paste. Saute for a few seconds until the aromas start to hit your nose and the chilli assaults your eyes, then throw in a can of coconut milk, a squeeze of lime juice, two tablespoons of brown sugar and a few finely chopped kaffir lime leaves (fresh are best, dried will do) and simmer away for a minute or two. Then add four diced breasts of chicken and simmer for a few minutes until cooked.
Garnish with some more coriander, serve with steamed rice and (if the weather is as hot as last week) follow with a cold shower.
It must be the perfect antidote to an English summer