I can't help it, I freakin' love Thai food. It's one of my all time favourites. The freshness and variety of dishes mmmm just yum. As of last year, it also reminds me of our holiday in Patong where we ate fried rice topped with the perfect fried egg... runny yolk... crispy bottom, every single day. I wish I cooked more thai food at home than I do because as much as I love our takeaway place it's just not as good coming in those plastic boxes as it is piping hot, straight from the wok. But there is a reason for our takeaway problem. I find thai cooking somewhat intimidating. Yes, I'm a food blogger and I just admitted that. Bite me. But honestly, I do and I don't think I'm the only one. I mean, I'm pretty good with the pre-made curry pastes from the supermarket but other than that my thai cooking skills usually involve me botching up a salty stir fry by adding every asian sauce and condiment from the fridge. Sometimes it's great and others... well let just say I don't go back for seconds.
I find Thai flavours complex with the combination of sweet, and sour, and spicy. Sometimes it's the overwhelmingly ginormous ingredient list, that one odd ingredient I can't find ANYWHERE or the 100 bowls for each element that need to be hand washed because I'm still dreaming of owning a dishwasher one day. Maybe these are my excuses that makes me order thai takeaway instead of cooking.
I made Geng Gari Curry a couple of weeks ago when the weather wasn't so summery and it was the perfect warming curry. It was so so good! Such big flavours and not heavy at all. I'd cook the chicken on the BBQ next time and definitely over summer to get those charred edges and serve it with some sort of crunchy salad. We had a big bowl of it on a cool evening with steamed rice and it was seriously better than any thai takeaway I've ever had. I didn't even mind the washing up after.
If you're looking at the photos and two and two aren't matching up, I doubled the recipe below because leftovers are gold in our castle and curry always tastes better the next day.
This book has definitely made me rethink Thai cooking and that a little bit of prep goes a long way for flavour and it doesn't need to be complicated. I will be sharing more from this little gem soon. Maybe the prawn noodle salad with mint and toasted peanuts and the spiced prawn cakes on lemongrass sticks. So good.
Geng Gari Curry with Roast Chickenrecipe from Thai Food Made Easy by Tom Kime
A geng gari is a delicious curry with a base of ground toasted spices which add a delicious earthy foundation to the curry. This would work really well as a vegetarian curry with roasted sweet potato and butternut squash.
250g chicken, cut into pieces*
1 portion of Geng gari paste (see below)
100g baby corn**
juice of 2 limes
20 Thai basil leaves, coarsely chopped
2cm piece of ginger, peeled and thinly sliced into matchsticks
3 spring onions, thinly sliced, to garnish
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon tamarind pulp
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
vegetable oil for cooking
*I used chicken thigh, cut into pieces.
**I added more veggies as I can't help myself
Coarsely crush the coriander and cumin seeds using a mortar and pestle. Drizzle the chicken pieces with a little olive oil, season with salt, black pepper and crushed spices.
Pan-fry or grill the chicken over a medium-high heat for about 10 minutes until golden, caramelised on all sides and cooked through.
Heat the curry paste in a frying pan over medium heat and add the baby corn (**and any other vegetables you'd like to add). Add the lime juice, tamarind pulp and light brown soy sauce along with half the thai basil and ginger.
Taste the curry paste to check the balance of flavours and adjust if needed: it should be hot sour and salty.
Add the chicken to the sauce, garnish with spring onions and remaining basil. Serve with steamed rice as a stand along dish or as an accompaniment to other dishes, such as a crisp salad, vegetable or a rice dish.
Geng Gari Curry Paste
recipe from Thai Food Made Easy by Tom Kimemakes 3 portions
3cm piece of ginger, peeled
4 red chillies, seeded
3 lemongrass stems, tough outer leaves removed and stems chopped
6 garlic cloves
3 red onions, chopped
juice of 2 limes
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground tumeric
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
600ml coconut cream
1 tablespoon tamarind pulp
2 tablespoon light soy sauce
Puree the ginger, chillies, lemongrass, garlic and salt in a food processor or blender to a smooth paste. Add the onions and puree again. Add a little water to help bring it together to form a smooth paste.
Heat the oil in a heavy-based frying pan over medium-high heat for 1 minute. Add the ground spices and cook for about 2 minutes until fragrant. Add the purees paste and reduce the heat to low and cook slowly for 25-30 minutes, stirring frequently to avoid sticking, until aromatic.
Add the coconut cream and simmer for about 5 minutes until reduced by half. Add the lime juice, tamarind pulp and light soy sauce, then taste to check the balance of flavours and adjust if needed.
Divide the paste into three portions. It can now be used straight away, kept in the refrigerator for 1 week or in the freezer for 3 months.