Thai Green Curry with Chicken or Prawns, with Rice & Relish
Green Curry Paste:
6 spring onions, washed and trimmed
4 to 6 medium green chillies, seeded and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon fresh ginger root, peeled and finely chopped (or galangal—Thai ginger)
1 tablespoon coriander seeds, pounded and crushed
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 handful Kaffir lime leaves, torn (frozen are fine)
2 lemon grass stalks, trimmed back and finely chopped
2 good handfuls fresh basil on the stalk
3 good handfuls fresh coriander on the stalk
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 limes, zested and juiced
4 chicken breasts without bone and skin, each cut into strips OR enough king prawns for 4 people
16 ounce tin of coconut milk
Put all the green curry paste ingredients in a food processor and whizz to a smooth green paste. If using chicken, marinate in a little of the paste for 30 minutes, then add a little oil and the chicken pieces to a hot casserole-type pan or wok. Fry for 6 minutes, then add the remainder of the marinade -- it will sizzle and spit. Pour in the coconut milk slowly and carefully, bring to the boil and simmer gently for 8 minutes until the chicken is cooked. Season to taste. The flavor should have a kick but be reasonably mellow -- very fresh and fragrant.
Sprinkle with chopped coriander leaves and serve with rice and tomato, coconut, cucumber and lime relish (recipes below). For those who like a bit of a kick, sprinkle dried chilli flakes or hot pepper sauce over the curry.
If making the prawn version, use raw king prawns and don’t marinate them first. Cook them only for a minute or so before adding the marinade and the coconut milk.
You can add some vegetables to either version: mange tout peas, asparagus (stalks cut into 2-3 cm pieces and then sliced so they cook quickly), baby sweetcorn, haricot cut into small pieces. Use your imagination!
To make perfect rice to go with this, use the absorption method and measure the rice and water by volume. Thai jasmine rice is best—it is slightly sticky and the delicate flavour complements the curry perfectly. For four people allow two cups of rice. Place it in a saucepan—there is no need to wash it. Bring water to the boil in the kettle and add three cups to the rice, with some salt. About a teaspoon for this amount of rice. Bring the rice to the boil, then turn the heat to the lowest possible setting and leave for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, turn off the heat but leave the pan on the warm hob. Put a clean tea towel under the lid of the pan and leave for another 10 minutes—this absorbs the moisture and makes the rice fluffy. Then fluff the rice up with a fork and turn into a warm dish to serve. Rice can also be kept warm in the oven, but cover with foil so it doesn’t dry out. Any left can be heated up the next day in a microwave or in the oven. Always make sure that rice is reheated to piping hot.
Tomato, coconut, cucumber and lime relish
16 cherry tomatoes, quartered or roughly chopped
1/2 fresh coconut, grated or shaved
1 small handful of basil, or coriander, roughly chopped
6 inches cucumber, skinned, seeds removed and roughly chopped
1 thinly sliced red chilli (optional)
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 or 2 limes, juiced
Put the tomatoes, coconut, basil, cucumbers and chilli, if using, into a bowl and toss. Just before serving, toss in the olive oil, salt, pepper and lime juice to taste.