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Thai Vegetable Curry with home-made curry paste option

gluten free
wheat free
freezable
2 spoon difficulty rating

60 minutes

Serves: 3-4

Thai Vegetable Curry with home-made curry paste option

This delicious recipe that we’ve adapted from Catherine Mason’s wonderful book, 'Veg' is well worth the effort - it doesn't take long to make a home-made curry paste, especially if you have a blender/food processor. 

However, if you're short of time, use 1-2 tablespoons of ready made vegan Thai curry paste such as Thai Taste or Tesco etc. (Some brands contain fish or shrimp sauce so aren't veggie or vegan!)

Ingredients: 

Curry paste (skip if using ready made sauce!) This makes more than you need but will store in fridge for a few days in screw top jar. It will also freeze.

  • 1 level tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 level tsp cumin seeds
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • 15 hot green chillies, the larger type, halved, deseeded and washed - reduce if this is too scary for you
  • 2 talks lemon grass, chopped
  • 3 shallots or small onions, coarsely chopped
  • ½ tbsp peeled, chopped fresh ginger root
  • 4 Kaffir lime leaves, chopped
  • ½ tsp grated lime rind
  • 1 tsp coriander root, chopped (optional)
  • 1 level tbsp sugar
  • 1 level tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp groundnut (peanut) oil or plain vegetable oil

Curry

  • 1 pack of plain tofu
  • 1/3 quantity of green curry paste (if using ready made paste/sauce, use 2-3 tbsp, depending on taste)
  • 2 onions, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tbsp peanut oil or plain oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • about 1kg/2lb assorted vegetables, eg:
    • - baby sweet corn halved lengthwise
    • - French or baby runner beans
    • - red peppers - these take 20-30 minutes to cook
    • (other veg that work well include mushrooms; mangetout; pak choi, thinly sliced carrots; peas)
  • 4 Kaffir lime leaves, left whole (available from Waitrose and other good supermarkets)
  • 1 level tsp palm sugar (optional) OR brown sugar
  • 400ml/14fl oz can coconut milk
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Juice of ½ a lime or more, to taste

Just before serving: 

  • a generous handful of fresh coriander leaves, washed, dried and coarsely chopped -
  • a few Thai basil leaves, washed, dried and coarsely chopped – use ordinary basil if you can’t find it
  • handful of roasted cashews to garnish

To serve:

  • 8 oz Thai fragrant rice, jasmine rice or 1 packet of noodles

Method: 

Curry Paste - about 10-15 minutes.
1. Roast coriander and cumin seeds by dry-frying in a saucepan over a moderate heat, shaking pan from time to time until they colour slightly and release aromas.
2. Grind seeds and peppercorns to a fine powder using an electric grinder or pestle and mortar. If you have a small high-speed blender, such as a Nutribullet type, put everything from stage 2. and 3. in it and blitz all at once.
3. Put ground spices and all other ingredients in food processor and whiz to a smooth paste. You may need to stop and scrape sides of bowl a couple of times
4. If you don’t have a processor, pound everything together in a large pestle and mortar until smooth.

Tofu - 10 minutes.
1. Slice tofu lengthways so that you make 2-3 ‘steaks’, according to thickness.
2. Fry the steaks in a little very hot oil till golden brown on each side. Add a little soya sauce before removing from pan.
3. Drain tofu steaks on kitchen paper then chop into cubes when cool and set aside.

Curry - 10-15 minutes (cook rice or noodles during this time also).
1. Fry chopped onions in oil until onions have started to soften, then add curry sauce/paste.
2. Add garlic and vegetables, plus lime leaves, palm sugar, salt and pepper, and fry a bit longer.
3. Put on pan of water for rice or noodles
4. Gradually stir in coconut milk – stop if curry starts to look too watery -and simmer until vegetables are tender.
5. A few minutes before end, add tofu chunks.
6. Cook rice or noodles for appropriate time, drain and rinse in cold water then put aside
7. When vegetables are cooked, taste, adjust seasonings and add limejuice.
8. Heat through rice or noodles.
9. Stir in fresh coriander, basil leaves and roasted nuts or tofu chunks just before serving.
10. Serve hot, with the rice or noodles.

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