Thai Coconut Curry
It’s taken me a lot of experimentation to create a great (and simple) curry. Many of the recipes I’ve followed took hours and rarely ended up tasting great. The coconut recipes I tried were too sweet and resembled ambrosia creamed rice and many others just tasted awful.
I’ve been refining this recipe for about 6 months now and I'm finally happy with it! It's pretty easy to make, it tastes great, and making your own fresh curry paste will impress your friends.
- 2 kaffir lime leaves
- 1 tbsp fresh coriander (finely chopped)
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 inch stalk of lemongrass
- 1 dried red chilli (deseeded and finely chopped)
- 1 tbsp turmeric
- 1/2 tbsp fresh ginger (finely minced)
- 1 medium onion (finely chopped)
- 1/3 carrot (cut into small cubes or matchsticks)
- 1/2 head of broccoli (cut any large florets into smaller pieces)
- 1/2 red bell pepper (sliced into thin strips then cut in half)
- handful of spinach
- 10 snow peas (mangetout)
- 5 small cherry tomatoes
- 300g of chopped tomatoes (tinned or packet)
- 1 can full fan coconut milk
- 500g firm tofu or tempeh
- 1/4 zucchini
- 1 large clove of garlic
- 2-3 cups of basmati rice (1 cup per person)
To a pestle and mortar, add the minced ginger, chopped coriander leaves, kaffir lime leaves, dried red chilli, lemongrass stalk and cumin. Crush with the pestle (the lemongrass won't crush, but ensure the stalk breaks) and then add 1 tbsp of water and crush into a paste.
Remove tofu from packaging and wrap in 2 sheets of kitchen roll. Place the mortar on top and let sit to press the excess water out. If using frozen tempeh, then soften in a bowl of hot water for 10 minutes.
Add the chopped tomatoes to a blender (Nutribullet works best) and blend until smooth. Set aside.
Prep the vegetables by chopping the onion, carrot, broccoli, zucchini and pepper. Set aside.
Preheat a large wok on a medium heat and add 2 tbsp of coconut oil. While the wok is heating, finely mince a large clove of garlic and then fry in in the coconut oil for 1-2 minutes. (Make sure the wok isn’t so hot that it burns the garlic).
Add the chopped onions and fry for 2-3 minutes or until soft.
Add the broccoli and cook for 1-2 minutes to soften.
Prep a large pot of water and bring to the boil for cooking the basmati (check the packet instructions for the correct volume of water and cooking time).
Add the carrot, red pepper, zucchini and spinach to the wok and cook for 1-2 minutes.
Remove the lemongrass from mortar and add the curry paste to the wok, stir well to ensure all the vegetables are covered in the paste. You should get an incredible fresh, oriental smell exploding in your face when you do this.
Chop the tofu or tempeh into small cubes and add to wok.
Add the full tin of coconut milk and stir well.
Sprinkle in the turmeric and then start slowly stirring in the tomato sauce (don’t add all of it at this stage). You’re aiming for a dark golden-red colour for the sauce.
Crank up the heat until the sauce starts to bubble and then reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes.
Wait a 2 minutes then add the basmati rice to the pot, bring back to the boil and then simmer for 10-12 minutes (or according to packet).
Taste the curry sauce as it simmers. If it’s too sweet, then add more tomato sauce. You can add more turmeric to control the colour and if it needs more of kick, add some more chopped chilli. Optional: add a tsp curry powder for extra flavour
In the last 8 minutes add the tomatoes and snow peas
When rice is cooked, drain and rinse with boiling water, then add to plate. Tip: use a large coffee mug to create a mound of rice on the plate, then ladle the curry around it.
Throw on a few fresh coriander leaves and serve.
That’s it! If you want to be really fancy with your presentation, cook some red rice in a separate pot and add this to your basmati to punctuate it with colour. The red rice may take a little longer to cook (~25 mins) so make sure to start cooking it just before you fry your garlic.