A Red Thai Curry Paste looks so good to me right now as I’m sitting all disheveled, jaw wrapped in a cold compress, Bedouin-style. I went to the dentist to check out a toothache, you know, routine, and it turned out one of the wisdom teeth was on its last legs. I quickly found myself going all white, but asking for a complete extraction instead of just the bad one – all 4, right there, right then. F-it. I didn’t wake up yesterday thinking I’d have bone yanked out of my head (sorry), so the element of surprise was on my side. There was no ceremony – local freezing and go… all 4 in 20 minutes. And I drove myself home.
Yea. So they’re all gone! It was so quick, there are moments I think, holy S$#%, I just had all my wisdom teeth pulled! Did that really happen? I totally recommend this surprise approach, especially for loved ones. Just drive them to the dentist instead of say… going away for the weekend, and boom! Pliers out. They will love you! (okay, bad joke) So now we have the healing, but I think I’ll be better tomorrow. I thought I’d maybe do a post on “wisdom tooth food”, or something, but seriously, I can’t think of anything more boring than the runny mashed potatoes I’ve been force feeding myself. So look at this curry with me and dream of good food…mmmkay? Have one for me… and lots of cookies…
To make this recipe, we use red Thai curry paste. You can buy one pre-made, but you know the one you make yourself will taste so much better and have no mystery ingredients. Red Thai Curry paste is considered an all purpose item in Thai cuisine. It goes well with any protein, as I suggest later, and is a great addition of flavor in soups and stir fries. If you’re not a huge chili fan, use red bell peppers to bring down the heat. This recipe makes about a cup, and the paste keeps in the fridge for up to a month, or you can spread it thinly inside a freezer bag and break off the chunks you need later.
I use a healthy veggie curry dish as an example of what you can do with the red Thai curry paste. Because you know you need to eat more vegetables, right? There are no rules on the vegetables you use – throw in whatever is in your fridge. You can add any protein you want – grilled chicken, beef, pork… and it will go nicely with all.
This curry paste is hot, but not crazy hot – I think a truly authentic one could slay dragons, so adjust the ratio of bird’s eye chilies to red bell pepper to your liking. You can use whole coriander and cumin seeds, then grind and roast them. To save time, I use pre-ground spices, sacrificing a bit of flavor for convenience. If you have extra time, roast the whole coriander and cumin seeds in a dry frying pan over medium heat until they start to pop and sizzle. Don’t burn! Add to the curry mixture and process to a paste.
So I leave you with this as I go to change my Bedouin compress and heal up. See ya.
- 1 tbs ground coriander
- 2 tbs ground cumin
- 4 tsp paprika
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- 10 red Thai chili peppers ("bird's eye" chilies)
- ½ medium red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
- 2 stalks lemongrass, tough outer layer removed and green top discarded, chopped
- ¼ tsp turmeric, or substitute 1 inch long piece fresh turmeric, peeled and chopped
- 6 cloves of garlic, whole
- 6 shallots, chopped
- zest of 1 lime, chopped
- 10 stems of cilantro, roots and leaves
- pinch of salt
- Combine all ingredients in a blender and process in a blender until smooth. Add a little bit of water to thin the consistency - it should be a texture similar to peanut butter.
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tbs red curry paste
- 1 tsp lime juice
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 2 cups assorted sliced vegetables
- ¼ cup coconut milk
- 1 tsp fish sauce
- Heat the broth in a pot until it reaches boiling. Add the sugar, red curry paste, lime juice and the vegetables, starting with the ones that take longer to cook. Cook until tender. Mix in the coconut milk and fish sauce at the end and warm through. Add more chicken broth if needed.