Before I went to Thailand in March, I had never tasted Green Curry. I wasn’t that familiar with Thai food overall since we never ate it growing up. Of course, when I first began working in New York and late nights at the office with take out dinners were trying to take hold of my life, I experimented with a few Thai restaurants but I was just never crazy about it. The food always felt too greasy, heavy or get this: flavorless!
Learning about Thai culture and cooking earlier this year has really opened my eyes and changed my mind to the exotic and exciting world of Thai cooking and especially Thai curry. Not only is authentic Thai food some of the freshest and most nutritious I have ever eaten but the traditional combinations of flavor are seriously OUT OF THIS WORLD. Deliciously addictive, full of vibrancy and wildly diverse in taste and texture.
Authentic Thai cuisine really doesn’t compare to anything else.
I learned how to make Green Curry Paste at three different cooking schools throughout northern and southern Thailand. Each recipe was pretty similar, tasty and yet unique in its own way. Upon returning home, I visited my favorite Asian supermarket to see if I could find the necessary ingredients to recreate my own version of Green Curry Paste. The one traditional ingredient I could not find was the root of cilantro (or coriander for ye Europeans!). If you know a farmer or you grow your own – perfect! I substituted the thick stems.
Other items which may be harder to source are kaffir limes – you need the skin. Getting your hands on a kaffir lime is really important because there aren’t any other ingredients which compare HOWEVER, the leaves of a kaffir lime plant offer a similar flavor and are usually easier to find – fresh is better but dried is great too – just use a little more than you would use of the fresh leaves.
All of the other ingredients like lemongrass and Thai sweet basil have become pretty easy to source in most of the Western world. Galangal, a variety of ginger and another traditional ingredient which really creates that authentic Thai flavor, should also be available at a specialty market.
Part of the fun with Thai curry is that you can experiment with different varieties of chilis based on the amount of spiciness you like in your food. The chilis that I used in my recipe for Green Curry Paste are mild except for the bird’s eye which are extremely spicy. In northern Thailand, Green Curry Paste is not all that spicy but in some areas of southern Thailand I saw recipes for Green Curry Paste with up to 20 bird’s eye chilis! Now that’s a curry that is not for the faint of palate!
If you have never experienced authentic Thai cuisine or curry, you might ask yourself why should I go through the trouble of sourcing these exotic ingredients?
I was the same.
All I can say is that if you are adventurous with flavorsome food and you love to open your palate to new and wonderful experiences and nourish your body with a variety of fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices (like me!!), nothing compares to an authentic Thai dish like this Green Curry Paste.
Plan a Thai curry night and blow your family and friends away!
- 2 mild medium-size green chili peppers, stems removed
- 15 mild small-size green chili peppers, stems removed
- 3 bird's eye chili peppers, stems removed (for spiciness!)
- 5 shallots, peeled
- 5 medium cloves of garlic, peeled
- 1 stalk of lemongrass (chop off the dried out top and bottom)
- Skin of half a kaffir lime, about ¾-1 teaspoon (substitute kaffir lime leaves 3 fresh or 5 dried)
- 2 teaspoons chopped galangal
- 6 chunky cilantro stems (substitute 3 roots if you can find them)
- 6 whole peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon coriander powder
- 2 teaspoons cumin seeds, toasted (or 1 teaspoon cumin powder)
- handful of Thai sweet basil leaves
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon shrimp paste (optional, replace with an additional ½ teaspoon of salt)
- This part is simple, just puree all ingredients until a fine paste is formed.
- Use to create delicious Thai Green Curry dishes.
- Store leftovers in an ice cube tray and freeze.