So, my fellow foodbloggers… do you ever feel a little like a foodie fraud?
I do. Every day I read through all these wonderful blogs where people talk about making their own pesto/pizza/hummus/stock/jam from scratch, as if they would never dream of doing it any other way, and it goes completely without saying that this is the bare miminum that foodies do.
And then I think guiltily of my own habits and cupboards. I buy jam. I buy hummus. I make stock, but more often, I use stock cubes. Hell, I have gravy granules!! I guess you could say that I'm the trailer-trash relative at the great foodie family BBQ.
Every time I see a recipe for making Thai green curry, starting with something along the lines of "first, plant your galangal plant", I feel the weight of inadequacy settle upon my shoulders. Clearly, everybody else is working an 8-hour day and them going home to make their own green curry paste from scratch – it's just me and the pasty guy at the checkout with a trolley full of pork scratchings and frozen chicken Kievs who furtively buy the ready-made bottles of curry paste.
That is, until I received a package from one of my favourite expat South African bloggers: cook, blogger and crafter extraordinaire Bordeaux of Marita Says. We had been chatting via e-mail and I had commented on some cute postcards on his site. He promptly agreed to send me one, and so we came to exchange care packages. And what did I find in his package from Thailand? Four sachets of curry paste – a green, a yellow, a panang and a masaman paste! So even in Thailand, it seems that some people aren't keen to dash home after a long day at work and pound away at deseeded chillies and shrimp paste in their pestle and mortar… I'm not so inadequate after all – thanks Bordeaux for showing me the light
Apparently, the trick with green Thai curry paste (and I do mean the paste – not the Lloyd Grossman or similar cook-in sauces!) is to buy one that is made in Thailand. That way you can be reasonably sure that the ingredients and the taste are authentic. I'm pleased to say that the Sainsbury's own-brand green Thai curry paste is indeed made in Thailand, but my favourite to date is the WorldFoods green Thai curry paste.
This recipe is one of my favourite quick weeknight dinner standy-bys. The longer you can simmer it, the better the flavour, but it's perfectly yummy even without extended simmering.
1 medium onion, chopped
2 skinless, deboned chicken breasts, chopped
1-2 cups of French beans (depending on how you like the meat-to-greens ratio), chopped
2 Tbsp green Thai curry paste
canola or sunflower oil
250ml coconut milk (just over half a standard tin)
Heat about 2 tbsp oil in a large frying pan or wok over medium heat. Add the onions and sautee until they start to soften. Add the chopped beans and sautee until the onions are translucent and the beans are heated through but still crunchy.
Increase the heat a little and add the chicken. Stir fry until the chicken is almost done, then add a generous splash of soy sauce. Stir in the green Thai curry paste and allow to cook for a few minutes, then add the coconut milk (you can add more if you want a saucier curry). Check for seasoning and add more curry paste, salt or coconut milk as necessary.
Once the liquid is bubbling, turn the heat down, cover the pan and allow to simmer for 15 minutes or so until the sauce is reduced and thickened a little.
Serve with lots of fluffy jasmine rice.