Monday, December 10, 2012

Green Curry Seafood with Asparagus and Zucchini

There are many basic Thai curry dishes such as red, green, yellow, or Panang curry, but if you asked which one I preferred, I’d say green curry. I think the green curry has its own unique taste from the fresh green chilies used in the curry paste that separates itself from other curries. Some people might say that green curry is the mildest curry among other curries, but that’s not true, since you, the cook, is the one who control the degree of spiciness – increase or decrease the chili paste as you prefer. And the same is true with other Thai curries. I love spicy and when I make the green curry, the hubby would complain about how spicy it is every times; he prefers red or yellow curry to green curry.

When it comes to making curries, especially Thai curries, most people will probably be intimidated by it when thinking about making chili paste if you have to make it from scratch. Well, I WAS one of you out there before because my experience helping my dad making chili paste was very painful to me.

My dad loved red curry and more often that he made it without coconut milk which Thais called it “Kang-Pa” and it’s very very very spicy! And when he used coconut milk, he made his own fresh coconut milk, and I also learned that from him. I helped my dad making chili paste using a big heavy-duty granite mortar and pestle to grind up all of the spices and it took me at least about half an hour, or more sometimes, to finish hammering it up to my dad standard of its consistency. The chili paste had to be really smooth and well blended, no lumps, no coarse, or I had to keep beating it until my arm would fall off from my body. Why was it painful…you asked? For crying out loud, I was only 10! I could have just run off and disappear, but I just loved being around in the kitchen too much whenever my dad was cooking – to see and to learn the process, to smell the food cooking on the stove, and the most important part, I got to taste it first….before anyone else! And yes, what you are thinking right now is right. I was the chubby one in the house!
Since l moved to the U.S., I didn't’ make chili paste anymore. If I would make it today by using the granite mortar & pestle, I bet that my neighbor would probably call the cops for making too much loud noise!     I've tried making it using food processor, but it’s just not quite the same. 

Today you can find any kinds of Thai curry chili paste in most supermarkets, and the two brands I often use for my curries are Maesri and Mae Ploy brand. That is very convenience! Thai curries are fast and easy to make as long as you have everything cut up and prepare before start the cooking process, the basic is always the same. However, the time of cooking may vary depends on what kind of meat you use – beef, veal, pork, chicken, fish, or seafood, and the vegetables - anything you like - need to be careful not to overcook them.

Now…are you all set? Why don’t you try making all of the Thai curries and let me know which one you like the most. How’s that sound?

What you need:

7 oz Shrimp deveined 
7 oz Cod or other white fish, cut in to 1x2 inch
7 oz Squid, cleaned and cut in half
1 can (13.5 fl.oz.) coconut milk
1 cup water
2 tbsp green curry paste (more or less for your preferred spiciness)
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp sugar
A pinch of sea salt
2 cup asparagus cut into spears
1 small zucchini cut into bite size
A handful of Thai basil leaves
1 small green jalapeno slice
1 small red or yellow bell pepper slice
3 kaffir lime leaves, tore into small pieces by hand

How to:
- add 1/4 cup coconut milk in a wok, a sauté pan, a heavy bottom pot over medium heat, wait for a few seconds until the coconut starts to bubbling, and then add green curry paste, stir to mix well until it turns fragrant
- add coconut milk and water, seasoning with fish sauce, sea salt, and sugar
- add asparagus, zucchini, bell pepper, and jalapeno, gently stir and let them cook for 3 minutes or so
- add shrimp, squid, cod fish, and kaffir lime leaves – try NOT to stir at this point, just gently push the seafood under so that the coconut milk covers the entire meat, cover the pan with lid and let it cook for 7-10 minutes or until the seafood is cooked through, BUT seafood is meant not to be overcooked or it will become tough and rubbery
- turn off the heat and add Thai basil leaves
- serve immediately with cooked jasmine rice




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