Thai curry in the Alps...

We've been mega-busy over the winter season, and blog posts kinda fell by the wayside.  But the snow has disappeared (well, from the village level at least) and spring is in full flight, so I'm back on it.  Quite a few guests have asked if we'd share some recipes of their favourites from this season, so that seems like a good place to start the 2017 blogging activity!

Our menus were quite an international this season - we figured that guests have lots of traditional alpine melted-cheese options on the mountain, so we'd offer up something different. 

Back in London a few years ago, I attended a series of Thai cookery lessons, as I just fell in love with the fresh-zingy flavours of thai food.   After laboriously making a thai curry paste from scratch with a pestle & mortar, our tutor informed us that Thai people generally don't bother making it home, as the shop-bought stuff is actually really good, pretty much the same as they'd make at home, but with considerably less bother.  So I've taken that to heart, and use thai paste from the Asian food store (not the jar of 'sauce' from the supermarket though - that really is cheating - and it tastes bland!).  

Here's our Thai Curry recipe, originating from Su at the Northfields Thai cookery school (sadly long since shut), and adapted a bit to our preferred vegetables.  Its easy to make vegan - just miss out the meat and add more of your favourite veg, and substitute a generous pinch of salt for the fish sauce.  

Make it your own... switch out the chicken for beef, prawns, or my favourite, mussels :).  Do let us know your favourite riff on the theme!

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Thai curry  (serves 6, or 4 if you've spent all day skiing and are famished.  Or are my husband)

Ingredients

  • Sunflower/rapeseed oil - 2 tablespoons
  • Thai curry paste (red or green) - 2 tablespoons
  • Fish sauce - 4 tablespoons
  • Coconut milk - 3x 400ml cans - shake well before you open them
  • Jageree (or muscovado sugar) - 1 tablespoon
  • Aubergine - 1/2 average sized one - chopped into 2cm chunks
  • Courgette - 1/2 average sized one - chopped into 2cm chunks
  • Mushrooms - 8 button-sized ones - sliced or quartered
  • Chicken - 2 breasts - sliced into strips 'against the grain' so they absorb the sauce and swell 
  • Kaffir lime leaves - 3 leaves - remove the spine - and slice the rest into thin strips
  • Red chilli pepper - sliced into thin strips, about 1/2cm wide
  • Thai basil leaves 
  • Coriander leaves

Method

  • Assemble all the ingredients first.  Get everything chopped and ready to hand before you turn the heat on under the wok.
  • Gently heat the oil in the wok (or pan)
  • Keeping the heat low, stir in the curry paste until the oil & paste are combined
  • Add the fish sauce and wait for it to evaporate, probably about a minute or so
  • Add the first can of coconut milk, stirring to combine and create an even colour throughout
  • Add the remaining coconut milk, increase the heat and bring to the boil
  • Add the jageree
  • Taste the sauce: if you think it needs more saltiness, add more fish sauce. If you think it needs to be sweeter, add more jageree.  Experiment with refining the seasoning until you hit your desired balance of the two.
  • Reduce the heat so that the mixture is gently simmering, add the vegetables, pop the lid on, and keep simmering for 10 minutes or so.
  • Add the chicken and continue to simmer for 8-10 minutes
  • Test that the chicken is completely cooked (remove a piece and slice it - it should opaque all the way through)
  • Stir in the kaffir lime leaves leave on the heat for a just minute to let the flavours infuse
  • Remove from the heat.  Sprinkle with your garnish of choice - I like to vary it between thai basil & coriander.  And I always add a couple of slices of chilli pepper... but experiment to find your own perfect combination!