Green curry

This is my favorite kind of Thai curry. Luckily, it’s not too complicated — most of the taste comes from the basil-rich green curry paste. You can think of it as a kind of Thai pesto — in Thailand they pound the spices together by hand, but here you can just buy the curry paste ready-made, in a jar.

And since I’m no longer in Thailand, I had to adapt the dish to the vegetables available locally (bottom right photo). I used about 4 small green Thai eggplants, a medium-sized oyster mushroom (torn into strips), about 150 grams of diced tofu, a few handfuls of fresh basil leaves, one hot red pepper (for color, but it happens to make things ridiculously spicy), and then deviating from any green curry I ever ate in Thailand, half a carrot and a small onion. I sliced my tofu and onion into cubes, and diced the carrot and eggplant into thin slices. The only other ingredients were green curry paste (about 2 tablespoons), a handful of kaffir lime leaves, a can of coconut cream, oil for frying and salt (the Thai version uses fish sauce for saltiness, but we chose not to, and soy sauce makes the curry an unappealing brown).

Start off by frying the green curry paste in oil in a thick-bottomed pot. Once the curry paste becomes fragrant, add some coconut cream and water to keep it from burning. Then add the vegetables (except for the basil), the lime leaves and the tofu. Add the rest of the coconut cream, and thin it down with an equal amount of water (or less, if you like your curry very thick). Let it simmer until the vegetables are cooked, then add the basil (it’ll wilt immediately) and salt to taste.

The photos, clockwise from left, include tonight’s green curry, the dish at our favorite restaurant in Chiang Mai, the green curry I made at a cooking course in that city, me chopping eggplants and the vegetables that went into tonight’s dinner.

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