Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Thai Orange Curry

Technically, this is a red curry, but the tumeric in the curry paste gives the final dish a wonderful orange colour. The key here is to make your own curry paste--it's not too hard and the taste is fabulous. No one sells dried chiles around here, so I bought about 10 bags of them the last time I was in Columbus (there is a Mexican grocery store on Cleveland Avenue I used to frequent when I lived there). The paste is not too hot (best for the kids), but you can make it hotter by adding a few more Japanese chiles in place of one Guajillo chile. You can also add as many serranos as you like to the final dish. The recipes are veganized and slightly adapted from True Thai.

Curry Paste
- 4 large dried Guajillo chiles
- 2 dried Japanese chiles
- 2 stalk lemon grass, lower section, trimmed and sliced
- 3 tbsp minced ginger
- 1 1/2 tsbp chopped garlic
- 1/2 cup chopped shallots
- 2 tbsp tumeric

1. Stem and de-seed chiles and soak for 30 mins in hot water. While the chiles are soaking, pulse the lemon grass in a food processor until broken down into small pieces.
2. Add the rest of the ingredients to the processor and process into a paste, as smooth as you can get it. Add the water you used to soak the chiles as needed (about 1/2 cup) to make a smooth paste.

Thai Orange Curry
- 1 can light coconut milk
- 1/2 cup, or so, curry paste from above
- 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 8 lime leaves (I used dried), or zest of 1 lime
- serrano chiles to taste, sliced in half, lengthwise
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp hoisin sauce
- 1 tbsp vegan oyster sauce
- salt to taste
- 1/4 cup basil leaves (Thai or Italian)

1. Heat coconut milk and curry paste in a saucepan over medium heat. When bubbling, add chickpeas, lime leaves (or zest), chiles, sugar, and sauces. Bring to bubbling again, then lower heat, cover and let gently simmer for at least 20 mins.
2. If using dried lime leaves, remove. Add salt as needed. Adjust curry paste and sauces as needed. Right before serving, add basil leaves and mix in until wilted. Serve with rice.