When Rebecca and I were living overseas (and had a lot more funny money) we traveled all over the globe together. You might say that’s how we fell in love: adventuring and learning to be travel companions. Our travels brought us to Morocco, Senegal, Italy, New Zealand, and Thailand. One thing we loved to do in new places was to try local dishes.
- In Morocco, it was couscous, tagine, pastilla, mint tea, and harira.
- In Senegal, it was mafé, thieboudienne, bissap and bouye, fataya, yassa poulet, and soupoukandia.
- In Italy it was pizza, ribollita, pappa al pomodoro, wine, and every kind of pasta imaginable.
- In New Zealand, it was local meats and sausages, local beer and wine, fish and chips, whitebait fritters, and New Zealand Meat Pies.
- In Thailand…
Ahhh, Thailand. If you haven’t yet discovered Thai food, go discover it for yourself right now. It is much easier to find authentic Thai recipes in Thai restaurants in the U.S. than, say, authentic Chinese recipes in Chinese restaurants.
If you think, “Oh no! That food will be too spicy/greasy/yucky!” Worry not. It is none of these.
If you think, “I won’t know what to order!” Ask your server for a recommendation. You might want to decide if you want a noodle dish, rice dish, or soup first.
Anyway, while Rebecca and I were exploring Thailand, we took a day-long Thai cooking class and learned to prepare six recipes. One of them was green curry. The great thing about Thai curry is that… wait. There are a ton of great things…
Of the many great things about Thai curry, one of them is how simple they are to prepare. Whether it’s red or green, panaeng or massaman, they are are prepared in the same manner (except water-based curries like sour curry and jungle curry): boil coconut cream in a wok, add curry paste, add meat, add vegetables, add coconut milk, add seasoning, serve with rice. DONE.
- Green Curry: green curry paste, meat, Thai eggplant, kaffir lime leaves, red chili, Thai basil
- Red Curry: red curry paste, pork, pumpkin or squash, cilantro
- Panaeng Curry: panaeng curry paste, meat, Thai eggplant, red chili, kaffir lime leaves, ground roasted peanuts
- Massaman Curry: massaman curry paste, meat, whole peanuts, potatoes, onion, cinnamon and cardamom
Additionally, while there are common ingredients for each of the varieties of curry (see above), you can really add whatever you want to suit your taste. Or, as in our case this week, you can add whatever you have on hand in the pantry and garden. Thus, we have red curry with chicken, sweet potato, garden green beans, and garden eggplant. Put whatever you want in there. I won’t tell the Authentic Recipe Police.
I roasted the sweet potato in advance because it is dense and would take too long to cook through in the wok. The chicken, eggplant, and green beans went into the wok raw. Once the eggplant was soft and soaked with flavor, the green beans were perfectly tender. Garnished with Thai basil leaves from the garden to finish.
Note: If you cook this recipe, your spouse will be able to smell its deliciousness wafting throughout the house and will come poking around the kitchen for a taste test. Just to make sure it isn’t poison.