Every now and then we need a little R&R, and a weekend in Delhi was the perfect short getaway. We stayed in a lovely boutique hotel, close to a number of even lovelier shops and most importantly a good grocery store!
We returned home, well rested, rejuvenated and a carton filled with beautiful fruits, fresh herbs, and for today’s post – lemongrass and dried kaffir leaves!
I know there are a ton of good quality Thai curry paste, but there’s something so soothing in knowing you’ve made your own paste, with fresh ingredients and you can control the flavours as per your own liking. Now an authentic curry paste requires a ton of fancy ingredients, which aren’t always on hand. Here is my own concoction as close to the real one, that anyone can make, with mostly local ingredients. Galangal can be replaced with regular ginger and kaffir lime leaves can be replaced with some lime zest and then a squeeze of lemon on top of the curry too. Thai basil leaves is another essential in most Thai dishes, and you can substitute with dried basil.
Lemongrass is available at some grocery stores, and I’ve even seen pre-packaged ones on the shelves. This time I was lucky to have found a few fresh red chillies, however, if not, you can use red chilli flakes, or a green chilli. Deseed the chillies if you want to cut the spice level.
You can add in tofu or paneer for the protein portion, which will make it a one pot wholesome meal.
Serves Prep Time: 60 mins | Cook Time: 30 mins
- For Curry Paste:
- Yields: 10-12 tbsp
- 1 red or green chilli OR 1 tsp red chilli flakes
- 3 tbsp chopped shallots
- 1 tbsp chopped galangal or regular ginger
- ½ tsp chopped kaffir lime rind OR 3 dried kaffir lime leaves
- 5 garlic cloves OR 3 tbsp chopped garlic
- 5 tbsp chopped lemongrass
- 4 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp roasted cumin seeds
- 1 tbsp roasted coriander seeds
- 1 tsp dried basil OR 4-5 fresh Thai basil leaves
- 1½ tsp salt
- For The Curry:
- Serves: 4
- 1 tbsp curry paste
- 400ml coconut milk
- ½ cup water
- 2 kaffir lime leaves
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 carrot, sliced
- 1 cup cauliflower florets
- 1 cup spinach, roughly chopped
- 1 red pepper, sliced
- ½ cup baby corn, sliced
- ½ zucchini, sliced
- ½ cup spring onions, chopped
- 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp soya sauce
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ cup diced tofu or paneer (optional)
- To Serve:
- Rice or noodles
- Curry paste:
- Pound the spices in a mortar and pestle.
- Then add all the remaining ingredients together with the pounded spices in a food processor to make a paste.
- For the Curry:
- Sauté the onions with the bay leaf in a non-stick skillet or wok with the oil.
- Then add the rest of the vegetables and sauté until half cooked.
- Mix in the curry paste and cook for a few more minutes, until fragrant.
- Pour in the coconut milk and water and let simmer.
- After 5-7 minutes add in the salt, brown sugar, rice wine vinegar, soya sauce and lime leaves.
- Let the curry cook for a further 10 minutes. Add some more water if required.
- Add the tofu or paneer at the end. (optional)
- Serve hot with steamed rice or noodles.