This simple and very traditional Thai green curry paste will literally blow your mind. Once combined in a mortar and pestle it can be frozen into convenient, one tablespoon measures by freezing the paste in an ice block tray. Only ten minutes’ work to have enough quantity of this most famous of Thai curry pastes to last for 2 or 3 months? That sounds a good deal to me.
The paste, once combined with coconut milk/cream, chicken and some vegetables and 15 minutes cooking time will result in Thailand’s most famous dish, green curry with chicken, which we will be featuring on Compass & Fork tomorrow.
Vegetarian? No problem. Put some attitude into your cooking and use this paste to make the best vegetable curry you will ever taste.
Grocery Shopping in Thailand
Most people in Thailand would shop at least once a day. (Yes sometimes it is more often!) Thais love fresh ingredients. So for anything they are going to cook with, they will buy it the day they are going to use it.
To ensure freshness, most Thais would shop at a local market, not a grocery store. Markets are common throughout Thailand- you will never be too far from one and they are open from the early hours of the morning, into the evening.
Should you find yourself not near one, there are a lot of mobile vendors happy to come to you. Check out this mobile grocery store. I don’t think I could get it all on the scooter, further more move!
In addition to fresh goods, markets sell a range of packaged and prepared foods, including pastes and sauces. Common sauces to buy from the market include chili sauce and curry pastes. However, buying a sauce from the market, is still buying homemade. You can see many of the vendors making their goods at the market, they might be roasting chilies or tomatoes, or using a mortar and pestle to pound out a paste. Often these are made on demand.
Many Thais do not “cook” at home, instead buying prepared food at the market or eating street food.
The Green Bowl- Thai Culinary Excellence
Another interesting thing we learned at the market, is Thailand has a recognition system for culinary excellence. It is awarded for a variety of things, it can be at a market, food stall (street food) or restaurant.
The symbol looks like this one on the right. I am sure the Thai writing is telling us what the dish is, but since I don’t read Thai I can’t be sure. When you see the green bowl, ask what dish they received the award for- it is guaranteed to be one of their best dishes and the locals have recognized it as being great as well.
Thai Green Curry Paste
There are plenty of prepared, Thai green curry pastes for purchase these days. But trust me on this, they won’t taste as good as this authentic Thai paste. As this Thai green curry paste is much stronger, you won’t need to use as much. And it is made from real ingredients that you can touch and feel. No preservatives or food dyes here. If you are after a milder paste buy longer green chilies or try the milder red curry paste.
All you need is a mortar and pestle (better) or food processor (not as good) and 10 minutes of your time. Once you taste the paste you will be very happy with the result and can then make your own Thai green curry whenever you feel like it.
As mentioned, you can use an ice cube tray to freeze tablespoon (or teaspoon) size servings of the Thai Green Curry Paste. Just place in the ice cube tray and freeze. Once frozen remove from the try and place in a storage container in the freezer. This way you can have fresh, homemade paste when ever you want it. (This trick works with all kinds of sauces including pesto and homemade stock. It is a great way to have just the right amount handy for a recipe.)
Other Asian Dishes with Some Attitude
If you enjoy South East Asian foods containing a little spice, you might also like these:
Try Fish Amok. It is the national dish of Cambodia and our most popular curry on Compass & Fork.
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