April 15, 2012

Thai Green Curry with Tofu and Eggplant


After my daikon radish cakes, the next Asian dish that I wanted to try making at home was a Thai green curry.  Before my trip to Thailand, I would usually stick with red curry at restaurants but now I know that the other types of Thai curries, including the green and yellow varieties, are just as complex and delicious, if not more!

When I first set out to recreate a green curry at home, I planned on buying a jar of premade curry paste.  I had always assumed that making your own curry paste would be too difficult or that I would never be able to find the right ingredients. But after looking at a few recipes for homemade green curry paste, I realized that it wouldn't be too hard to make, and the result would probably taste much more authentic!

So I made a visit to the nearest Asian food market and picked up all of the ingredients that I would need, including some that I'd never bought before like fresh lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves and Thai basil.  Finding all the right ingredients was probably the hardest part of the whole process because none of the herbs were labelled and I had no idea what anything was, but eventually I got everything that I needed and couldn't wait to get home and start cooking with them!


I made the curry paste the day before I made the actual curry.  I didn't want to try tasting it on its own, but I could tell that it would have a lot of flavour just by its smell.  (Actually, I did try a tiny taste, but I don't recommend doing that - it does not taste good and my tongue was practically on fire!)

For the curry itself, I followed a recipe from my Canadian Living cookbook, which called for tofu, eggplant, grean beans and okra.  I changed the vegetables a bit my replacing the green beans with Chinese long beans and adding some bok choy instead of okra.  Then the broth is made by simmering the green curry paste with coconut milk and vegetable broth, with some lime juice and Thai basil added at the end.

When I finally got to try the curry, I was not disappointed! I thought the broth definitely tasted authentic, and had such a complex flavour - spicy, herbal, and slightly sweet from the coconut milk.  I really liked the pieces of soft tofu, but I wasn't crazy about the long beans - next time I would just use regular green beans like the recipe called for, or leave them out.

Now that I've learned how to make green curry, I can't wait to try some other kinds - I would love to find a good recipe for Panang curry since that was one of my favourite meals that I ate in Thailand, so if anyone has a recipe, let me know!


Thai Green Curry with Tofu and Eggplant
*I followed the recipe from Canadian Living: The Vegetarian Collection pretty closely, so rather than rewriting it out here, I will link to the recipe online and list the changes that I made.

Green Curry Paste
Recipe can be found here
- the only change I made was to replace the lime zest with 5 kaffir lime leaves, minced first before adding to the food processor

Curry
Recipe can be found here
- Used 8 oz of regular eggplant because I had already bought some, but next time I would try the Japanese eggplant
- Replaced the green beans with 1 cup of Chinese long beans (although next time I would use regular green beans)
- Left out the okra
- Added 2 stalks of Shanghai bok choy, thinly sliced and added to the pot during the last 2 minutes of cooking time
- Added two kaffir lime leaves, sliced in half lengthwise, added to the pot at the same time as the tofu
- Used 1/4 cup of chopped fresh Thai basil instead of the coriander

Makes 4 servings.

14 comments:

  1. I always thought green was the mildest and red the hottest- man, I was so wrong. I can only imagine what your tongue felt like. I love the recipe because the paste has no dried shrimp in it which I could never find and therefore never made the paste! Thanks, Jen

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    1. At least the nice thing about making it all from scratch is that you can adjust the amount of heat yourself (by using less chilies, garlic, or ginger). I never realized how many Thai dishes used dried shrimp either until I started looking up recipes!

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  2. Awe, I am so excited to try the curry paste recipe!!! :) I normally buy green curry paste from Superstore, but they went and started adding fish sauce to it. ARGH. So, I am excited to try and make a homemade curry paste and try our the tofu/eggplant recipe.

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    1. Thanks Courtney! Yeah, I didn't really realize until now how careful you have to be about checking ingredients in all those premade sauces and pastes from the store, so homemade is usually the safest option if you can find all the ingredients! And I think you can freeze the paste afterwards too if you have leftovers - I found another recipe to use some of mine in though.

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  3. Mmmmmm this is what I want for dinner tonight! :) I don't have any eggplant, maybe I'll sub it for some summer squash!

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    1. That sounds good too - I know eggplant isn't everyone's favourite vegetable (its not mine either), so feel free to substitute the vegetables!

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  4. Honestly, I don't think it would ever occur to me to make my own curry paste--I love that you did it! While I like the flavor of green curry, I find it a little too spicy at times, so if I made my own curry, I could control the heat better. Perfect!

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    1. Thanks! This was pretty spicy, but I think it mellowed out a bit after sitting in the fridge (since I had leftovers). And I know what you mean - I used to be afraid of making green curry even with the paste provided, so I was pretty happy to find a recipe that was manageable!

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  5. Love that you made your own green curry - so awesome, also loved that you replaced the Okra with Bok Choy - I bet it was perfect!

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    1. Thanks! I have this perception in my mind that I don't like okra, but I don't know if I've ever even given it a chance...I did like the bok choy though!

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  6. Yum! Looks so good...I just bought some canned coconut milk so I may try something like this! Did you use full fat or lite coconut milk?

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    1. I bought non-brand name coconut milk from the Asian mart, so I wasn't really sure whether it was full fat or lite! According to the nutrition info on the cans, one looked full fat and one appeared to be light. For this recipe, I would probably recommend at least half full fat coconut milk so that your broth isn't too thin or watery tasting. Hope that helps!

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  7. LOVE this recipe! Used bell pepper, mushrooms and onion in place of the okra and green beans....Delish!! :)

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    1. Don't you love how adaptable it is with different veggies? I just tried okra in another recipe and really liked it, so if I made this again, I would try it with the okra included!

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