Tag Archives: curry

Thai Red Curry of Pork with Peanut

The addition of peanut butter to red curry paste and coconut makes this a rich, satisfying dish. Like most Thai food, it features a balance of four elements: spicy, sour, sweet, and salty. It should be fairly spicy but you can adjust the heat level by adding more or less curry paste. I use prepared red curry paste I buy at my local Asian market but you can make your own. The peanut butter should be natural, i.e. without added sugar and preferably unsalted. Either smooth or crunchy is fine. I prefer to make my own coconut milk because I find it lighter than canned. If you use the latter, consider adding a bit of water to it. The pork should be fairly lean; I use sirloin but tenderloin would work equally well, albeit at higher cost. Serve modest portions over steamed jasmine rice.

(Recipe adapted from BBCGoodFoodShow.com)

Serves two generously



350 grams (12 ounces)

Unsweetened dried grated coconut

100 grams (1 cup)

Boiling water

600 milliliters (2½ cups), divided use

Vegetable oil

as needed

Red Thai curry paste

50 to 60 grams (3 to 4 Tablespoons)

Peanut butter

60 grams (2 to 3 Tablespoons)

Fresh coriander stalks, finely chopped

40 grams (½ cup)

Spring onion, thinly sliced

60 grams (small bunch)

Palm sugar or light brown sugar

15 milliliters (1 Tablespoon)

Lime juice

One lime, about 30 milliliters (2 Tablespoons)

Thai fish sauce

30 milliliters (2 Tablespoons)

Dry roasted unsalted peanuts

50 grams (⅓ cup)

Coriander leaves, chopped

for garnish


Cut the pork into 25-mm (1-inch) cubes then slice each cube across the grain 3-mm (⅛-inch) thick.

Put the grated coconut with 250 milliliters (1 cup) of the water into a blender. Carefully blend on high speed for about a minute.

Heat a small amount of oil in a heavy pot (I use a cast iron chicken fryer). When hot but not smoking, strain in the coconut milk, reserving the coconut. Stir in the curry paste and peanut butter. Fry, stirring constantly until the water has been driven out and the oil starts to separate.

Stir the coriander stalks and spring onion into the mixture then fold in the pork. Stir fry for a few minutes until the pork has lost its exterior pink color.

Return the coconut to the blender jar, add the remaining boiling water, and blend on high speed for about a minute as before. Strain the milk into the pot and discard the coconut. The liquid should just cover the pork. If not, add a bit of water. Stir in the palm sugar, lime juice, and about half of the fish sauce. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until the pork is tender. Check the seasoning and add a bit more fish sauce if it needs more salt.

Just before serving, stir in the peanuts. Ladle over hot jasmine rice and garnish with coriander leaves.

Thai Chicken and Summer Squash Curry

Known in French as courgette, summer squash is one of my favorite vegetables. There are so many ways to prepare it from stewed into ratatouille to sliced and grilled or even just cubed and eaten raw. And, if you are careful not to overcook it into mushy bits it is very good in light Thai-style curries. I suspect that this recipe would most authentically be made with the golf-ball-sized green eggplant popular in Thailand, but this combination is well worth a try. Besides the aforementioned eggplant, one could use zucchini or any other of the summer squashes in this recipe.

Note that I use rather a lot of squash for the amount of meat. That is because I am cutting back on meat partly because it is better for the environment and partly because I believe recipes like this are more authentic with less reliance on protein. Feel free to use more chicken if you wish.

You can buy green curry paste and coconut milk at any Asian market and at most larger American supermarkets or you can make them yourself. Lemongrass is readily available in Asian markets as well and many supermarkets now carry it. I have not seen fresh kaffir lime leaves in my area so I use shredded ones that come in jars. Again, they are generally available in Asian markets and some American grocery stores. If you cannot find them, just leave them out.

Yield: two servings with rice



Chicken cubes*

250 grams

8 ounces


30 milliliters

2 Tablespoons

Green curry paste

45 milliliters

3 Tablespoons


1 stalk

1 stalk

Kaffir lime leaves, chopped, optional

15 milliliters

1 Tablespoon

Fish sauce

60 milliliters

¼ cup

Palm sugar***

60 milliliters

¼ cup

Coconut milk

400 milliliters

1⅔ cup

Summer squash in bite-sized cubes

1 medium (500 grams)

1 medium (1 pound)

* thigh and/or breast meat

** or substitute 30 milliliters (2 Tablespoons) lemon juice

*** or substitute light brown sugar


Heat the oil in a wok or large pan and fry the curry paste for a minute or two until very fragrant. Add the chicken and stir fry until no longer pink on the outside. Bruise the lemongrass with the side of a knife then put it into the pan along with the kaffir lime leaves, if using, fish sauce, palm sugar or substitute, and coconut milk. Bring to a boil and simmer, uncovered, until the chicken is nearly cooked through—about 20 minutes.

Mix in the squash, making sure that they are all in the liquid. Simmer for an additional 10 minutes or until the squash are tender but still firm.

Remove the lemongrass stalk and serve over steamed jasmine rice.


Adapted from: http://australian.food.com/recipe/easy-thai-chicken-summer-squash-curry-200808?mode=us&scaleto=3.0&st=null

Jamaican Fish and Vegetable Cakes

If anything good can be said to have come out of British imperialism surely Jamaican cuisine would be high on the list. The blending of African and Indian flavors and textures is absolutely sublime. To come up with this recipe I combined traditional West Indian codfish cakes with Jamaican vegetable fritters that resemble Indian pakora. I used haddock but any flaky white fish will do. You can make them small as snacks or, as I have here, as meal-sized cakes. Serve them with mayonnaise to which you have added some Jamaican curry powder.



Firm white fish

4 ounces

120 g

Cooking oil

1 tablespoon

30 ml

Carrot, shredded

1 medium

1 medium

Onion, finely chopped

1 medium

1 medium

Garlic, minced

3 cloves

3 cloves

Ginger, grated

1 tablespoon

30 ml

Jamaican curry powder

1 tablespoon

30 ml

Cayenne pepper

to taste

to taste

Eggs, lightly beaten

1 large

1 large

All purpose or rice flour*

1 cup

125 g


as needed

as needed


to taste

to taste

Oil for frying

see Method

see Method

*Note: replace up to half the flour with chickpea (besan) flour for a taste more like pakora.


Steam or microwave the fish until just done. Flake and set aside.

Heat the one tablespoon of oil in a frying pan and sauté the carrot, onion, garlic, and ginger until soft. Stir in the curry powder and cayenne, then the egg. Fold in the reserved fish. Mix in the flour, a bit at a time, to form a thick batter adding a bit of water if needed. Season with salt to taste. Wet your hands and form the mixture into patties of whatever size you prefer.

In a heavy cast iron skillet heat about ¼ inch (6 mm) of oil. When almost smoking add the patties and cook for about 2 or 3 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels. Serve either hot or cold.

Phanaeng Neua

Phanaeng NeuaThis thick, rich beef curry originated in the south western part of Thailand adjacent to the northern Malaysian state of Penang hence its name which translates as Penang Beef. Although it is a Thai dish it is much like an Indian curry. Authentic Phanaeng curry paste is made from roasted spices in the Indian manner but many Thais use red curry paste instead. And it contains peanuts unlike any other Thai curry except Mussaman, or Muslim, curry, also from the south of the country. But the fish sauce is thoroughly Thai. Traditionally this curry is served with salted duck eggs, a Thai specialty. I have omitted them because I have none on hand (and it takes two weeks to make them). The dish does not contain any vegetables so serve it with steamed cabbage or green beans and, of course, plenty of jasmine rice. I adapted this recipe from templeofthai.com.

By the way, if you can not see the peanuts in the photo it is not your eyes; I forgot to put them in until after I took it.


  • ½ pound sirloin tip, thinly sliced
  • 1½ cups thick coconut milk
  • 3 Tbsp. red curry paste
  • 1 Tbsp. palm sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. Thai fish sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. shredded kaffir lime leaves
  • ¼ cup fresh Thai basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • 2 or 3 red chilies, seeded and sliced
  • ¼ cup roasted ground peanuts (optional)


Put half of the thick coconut milk into a wok and fry stirring continuously, until the coconut oil begins to separate out, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the curry paste and fry for 2 minutes.

Add the meat to the wok and stir fry until lightly browned. Add the rest of the thick coconut milk and bring to the boil. Simmer for about 5 minutes or until the meat is done. Sprinkle in the sugar and stir until it dissolves then add the fish sauce. Mix in the kaffir lime leaves, half of the basil, and the peanuts. Continue to cook for another minute or so until everything is warmed through.

Serve garnished with the sliced red chilies and remaining basil leaves.

Thai Red Chicken Curry

Thai Red Chicken CurryWhile Indian curries usually start with dry spice mixtures, Thai curries are made from one of a number of pastes of different colors. Most common are the red, green, and yellow curry pastes as well as Mussaman curry paste, so-called because it is associated with Muslims in the country. The list of ingredients for a Thai curry paste is rather lengthy so many Thais use store-bought pastes. Today these are available not only in Asian markets but in many well-stocked supermarkets as well. I suggest tasting the paste before using it because some can be quite spicy. The other ingredient that is essential to Thai curries is coconut milk. As I discussed in a recent post this is not the liquid in a coconut but rather is made from fresh or dried grated coconut—or you can buy it canned. I adapted this recipe from the back of a container of Maesri brand Red Curry Paste.


  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 4 Tbsp. red curry paste
  • 12 ounces chicken breast cut into bite-sized cubes
  • 1½ Tbsp. Thai fish sauce
  • 1 carrot, peeled and sliced into ¼-inch diagonals
  • ½ cup green beans, I used French cut for a texture contrast
  • ½ tsp. cayenne, optional or to taste
  • 2 or 3 red chilies and a few Thai basil leaves to garnish


Put a wok or other pan over medium heat and 1 cup of coconut milk. Stir in 4 Tbsp. of the red curry paste and cook for 4 minutes, stirring often and being careful that it does not burn. Add the chicken and boil gently until done, about 5 or 6 minutes.

Add the carrots, the rest of the coconut milk, and the fish sauce. Simmer for 5 minutes then add the green beans and stir in the cayenne if using. Continue to cook for another 10 minutes or so until the sauce thickens a bit.

Serve immediately over jasmine rice garnished with chilies and basil.


This tasty chickpea curry, also known as chana masala or chana dal, is popular in northern India where it is often sold by street vendors and eaten with fried bread called bhature.  It is also very good served simply over basmati rice as a vegetarian entrée or as an accompaniment to other Indian dishes.

While I used dried chickpeas cooked in a pressure cooker as is commonly done in India, canned chickpeas work just fine as well. Simply skip the first part of the recipe. If you do not have a pressure cooker and want to start with dried chickpeas allow for double the cooking time.


  • 6 ounces dried chickpeas
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ tsp. turmeric
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 medium onions, 1 coarsely chopped and 1 sliced
  • 3 small tomatoes, canned are fine
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic or 1 Tbsp. garlic paste
  • 2 tsp. grated ginger or ginger paste
  • 1 Tbsp. oil
  • 5 cloves
  • 4 green cardamoms
  • 5 black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • ½ tsp. ground cumin
  • ½ tsp. Indian red chili powder or to taste (do not use Mexican-style chili powder)
  • 1 tsp. garam masala
  • Fresh coriander leaves to garnish


Rinse the chickpeas and put into the pressure cooker along with 4 cups of water. Add 1 bay leaf and a good grind of black pepper. Cook at 15 psi for 45 minutes. Cool and open the pressure cooker according to manufacturer’s instructions and drain the chickpeas, reserving the cooking liquid. Discard the bay leaf.

Place the chopped onions, tomatoes, garlic, and ginger in a food processor or blender and reduce to a smooth paste adding a bit of water if needed. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a thick-bottomed pan over medium heat. Fry the remaining bay leaf, cloves, cardamom, and peppercorns for about 30 seconds. Add the sliced onion and fry until light golden, about 8 minutes. Add the onion-tomato paste and fry till the oil begins to separate from the paste, another 5 minutes or so. Sprinkle on the coriander, cumin, chili powder, turmeric, and garam masala powders and fry for 5 minutes or until the mixture has thickened and darkened somewhat. Do not rush this stage of preparation because getting the base well concentrated is the key to a good curry.

Mix in the chickpeas and cooking liquid to cover. If using canned chickpeas discard the liquid in the can and use fresh water.  Simmer uncovered for about 10 minutes or until the liquid has thickened. Season with salt to taste.

Garnish with chopped coriander and serve hot with Indian breads or rice.