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Green curry paste

Here’s a photo of the ingredients I was able to find at the moment in lockdown for a green curry paste.  The recipe’s from a cookbook I was given almost thirty years ago when Thai food was really popular in Sydney – still is!  Each page gives evidence of how often it’s been used, splashed with sauce from my beaters or from sticky fingers mid-read.

website green paste

So much better – & healthier – making your own base as there are no preservatives and you can add and subtract to suit your own taste.  I couldn’t get some of the ingredients as the Thai store is currently closed.  I’ll make mention of the ones I’ve not included (in italics in brackets) and how I replaced them.  This recipe as is definitely stands alone, it’s delicious!  And a great base for any green curry dish whether vegetarian or with fish, chicken, lamb, duck.
Next month I’ll try to post a recipe for a chicken curry dish where I’ve used this as the base.
Enjoy and stay safe!

Ingredients:

Makes about 8 tablespoons
(I used 5 tbsp for 4 servings)

1 tsp cumin seeds (I only had ground cumin powder which was fine)
2 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp black peppercorns
8 fresh green chillies, seeded and chopped
2 shallots, chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 stalks lemon grass, outer hard leaf removed, flat-knife-crushed then chopped
3 dried large kaffir lime leaves, chopped, central stem removed
(3 coriander roots, chopped) I added 3 extra tbsp chopped coriander leaves & stems instead)
(3 cms galangal)  I used 3 cms fresh ginger, chopped & would probably stick to it, delicious
(2 tsp shrimp paste)  I used a dollop of fish sauce instead.  for a vegetarian version you can get that extra layer with miso paste or even a splash of tamari
3 tbsp chopped coriander leaves

Method:

Heat your pan and add the coriander and cumin seeds (or powder) until you have aroma.  Then crush them in a pestle and mortar or a small blender together with the peppercorns.

Now add the rest of the ingredients and blend anyway you can. I use a hand held stick blender and it works fine as long as I chop the coriander leaves small.  You can also pound it all by hand.

This is a great starter for any green curry and can be stored in the fridge up to 4 weeks.

Baba ganoush (aubergine) dip

We had a plethora of aubergines (eggplants) this year, and even now in November, here in the Ionian, they are still growing -  amazing!

One delicious way of cooking with aubergines, if you’ve had enough of grilling or making moussaka, is to roast and blend them into a middle eastern dip called baba ganoush (ghanouj).  Different spellings abound, as do the apparent origins of the name.   In Arabic, baba means father, and ganuj means pampered a.o.  The Oxford English Dictionary suggests possibly a pampered sultan made up the recipe, but I’m not convinced.  (What’s a sultan doing in the kitchen?)

baba g

Whoever first concocted this dip, I send heartfelt thanks as we’ve always loved it, even way back when in Sydney, eating at Ishmail’s in George street. Gone now, but the delicious recipe remains and can be found in loads of restaurants all over the world, hooray!  An easy one to add to your repertoire.

A dip to serve 4.
Ingredients

2 medium aubergines
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tbsp tahini
fresh lemon juice to taste
some sea salt
1 tsp cumin
cayenne to taste – start with a light sprinkling then adjust at the end
olive oil for roasting
1-2 tbsp virgin olive oil

Method

Halve the aubergines/eggplants and score with a knife without damaging the bottom skin.  Place on a roasting pan, skin side down, and drizzle generously with oil.  Roast at 160 degree (c 320 fahrenheit) for about 40 minutes until they look well done and dark.

Scoop out the flesh, discard the skins.  Mash with a fork adding all the above ingredients apart from the lemon juice which you add last.  You can also use a blender for a completely smooth finish if you prefer.

Taste test and add more of whichever ingredient you’d like to stand out.

Spoon into a dish and serve with toasted plantain flatbread (goes well with it if you want to be GF.  You can find the recipe on my website) – or any toasted flatbread.
Enjoy!