I didn’t mean to make Hallowe’en themed food last night, but given that I’ve never seen such a vibrant shade of green in a curry I’m forced to admit that there was an air of the ghoulish about my creation. It was bright green. Brighter even, I think, than a fresh pea puree. Almost luminescent; you could have used it for a landing light. Put a sealed tupperware of it in the ocean and you’d have a multitude of confused anglerfish before you could say ‘sorry, it’s only a curry’. The photo doesn’t capture the green-ness, but it’s the best one I managed to get. I think you’ll agree, the contrast of the brown chestnut mushrooms makes it look even worse. It did change colour with the additions of further ingredients, but ultimately it really was a most peculiar colour for foodstuff to be.
It is a Thai-inspired curry, by which I mean it contains some ingredients that you’d find in a Thai curry and some that you probably wouldn’t. Let’s see if I can remember what went in it… The first thing I did was make a curry paste, the ingredients for which are immortalised in this next photo. I added extra spices as I cooked; the list below reflects the final amounts, plus some further liquid additions at the end – this made more of a sauce than a paste.
- one handful of basil leaves
- one handful of coriander leaves
- three cloves of garlic
- one green chili, de-seeded
- one red chili, seeds left in
- half an onion
- one peeled lump of ginger, about an inch across
- 1tsp lemongrass powder
- 1tbsp turmeric
- 1 tsp light soy
- 1/2 tsp sesame oil
- 1/2 tsp lime juice
- 1 1/2 tsp apple vinegar
- 100g creamed coconut (leaving this out would probably make the consistency more paste than sauce, next time I’d just add all the coconut cream at once, after cooking the paste
I put all these ingredients in the blender and processed until they were a smooth paste. I then cooked up 450g of turkey mince in a wok, using about a teaspoon of groundnut oil to get it started. I seasoned the meat with 1/2 tsp fish sauce, 1/2 tsp sugar and 1/2 tsp light soy. When the turkey was almost cooked through, with only a little pink left showing, I added half a pack of chestnut mushrooms, and cooked until the meat was all browned and the mushrooms softened. I then added the paste/sauce from the blender cup, and cooked for two minutes. Then I added the rest of the 25og packet of coconut cream, stirred through and simmered for ten minutes. I tasted the curry then, which was still pretty green and watery, and added a teaspoon of dark soy, partly for colour and partly for flavour. It’s really about balancing the flavours, once the big bold paste has gone in. I had my basic tools of soy, sugar, vinegar and chili flakes to hand to tweak the final result. I didn’t use any chili flakes, although I did serve the curry to my dinner guest with fresh chili rings on top, and a bowl of chili flakes on the table, because it was the Tastebudless Wonder that I’m sure I’ve mentioned before.
Once I was happier with the balance of flavours in the curry, I left it simmering, uncovered, to reduce until the sauce was clinging to the ground meat, rather than the meat swimming in the sauce. This took about twenty minutes, after which time I covered and left on an extremely low heat to keep warm. In the meantime I made rice in the ever-handy microwave rice cooker. I seasoned the rice with light soy and a spiced chai teabag, and was really pleased with the colour and flavour of the end result. Those teabags are great for cooking and baking, so much so that I rarely use them for making tea. Once the rice was ready, I added the final ingredients to the curry – a tablespoon of sliced spring onions, about a quarter cup of shredded basil leaves and half each of a red and green bell pepper, thinly sliced. I stirred those through and left to cook ever so slightly while I plated up the rice. I topped the rice with the curry and added some basil leaves, some coriander leaves and fresh, sliced chili (I left this off my own plate, though in the end the curry wasn’t too spicy at all, it just had a nice level of slow heat). Then we ate it with poppadoms, for extra crunch. I’ll take any excuse to eat crisps with my dinner, really.
It looked less Hallowe’eny once it was done. Here is an attempt to show the lovely rice, it doesn’t show up the colour that well, or the lovely variation in colour where the rice that was nearest the teabag had been mixed in with the white rice that was further away.
I’ve used my lunch break to write this post, so I don’t have this week’s playlist yet. That is a project for tomorrow, when I also plan to post about the roast pheasant I’m making this evening… Wish me luck!