My everyday cooking, Thai and asian recipes, cooking tips and more.
Sunday, September 7, 2008
How to make authentic Thai Curries
Many people that I know here in Canada have once been to Thailand and told me that they loved the food there :).
I am certain that they must have known at least one kind of curries and they would love to have it the same way as in Thailand.
Now, authenticity of the curry doesn't mean that you need to buy the exact same vegetables or meat to make it like that. The authenticity is in the flavour and the ingredients that makes the curry paste, the fragrance of herbs that can not be missed in making Thai curries.
Curries in Thai food is different in color and ingredients that makes the curry paste. Green Curry in Thailand is more sweet and mild than the red one. It's good to make curry paste for your own use but it's also fine to buy the finished curry paste at any store. Each brand are different in flavor and sometimes it's not really like the fresh made curry paste that we can find in the market place in Thailand (Which is most likely to be well made and authentic). Some brands that you can find here will produce a little bit of more salty flavor because they need to preserve the curry paste for a long period of time. Sometime, using the bought curry paste, you need to taste the curry before seasoning because it might already be salty enough and you don't need to add anymore fish sauce. The brand that I like is Mae Ploy. If you prefer to make the curry paste on your own, you can find the curry paste recipes which I will add later on.
Coconut milk : For first time user, when you bought the coconut milk from the store, never put it upside down. The coconut milk has 2 parts, the upper part is thick and creamy which you will be able to use it in making curry or other desserts, the middle-lower part is thinner and that one you can mix with 1 part of water to make the body of the curry or anything that requires less creamy part of the milk.
Another thing is the way of cooking the coconut milk. You need to make the coconut milk separated before putting in any curry paste. When the coconut milk is cooked and the temperature is hot enough, you will see that the milk start bubbling and looks like it is exploding everywhere. If your coconut milk is acting like this, you have come to the right way.
Why do we need to do this? In my opinion from what I have noticed, It makes the curry paste dissolved and cooked , it pulls more flavour and fragrances combine with the coconut milk that makes the curry and finally, it gives the perfect color that it should be in the finished dish. As you can see that Thai curries will have a layer of oil above the curry and the color is bright and it smells so good in its own way.
I used to make curries and didn't succeed. My curry doesn't taste right as it should. The color is pale even I put a lot of curry paste in it. With frustration, I tried and tried and notice the difference that the secret lies in the cooking of coconut milk. Make it separate before making any further attempt. The curry paste will be fully cooked because it should be cooked in the oil of coconut milk, not the liquid of the coconut. Imagine frying garlic vs. boiling garlic in water. Sure that it will not taste the same way, isn't it?
The final tip
Add a little bit of coconut milk at a time so you will keep the color and the fat that you produced at the earlier state. If the color is pale or the fat is gone, turn the heat to high and let it boil for a while and let rest. Making curries is not a quick-dish and it needs time and patience but I guarantee the results that it will be satisfying.