Did someone call for curry? Ghoulish curry? Here's a Halloween concoction for you! With fresh lemongrass, cilantro, and basil this curry is an extra ghoulish shade of green -- Mwhahahaha!
Making your own curry paste is kind of like trick-or-treating. Just go with me on this one. You see, just like trick-or-treating, making curry paste requires a big up-front investment. You have to spend some time going door-to-door (or Asian grocer to Asian grocer) finding the right goods. Once you have everything, you spread it out on the count and evaluate. Then, you blend it all up into a paste (What? that doesn't sound like trick-or-treating? We're getting there, I promise). Finally (FINALLY) you get to dig in, tasting the fruits of all of that work.
And trust me, this is definitely a treat--not a trick.
You know how making something from scratch almost always results in a better tasting dinner, but you're not always sure if it's actually better or it you're just tasting all of your hard work?
That's about how I feel about homemade curry paste. But that's the whole point! You can taste the love. There's no can-popping sounds, no truly spooky ingredients, and definitely no "double, double, toil & trouble". Just pure love and hard work. Uh, maybe that's why I love cooking so much? Probably.
Happy Halloween! Now... where did I put that broom? ;)
Serves: 4 | Total Time:
- 10g cumin seeds, ground
- 10g coriander seeds, ground
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg (1/4 teaspoon pre-ground)
- 4 shallots
- 25g cilantro
- 100g galangal
- 10g ginger
- 2 stalks lemongrass, outer leaves removed
- Juice from 1/2 lime
- 1 tablespoon shrimp paste
- 8g basil Stew:
- 1 pound skinless boneless chicken thighs
- 1 yellow onion
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 sixteen-ounce can coconut milk
- 2-3 tablespoons curry paste
- 5 cups chopped vegetables — I used mostly green vegetable to give this a ghoulish look, and carrots for a extra orange Halloween twist (1 green pepper, 5 small green globe eggplants, 1 cup broccoli florets, 2 small zucchini, 2 large carrots
- Optional: extra red chile flakes or dried red chiles to match spice preference
- In a food processor or high powered blender, pulse the garlic and shallots until well minced. Add the lemongrass in small chunks and run food processor until finely minced. Add spices, cilantro, ginger, galangal, shrimp paste, basil, and lime juice. Run food processor until a fibers paste forms — scrape the sides of the bowl occasionally. Store paste in a jar (if you are not going to use it soon, scoop it into an ice cube try, freeze, and then store frozen cubes in a zip-lock in the freezer. When ready to use, just pop out a square or two).
- For the stew: Heat oil in a large pan or soup pot. Brown chicken. Once cooked through, remove from pan. Set aside. Dice the onion and sauté until transparent. Add the slow cooking vegetables first, like eggplant. Add quicker cooking vegetables once the slower cooking vegetables are about halfway done cooking (zucchini, spinach).
- Add the broth, curry paste, and coconut milk to the pan. Stir. Add extra red chiles or red chile flakes to taste — remember, you can always add more later! Bring to a simmer.
- When ready to serve, spoon curry into bowls. Optional: serve with fresh cilantro, extra red chile flakes, and lime wedges.