Thai Green Curry Paste Ingredients

Making your own Thai green curry paste

Making your own curry paste can be fun and wonderfully therapeutic as you bash away with a mortar and pestle. A great Thai green curry depends on the quality of the paste and, so often overlooked, the quality of the coconut milk.

Those two factors are the most important in determining the success of the final dish. 

Not your cooking skills, not the quality of the meat you are using, be it fillet steak or the finest organic chicken.  It’s the paste and the coconut milk. It is as simple as that.

The author with plate of Som Tam

My Story

 I grew up in a small village in the north-east of Thailand. Our methods of preparing food were very traditional and I was set to work with the mortar & pestle from a very early age. We would grow most of our ingredients ourselves, raise our own chickens and catch fish in the nearby rivers or rice paddies. Supermarkets had yet to make an appearance and what shopping we did was in local markets.

Although many things have changed since then, a lot of the values remain the same. We have supermarkets selling fresh food and canned goods but the ready-made meals we are so used to seeing in the UK don’t really exist in Thailand..

Young coconut

How to open a young coconut

There are several ways to open a young coconut, however, if the aim is to keep the coconut shell to use as a serving bowl just a little more care is needed. You will need a strong sharp knife as you see in the pictures. Most of the time I use a meat cleaver but not everyone has one so on this occasion I’ve used the type of knife can be found in most kitchens. You will also see that I placed a nonslip mat under my chopping board, if you don’t have one of these just make sure your chopping board is in a position where it can’t move about.

Coconut milk lamb massaman Thai curry in slow cooker

Cooking Thai curry with coconut milk in a slow cooker or crock-pot

I’m often asked if you can cook these Thai curry recipes using a slow cooker or crock-pot. In particular, some of the dishes that I describe as benefiting from a long cooking time, like Beef Massaman for example, might seem ideally suited to cooking in a slow cooker. Whilst it is possible to use a slow cooker, the recipe would have to be adapted. The reason for this is that “good” (without added binders or other chemicals) coconut milk is not suited to the long cooking times typical of most s…

Kaffir Lime Leaves and Holy Basil Leaves

Where to buy Kaffir lime leaves or Thai holy Basil in the UK?

I often receive emails asking the above question, or notice people searching on the website for these items. Not only can there be a problem in buying either of these, there also seems to be some confusion about how they are used in Thai cooking. I hope that I will be able to answer a few of these questions here.

Kaffir lime leaves.
Fresh kaffir lime leaves are an essential ingredient in Thai cooking. However, obtaining them in the UK or the EU is far from easy. (Edit. Aug 2016. Getting easier, I’ve noticed that M&S now seem to have them year round.)The reason for this is that they harbour a pest that the authorities are keen to prevent…

Electric Rice Steamer, Cooker

Buy a rice cooker, save money & get perfectly cooked rice!

I am always surprised by the fact that other people are surprised that I cook my rice in a rice cooker! The response is always along the lines of “I thought you would cook it the traditional way”, well I am cooking it the traditional way; it is simply a modern tradition! Give me a break here; I know there is probably a better way of putting this but Google translate isn’t helping out today for the English equivalent of the Thai phrase I would like to use.

I think in non-Asian households a rice cooker is probably viewed  as one of those gadgets that will be used once and then end up in the attic along with the vibrating foot spa that seemed like a good idea at the time.

Thai Chef cooking with wok

Your local Thai restaurant may soon be a lot less Thai.

There has never been an excess of Thai restaurant workers in the UK. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been offered a job by Thai restaurant owners. My daughter has long since learned not to stop and look at the menu in the window of a Thai restaurant, it invariably brings the owner or manager rushing out into the street enquiring about her visa status. When she tells them she is a British citizen, their efforts to get her to work for them become increasingly desperate!

Brisket & Bone Marrow dish in review of Smoking Goat restaurant

The best Thai restaurants in London.

I’m often asked which are the best or most “authentic” Thai restaurants in London and it’s a question that I have problems answering. On the surface, it should be an easy question for me to answer. I’m a Thai cook who has sampled her way through more or less every Thai dish in existence. I think that may be more hindrance than help; I tend to be super critical..

Mixture of red and green chillies with heat explanations

Which is hotter, Thai red curry or Thai green curry?

 Until fairly recently I had no difficulty in giving an unequivocal answer to the question. However, times change and trends come and go and what was once true is not now always the case. In traditional Thai cuisine we tend to think of curries being served at an appropriate heat level for that particular curry. Certainly in Thailand that would be the case. However in many Thai restaurants overseas this no longer holds true, increasingly diners are being asked “How spicy would you like your curry?” and back in the kitchen the chef will be chopping green chilies or adding chilli powder to the dish

Pad Thai dish. Serving Presentation

Pad Thai and my identity crisis

I play a little mental guessing game whenever I am introduced to people for the first time. It goes something like this:
“This is Nitsa, she’s from Thailand”.
I then have to guess whether their first sentence will include the words “Pad Thai”. It usually does. On very rare occasions, we might even be talking for a minute or so before those words enter into the conversation; I’m normally getting quite anxious by then. It’s difficult to focus on the conversation because I know you’re going to say it at some stage and now I’m waiting for it Come on, you’re going to tell me you love Pad Thai, just get it over with!

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