Thai curries are in many ways the ultimate 30-minute meal. Add coconut milk, a little water or stock, meat or fish of your choice, curry paste of your choice, whatever veggies you have around, some fresh herbs and bang! Done.
I am pretty sure most of you have had a Thai curry, but if you haven’t, they are lighter, brighter and to my mind more approachable than Indian curries. I find myself tiring of Indian curry, but I never tire of Thai ones.
There are lots of different kinds, but the basics are red, green and massaman, which is yellow. I tend to do green curry with fish, or with light-colored meats — in this case skinless pheasant breasts.
I can hear some of you: You’re wondering why I’d rely on a store-bought curry paste. Well, for whatever reason, the premade curry pastes stand up really well compared to the homemade stuff. I’ve done it by hand it it’s great, but not so much better that I feel the need to start from scratch every time.
My advice: Buy a selection of these curry pastes, a bottle of fish sauce and a few cans of coconut milk to keep around the house. They’ll all last for months (years, even!) and, armed with them, you can whip up something addicting and exotic in the time it takes to cook the rice you eat with this curry.
I use pheasant here, but obviously chicken, any other white-meat poultry or rabbit would work here, as would pork. It's a super easy recipe to make if you have coconut milk and Thai green curry paste available, which is no longer so hard. Look for them in the "ethnic" sections of most supermarkets. I highly recommend buying Mae Ploy Thai green curry paste. The stuff is great and it lasts forever in the fridge; I've had some last more than a year. I have snow peas in this curry, but use whatever you want, so long as it's green. Asparagus, regular peas, sugar snap peas, more herbs, bok choy, green beans -- you get the point. Serve the curry with long-grain rice and a lager beer.
- 1 small onion, sliced thinly from root to tip
- 1 tablespoon peanut or other vegetable oil
- 1 15- ounce can of coconut milk
- 1/4 cup chicken stock (optional)
- 3 citrus leaves (optional)
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce or 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 3 to 4 tablespoons green curry paste
- 1 pound skinless pheasant breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 to 4 serrano or jalapeno chiles, sliced thin
- 1/2 pound snow peas
- 1/3 cup chopped Thai basil or cilantro
- Heat the oil over high heat in a wok or large frying pan. Sear the onion over high heat, stirring it often, until it browns on the edges. Salt the onion as it cooks.
- Pour in the coconut milk and the stock if using. Fill the coconut milk can halfway with water and pour that in, too. If you are not using stock, fill the can all the way up and pour the whole can into the pan. Add the citrus leaves if you're using them, as well as the fish sauce and the curry paste. Bring this to a boil, then simmer it for 15 minutes.
- Add the pheasant breast and simmer gently 5 minutes, then add the chiles and snow peas and simmer another 5 to 8 minutes. Stir in the basil or cilantro and serve.