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Curry Recipes

09 November 2008

Thai Beef Massaman Curry


Rasa Malaysia is one of my favourite blogs. I have been clicking on her award-winning photography and mouth-watering recipes for years. It is no exaggeration that Bee (who is Rasa Malaysia) is one of my inspirations and reasons for starting Taste Buddies in June 2007.

Since then, Bee and I have become blog-buddies. Today, I am very proud to tell you that she has asked me to be a guest writer on Rasa Malaysia.

Since I am half Thai and spent many years growing up there, Bee asked me to make a Thai dish.

Hailing from Southern Thailand, near Bee's homeland of Malaysia, comes the Massaman Curry. Literally "Muslim Curry", the dish was born from the Arab spice merchants who settled in the region a thousand years ago.

To read more about Gaeng Massaman, and to see the recipe, please visit Rasa Malaysia.

03 June 2008

Warm Yourself with a Bowl of Butter Chicken


Butter chicken: possibly the most commonly ordered Indian dish in the western world. And with a name like that, I'm not surprised.

There is a common misconception, which I almost bought into until I went to the library to do some reading, that ghee, also known as 'clarified butter', is used widely in cooking throughout India. It is not. 

Clarified butter is known as usli ghee. It is made by gently heating unsalted butter until it liquifies. The whitish bits also known as 'milk solids' are carefully strained with cheesecloth leaving behind the golden liquid which is the usli ghee. This "real ghee", is considered a luxury and is most commonly used in cooking in the Punjab region where dairy products feature more prominently in diet.

Usli ghee is also used as a digestion aid, used to relieve rashes and burns and also as used a moisturizer. 

The second type of ghee, which is more frequently used, can be likened to vegetable shortening. It is usually purchased in bulk and contains various vegetable oils which makes it more economical than usli ghee.

Types of cooking oils vary from region to region with the use of coconut oil in the south, mustard oil in the north east and peanut or sesame oil in the north.

Back to the butter chicken. Since I didn't have any usli ghee handy, I simply used a tablespoon of unsalted butter.

I have to say that it was one delicious meal. So delicious in fact that I considered making it two nights in a row and have been having daydreaming about it ever since. Next week I'm going to try the same recipe with prawns.

Continue reading "Warm Yourself with a Bowl of Butter Chicken" »

06 May 2008

Thai Red Curry Mussels


I made these mussels a few nights ago with my homemade red curry paste.

The alchemy of the fragrant curry paste, coconut milk and the sweet, salty mussel liquor stimulated all of my senses.

This recipe was very simple to make. It was just a case of heating up the curry paste in a saucepan, adding coconut milk, bringing it to a simmer and then popping in the mussels, which took about five minutes to cook.

Even if you don't make your own curry paste, you can just substitute a commercial brand which will still be good. However, as I said in my last post, once you do make your own, you'll never look back!

Continue reading "Thai Red Curry Mussels" »

01 May 2008

Homemade red curry paste: I'll never go back


In my recent Thai Green Curry post, I was ashamed to admit that even though I'm half Thai, I had never attempted to make my own curry paste.

Well I finally did it and now I'm left wondering why I didn't try it earlier. The result was quite spectacular and I'm not sure I'll be able to eat the store-bought paste again.

It wasn't the easiest thing to do however that being said, it also wasn't too laborious. I even used my small mortar and pestle to do the job. As you can see in the photo above there are still some small flecks of chili which didn't grind down but it was fine.

It took me about 40 minutes to make the paste. I had to wear my ski goggles during the pounding so as not to get blinded by the juice of 15 or so chilis.  I highly recommend this. Wear sunglasses if you have to.

Ok, let's start with the smell. It was intoxicating. The pulverizing of the Makrut lime skin, lemongrass and galangal with shallots and a mixture of dried and fresh red chilis, released the most incredible, pungent aroma.

Now just to give you a quick run down on some of the ingredients, a Makrut lime is recognisable by its knobbly skin. It has a lovely fragrance, similar to that of a grapefruit. Galangal is a rhizome, similar to ginger, however it has a much sweeter aroma. Asian shallots are small and red with brown skin. For this recipe only the white part of the lemongrass is used as this is the most fragrant and fresh part.

Continue reading "Homemade red curry paste: I'll never go back" »

19 April 2008

Thai Green Curry


One of my goals for 2008 is to start making my own curry paste. I'm embarrassed to say that I've never attempted to do so.  I think it's a combination of not having a large enough mortar and pestle and also just being lazy.

Until I do so, I'll continue to use the excellent Namjai brand green curry paste.

When making a green curry, it is important to try to use Thai sweet basil (pictured below) as it imparts a distinct aniseed-like aroma into the curry. The basil is recognisable by its purple stem and flowers.


I also add Thai green peppercorns (Prik Thai), which add a sharp bite to the fragant flavours. The next ingredient is a small Thai eggplant called  Ma-kheua Phraw. Even though it soaks up the flavour of the curry, it's still quite bitter but delicious nonetheless. If I can't find any of these little eggplants I usually just substitute them with the large purple variety.

I usually use chicken, however pork, white fish or prawns work really well in this dish.

The curry can be served with rice, although I usually eat it with rice noodles which are readily available in Asian food stores.

Continue reading "Thai Green Curry" »

07 November 2007

Thai Red Duck Curry


I recently made this Thai Red Duck Curry to warm us up on a chilly Sunday evening. I always think duck meat is best complimented with something sweet like plums, honey or, as in this case, lychees and pineapple. These fruits really add layers of flavour to the curry. Canned lychees are ok for this recipe but it is important to use fresh pineapple to take full advantage of its tropical tartness. Canned pineapple doesn't work because its sweetness isn't balanced by any acidity.

It is also really important to try and use Thai Basil in this recipe as it has a stronger flavour than other sweet basils and a faint licorice essence.   

I kind of cheated with the duck. I didn't cook it myself. Why bother when Chinatown is five minutes away with hundreds of freshly barbecued ducks for sale!

This week I will submit this recipe to Weekend Herb Blogging which is being hosted this week by The Expatriate Chef from The Expatriate's Kitchen


Continue reading "Thai Red Duck Curry" »

06 July 2007

Southern Indian Coconut Fish Curry


Last night fish curry was on the menu. It was a coconut based curry which is a common ingredient in Southern Indian dishes.  It was a hit. The subtle sweetness of the trout was perfect with the tangy sweetness of the tamarind coconut broth.


Southern Indian Coconut Fish Curry Recipe
(Serves 4)

2 small Trouts
2 tbs Vegetable Oil
3 Garlic cloves
4 cm Piece of Ginger
1 tsp Coriander Powder
1 tsp Tumeric
1 tsp Chili Powder
1 tsp Cumin Powder
1 tsp Sea Salt
1 Onion
1 1/2 large Vine Tomatoes
1 can Coconut Milk
2 tsp Tamarind Pulp or 1 tsp Tamarind Paste
2 Green Chilis
A handful of Coriander for garnish


  1. Skin the Trout and cut it in to chunks about 3-4 cm wide. The 'chunks' will be thin but make sure the pieces are wide. I am lucky enough to have a personal fish filleter and skinner. Thank you Nic. You can leave a little skin on if you want but not too much as the curry will become too rich.
  2. If you are using fresh Tamarind, peel it and place the fruit it in a small bowl of warm water. Massage the flesh into the water with your fingers until you get most of it off the seeds. Set aside to soak.
  3. Dice the onion.
  4. Deseed the tomatoes and dice.
  5. Crush 3 garlic cloves with a pestle and mortar to a paste.
  6. Grate the ginger finely. Place in a bowl with the garlic.
  7. Heat up 2 tbs of oil in a pot and add the onion. Fry until translucent on a medium heat. Add the ginger and garlic, stir fry for about 2 minutes.
  8. Add spices and lower heat ensuring to stir constantly so the spices don't burn. Add the salt.
  9. Add the tomatoes and stir fry for 5 minutes. Now add the coconut milk and return to a medium heat.
  10. Bring the broth to a boil then add the Tamarind. Lower the heat slightly and add the Trout. Stir gently to coat the fish in the broth.
  11. Turn the heat off and let the curry sit for about 3 minutes. Serve with Basmati rice and garnish with coriander and green chilis sliced lengthways.

    Make sure you wash your hands after slicing the chilis and don't rub your eyes like I did!   


29 June 2007

Thai Beef and Bamboo Shoot Curry


This simple yet always filling Thai red curry consists of ground beef, bamboo shoots and Thai basil. I often plan to make it if I know I am going to be home late and need to whip something up quickly. And in that case, I use canned bamboo shoots instead of fresh ones. To be honest, the canned version taste just as good and manage to retain their fantastic crunch. The beef can be substituted with chicken or pork but I find beef makes it a little more hearty. The recipe is from the comprehensive Thai Table website.

Continue reading "Thai Beef and Bamboo Shoot Curry" »

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