June 25, 2013

chiang dao :

it's crazy that i was at this same cave a little less than a year ago with rustic pathways.  i never could have anticipated that the month i spent here would turn out to be such a precious part of my life.  doing the work we were asked to do and living in the circumstances that we did often bruised my enthusiasm for being there, but it's a time that i remember with incredible fondness.  that month in thailand turned my clean, convenient world upside down and shoved me onto my knees.  i learned that the reality of life is that it's really hard, but that being grateful for the goodness of your own is what makes a happy person.  it's good to be back here and be reminded of all the little things.  
perhaps the first time i've cooked in my whole life (shhhh) :

you might not be able to get all of these ingredients fresh every time you make this curry, but there's an asian market where i live in provo and i bet there's one near you wherever you are where all of these ingredients can be found, if not at your local grocery store.  

--  2-6 bird eye chillies (green hot chili)
--  1 peeled, chopped shallot
--  4-6 small garlics with skin
--  1/2 tsp chopped galangal (chinese ginger)
--  1 tbsp chopped lemon grass
--  1/2 tsp chopped kaffir lime rind (just the skin)
--  10 black pepper corns
--  1/4 tsp dry coriander seeds 
--  1/4 tsp cumin seeds
--  1 pinch of salt
--  1/4 tamari (or shrimp for non-vegetarians) paste

1)  chop all ingredients as small as possible
2)  throw into a stone mortar and pound until the paste is fine
3) pack tightly into container to store in fridge (for up to 4 months--YEAH) or put directly into the wok

--  1 tbsp of the curry paste you just made
--  1/2 cup coconut cream
--  1and 1/2 cup coconut milk
--  1-2 tbsp any cooking oil
--  1-2 kaffir lime leaf (remove stem and tear leaf in quarters)
--  2 tsp light soy (or fish sauce)
--  1/4 tsp palm sugar
--  1 green egg plant (chopped into bite sized pieces)  mixed with pea egg plant
--  1/4 cup sweet basil leaves
--  2-3 red chili cut into strips

1) fry the curry paste in oil with minimum heat until it starts to smell good--that's obscure, i know.  but you'll know when--at which point add 1 cup of coconut cream and wait until it bubbles a lot.  if you're a meat eater, throw your beef or chicken here.
2) add 2 tsp of light soy and 1/4 tsp palm sugar and stir.  add 1 and 1/2 cup coconut milk and turn up the heat to medium.  when boiling, add egg plant and kaffir lime leaf.  reduce the heat to minimum and leave for about five mins.  add sweet basil leaves and stir a little bit then kill the heat.  
3) remove from heat and add red chillies and any extra coconut cream you may want.
4) MM.  you just made that.  

it seems complicated, but it's not.  you only have to make the curry paste every few months.  so all it is is getting and chopping up all your ingredients beforehand.  it takes about six minutes from beginning to end.  quick and unreal.  try it.