Thursday, February 3, 2011

curry comfort

What is comfort food? Something I want to eat again and again. It doesn't matter if I had it yesterday, I could go for it again today. That to me is comfort food. It should have a taste that I never get tired of, it should put me in a mindset that's relaxed, content, satisfied.

Curry is one of my comfort foods. It's really not that hard to make. Just a couple of times to figure out how to get your blender to work the way you want it. Above are most of the ingredients that go into my interpretation of a thai red curry paste. On the plate in front are garlic, ginger (when I can't find galangal), lemongrass and cut up kafir lime leaves. Fresh green chillies, onion, in the mortar coriander and cumin seeds freshly roasted in a pan. Then I add paprika, soy sauce, some lime juice and some crushed dried chillies. I then put a bit of olive oil just to help it bind in the blender.

The resulting paste is the base of flavour in your curry. You should experiment with quantities and perhaps other ingredients until you get the flavour that works for you. I have an intuitive sense for these things and, more importantly, I taste as i go along... or smell in this case, because the paste is quite pungent.

This paste goes well with everything. Today's selection was a purely vegan affair. Zucchini, carrots, sweet peppers, diced potatoes...

As with any kind of curry you're making, the paste goes in the pan until it dehydrates a bit and the aromas are released. Then the vegetables go in and are mixed with the paste for a few minutes before pouring in coconut milk. As it cooks, taste and adjust. I usually put in a tablespoon or so of brown sugar. It works really well in contributing to the sense of harmony in the dish: salty, hot, spicy, aromatic, slightly sweet... Sometimes you need to add a couple of stalks of lemongrass to add more of that flavour - just break up the stalks without tearing them apart and let them seep in the stock while cooking. When the vegetables - or whatever else you're cooking - are done, then the curry is done. Serve with or over rice and enjoy.

This one's about the flavour!

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