When Kadra was turning five, I asked her what she wanted for her birthday dinner. She replied immediately and very firmly that her hearts’ desire was “chocolate cake with chocolate icing and chocolate kisses on top, chocolate ice cream and some chocolate milk.” Do you see a theme emerging there? Her mothers’ daughter for sure. So her birthday arrived and I served chocolate cake with chocolate icing with chocolate kisses on top, chocolate ice cream along with some chocolate milk to wash it all down. Kadra dug in. After a moment she looked up at me with a look of utter bliss in her eyes, sighed and said, “Oh Mom, I L-O-V-E chocolate!” The years have passed and she still loves chocolate but she has expanded her repertoire. She now loves Thai food with an almost equal passion. I asked her to do a “guest spot” on my blog about her search for the perfect Thai curry. She agreed and, without further ado from her mother (who loves her very much,) here it is.
I have been searching for YEARS! for a curry recipe that tastes like the ones in the restaurants. You know, how you just can’t get enough of it, how you continue to shovel it into your mouth even after you’re full because it’s so dang delicious? Yeah.
I would try a recipe I’d find online, trying to replicate this deliciousness, and it wouldn’t quite be it. There was *something* missing. I’d try a different recipe, hopeful that this one contained the secret ingredient. “Ooh, maybe it’s fish sauce! Nope. Or maybe ginger! Nope, that wasn’t it, either…” I was beginning to think that the secret ingredient was indeed, Crack Cocaine. Well, I am so excited, I finally found the secret ingredient, and it’s not illegal, it’s… palm sugar! Palm sugar is made from the sap of the sago and coconut palms. You should be able to find it at your local Asian grocery (Here in sunny Portland, Oregon they have it at “Uwajimaya”.) It is sold here either in hard disks, or a softer version in a jar. Either one is fine- The “jarred” stuff is softer and can be easily scooped out, the disks can just be dissolved in the boiling mixture. This is a favorite around our house- we have it every 2 weeks or so, and often serve it to guests. I included some prices for fun, it’s a pleasingly inexpensive, quick and easy dish to make. This is just the basic red curry recipe, add meat, fruits, and veggies as you like. We like it with green beans, pineapple (which I will dump in from the can, juice and all), and tomatoes. Carne Asada soaks up the curry taste quite well, too. Ahem…
Crack Cocaine Thai Curry
-3 tablespoons olive oil
-(1) 114g can Mae Ploy red curry paste (“cat-food sized” can- 69 cents!) (note from Mom: I couldn’t find any red curry paste in anything resembling a cat food can. I ended up using half of a 4 oz. jar)
-(1) 400mL can (13.5 fl. oz.) coconut milk ($1)-“1/2 a cocnut milk can full” of water
-2 tbs. palm sugar (2 bucks for a jar) (another note from Mom: I had a hard time finding this – finally found it in a 1 lb bag and it was dry – what Kadra used was kind of moist. So I added 3 Tbsp instead of 2)
-2 tsp. fish sauce
(P.S. Add your fruits, meats, and veggies, just whenever it seems to make sense) Heat the oil in a saucepan. Saute the red curry paste until it starts to heat through. Add coconut milk & water and bring the curry to a boil. Add the fish sauce and palm sugar, stir until the palm sugar is dissolved. Serve with rice (serves 4). Bon Appetit!