This past weekend I wanted to make a simple Thai lunch and decided on a Thai green curry with chicken and a side of green papaya salad.
I find that Thai curries are easier to make than they look (well, that is if you don’t attempt to make the curry paste from scratch). The recipe used in this post was adapted from a course I took from Secret Ingredient [yup, the same place as my last post]. It’s a good and easy recipe I stuck with.
The green papaya salad is a recipe I found online a long time ago. Unfortunately, I don’t have the original link anymore. Be warned though, the salad looks easy to make, but in fact it is very time-consuming. The washing, peeling and slicing of all the ingredients takes longer than you think.
I buy my Thai ingredients (lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, Thai eggplants, etc) from a local Thai shop around my area. The ingredients are always fresh (and cheap!) Try to find one of these shops in your area, otherwise you will be stuck with buying expensive packages from CitySuper.
The only other ingredient I always had trouble finding is the green papaya. I’ve looked for them in Wellcome, ParknShop and CitySuper and always failed. I finally figured out you can find them in local wet markets in the veggie stalls. I guess it makes sense because Hongkies would use papaya to make Chinese soup, it’s known for its nourishing properties.
I think both of the recipes I’m sharing in this post aren’t very strict, as you can adjust the spiciness, saltiness or sweetness to your liking or swap out the veggies you don’t like and put in the ones you do. Thai food is all about the balance of sweet, sour, salty and spicy, and the key to a good Thai dish is finding that balance.
Thai Green Curry with Chicken
250g skinless chicken breast or thigh, diced
2-3 tbsp green curry paste* (2 for milder curry and 3 for spicier)
3 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 lemongrass stick
5 kaffir lime leaves
1 small piece galangal
6-8 baby corn
handful of snow peas
6 Thai eggplants
3 tbsp olive oil
400mL coconut milk
4 sprigs of coriander
Wash and cook the rice with your preferred method.
With the back of your knife, crush the lemongrass. Cut the galangal into 3 thin slices and crush the kaffir lime leaves with your hands.
Quarter or halve the eggplants, depending on the size. Remove the ends of the snow peas.
On high heat, add the olive oil to a large saucepan and heat for a minute. Then add the green curry paste, lemongrass, lime leaves and galangal and stir fry until fragrant, for about 30 seconds.
Add the chicken breast into the curry paste mixture and sear off for 2 minutes.
Add the coconut milk and water to the chicken. When the curry comes to a boil, add the baby corn and turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer for 10 mins. Add the eggplant at 5 mins and continue to simmer.
Add the salt and taste the curry and adjust the taste to your liking. Add the snow peas and cook for a minute and take off the heat.
Garnish with coriander and serve with rice.
*I use the Mae Ploy green curry paste
Green Papaya Salad
1 green papaya
1 red capsicum
3 stalks of green onion, thinly sliced
3 springs coriander, finely chopped
1 garlic, minced
1 red chili, diced
1/4 cup lime juice
3 tbsp fish sauce
2 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
Combine and whisk all the ingredients together for the salad dressing. Remove most of the chili seeds if you don’t want the salad too spicy.
Peel the green papaya skin, cut it in half and de-seed with a spoon. Julienne the green papaya (I use a hand-held Julienne slicer, you can use a peeler for thin ribbon-like slices or you can use any type of grater). Cut the cucumber into 4″ long match sticks. Thinly slice the capsicum.
Mix together the green papaya, cucumber, capsicum, green onions and coriander. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss well to combine.
You can also add in bean sprouts and chopped peanuts (I couldn’t get these 2 ingredients, so I just made do without them).