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DigiBites: Chef Charlie Gets All Thai’d Up With A Curry

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Vegetable Curry

A new genre for my 24/680 followers:
During normal times, I teach a very popular Thai Curries class. We make four different curry pastes from scratch and use them as a base for a variety of curry dishes. This will definitely be one of the first classes I will teach after COVID, and I can open my kitchen again.

Chef Charlie

Recently, I prepared a Best of Thai Dishes menu for our meal deliveries. We had great reviews on the food, especially our Vegetable Curry with Mint, which I am happy to share with you today.

Many years ago, I was fortunate to learn the basics of Thai cooking from a very popular, Oakland-based Thai cooking teacher by the name of Kasma Loha-Unchit. I believe she has retired from teaching and her tours of Thailand. I highly recommend her book, It Rains Fishes. It won the 1996 Julia Child Cookbook Award as the Best International Cookbook of 1995.

“More than just a recipe book, it is a book about Thai cooking that shows how food and cooking are a direct means for understanding Thai culture, legends and traditions. Personal and traditional stories interweave with information on all major Thai ingredients. The focus extends beyond blindly following recipes to learning how to use the major flavors to create true ‘Thai’ dishes whether one is following a recipe or not.”

It Rains Fishes, Legends, Traditions and Joys of Thai Cooking, by Kasma Loha-Unchit

I have included a photo of the cover of her book for reference. Although out of print, it is still available – used – online.

I have developed this recipe based on the traditional flavor balance – salty, sweet, spicy and sour – that defines Thai cooking and what I learned from Kasma. I have substituted more commonly available ingredients so you can all easily find, prepare, and enjoy a homemade version of this flavorful curry. I highly recommend using the CHAOKOH brand coconut milk (a favorite of Kasha’s) available at most markets, including Safeway. Avoid “light” or other store brands; the good stuff really makes a difference.

The spice in this dish comes from the curry paste and jalapeño peppers. Use more or less to suit your preference. To my taste, this version is medium spiced.

Have fun cooking and happy eating! – Chef Charlie

Proper ingredients make all the difference in preparing authentic Thai cooking


Vegetable Curry with Mint

1 – 14 ounce can Chaokoh coconut milk (recommended brand)
1/2 cup vegetable stock
1/3 cup soy sauce
1 – 4 ounce jar Thai Kitchen red curry paste (or more to taste)
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 – 4 jalapeño chiles seeded and finely minced
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup broccoli florets
20 green beans
4 medium red potatoes, cut into eighths
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons finely minced fresh ginger
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
1 carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
1 zucchini, trimmed and cut into bite-sized pieces
1 yellow squash, trimmed and cut into bite-sized pieces
12 fresh mint leaves, cut into thin strips
3 limes cut in half

•     Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. In batches, separately blanch the broccoli florets and green beans for 2 minutes each. Remove each to a bowl of cool water. Drain and set aside. In the same cooking water, simmer the potatoes until just knife tender, but not too soft. Strain, and set aside.

•     In a saucepan, heat the coconut milk with the stock, soy sauce, curry paste and brown sugar until heated through.  Taste, adjust flavor balance: salty, sweet, spicy.

•     Heat the vegetable oil in a wok or skillet over medium-high heat. When ready (important to all ingredients ready and available) add the chiles, garlic and ginger and sauté for 20 seconds. Add the onion, celery, carrot, bell peppers and sauté for another 2 – 3 minutes. Add the two squashes, cooked broccoli, green beans and potatoes. Gently fold together cook for another 3 – 4 minutes.

•     Pour the coconut sauce over the vegetables and fold all the ingredients together for until combined.  Simmer for 5 – 6 minutes, folding occasionally until all ingredients are covered with sauce and warmed through.

•     Serve over rice, garnished with fresh mint and fresh squeezed lime.

Serves 4 – 6

© 2013, Epicurean Exchange.  All rights reserved.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Yes. Finally accessed the coconut milk. Making this for dinner and grateful the kids like vegetables!

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