Favorite Thai Dishes and Coconut Milk
According to a survey (see source 1) conducted by the Thai National Cultural Commission of 1,000 Thai restaurants around the world the top 5 favorite Thai dishes of customers are: 1) Tom Yam Kung; 2) Green Curry; 3) Phad Thai (fried noodles); 4) Phat Kraphao (meat fried with sweet basil); and 5) Kaeng Phet Pet Yang (roast duck).
Green curry (kaeng khiao wan) is a great dish that combines spice, aroma and the rich taste of coconut milk. It is great for a dinner party or when you have to cook for others. It is probably no accident that the first and second most popular Thai dishes use coconut milk. The taste of coconut milk is synonymous for many with Thai cuisine. If you have any doubts about whether coconut milk makes you fat you should look at the generally slim and healthy physiques of Thai people. Many Thais drink and smoke and don’t go down the gym and yet they don’t gain pounds and pounds of weight. It is not despite of the saturated fat in coconut milk but because of the coconut milk and coconut oil in their diet that they remain slim.
The secret to cooking great Thai curry is getting the best ingredients and making the curry paste fresh. Ideally you need fresh lemon grass and cilantro. If you can’t get fresh coconut milk then Thai kitchen Pure Coconut Milk is recommended.
If you cannot find cilantro then fresh coriander is a possible substitute.
Ingredients for Green Curry Paste:
4 small green chilies
1 onion/shallot, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 thumb-size piece galangal or ginger, grated
1 stalk fresh minced lemongrass or 3 tsp. frozen or bottled lemongrass
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
3/4 to 1 tsp. shrimp paste
1 (loose) cup fresh cilantro leaves and stems, chopped
1/2 tsp. ground white pepper
3 tsp. fish sauce
1 tsp. brown sugar
2 tsp. lime juice
About 0.7 kg boneless chicken thigh or breast, cut into chunks
1 can of coconut milk
4 kaffir lime leaves
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into chunks
1 zucchini or eggplant, sliced lengthwise several times, then cut into chunks
2 tsp. coconut oil
Instead of the kaffir leaves it’s possible to use 1 tablespoon of grated lime zest. To prepare lemon grass for the paste you need to cut away the leaves and central stem and cut the remaining part into thin strips
Directions for cooking Thai Green Curry with coconut milk
First put all the ingredients for the curry paste into a food blender and turn into a paste. A small amount of coconut milk can be added if moisture is needed to make the ingredients into a paste.
Heat a wok with coconut oil in it then add green curry paste and cook for a few seconds to release the fragrance. Then add coconut milk and chicken chunks. Reduce heat to simmer and cook until chicken is tender.
Next add the red pepper, the zucchini and the lime leaf (or zest). And cook for another 2 or 3 minutes until the vegetables are soft.
Finally try and add sugar, salt and fish sauce to taste. If too hot then more coconut milk can be added. It is also a nice final touch to add fresh basil before serving. Serve green curry in a bowl with Thai rice on the side. That should be an authentic Thai green curry taste that is perfect for dinner parties at home. The easiest vegetarian option is to substitute the chicken for tofu. The ingredients given above should feed 4 people.