I love this curry so much, I carefully ration the number of times I make it.
I never, ever want to run the risk of familiarity breeding contempt.
It’s superb. It’s damn near perfect. It has everything.
Creamy, but not tongue-coatingly, overpoweringly so. Fragrant, delicate, even, but still able to accommodate earthy, saltiness, as well as find a balance between coconut sweetness and a sour, citrus acidic bite.
Factor in a chilli punch that could stun a yeti and de-coke a submarine engine, and you have a sublime taste experience, one that was encouraged out of a few, simple ingredients.
The key to success here is the quality of the principal ingredients, namely the curry paste, fish sauce, lemon grass, and kaffir lime leaves. You could source the best vegetables available to humanity, prepare them with great care and skill, but if you serve them in a second-rate sauce, you might as well not have bothered.
Buy from your local friendly neighbourhood Asian supermarket or grocer. The chances are you will be paying a competitive price for vastly superior produce. Make sure you buy fresh lemon grass. That stuff that comes in jars is awful by comparison.
I buy frozen fresh kaffir lime leaves. The dried ones are OK, but the freshly frozen ones win every time. See my notes below regarding fish sauce and curry paste.
Thai Green Vegetable Curry
- 5 spring onions (scallions)
- 3 tsp Thai green curry paste – see Notes
- 1 400ml can of coconut milk
- 5 kaffir lime leaves
- 3 stalks of lemon grass, cut into thirds, and lightly bruised
- a handful of Shiitake mushrooms, wiped clean
- a handful of oyster mushrooms, wiped clean
- 10 green asparagus spears
- 1 green bell pepper
- coconut oil
- 2 tbsp fish sauce – see Notes
- 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
- Separate the spring onion whites from the greens. Thinly slice both. Set aside.
- Trim the stalks of the mushrooms. If the oyster mushrooms are large, slice them in half along their length.
- De-seed and thinly slice the green pepper. Set aside.
- Trim the stalks of the asparagus by the “snap” method. Steam the trimmed asparagus spears vigorously until just tender, about 5 minutes or so. Refresh under running cold water, then set aside to drain.
- Heat about 2 tbsp of coconut oil in a non-stick wok over medium heat. Add the green curry paste, and stir fry for 1 minute. Add the spring onion whites and sliced green peppers, and continue to stir fry for a further 3 minutes.
- Add the coconut milk to the wok. Stir well, and bring up to a low simmer. Add the kaffir lime leaves and the lemon grass. Return to a simmer, and continue to cook for about 10 minutes or so.
- Add the prepared mushrooms to the wok. Stir well and cook for 2 minutes.
- Add the asparagus, fish sauce, and lime juice to the wok. Stir well, and cook for 1 minute more.
- Remove the wok from the heat. Garnish the curry with the spring onion greens. Serve.
Some like it hot, Clan Paleovirtus included. If you are less of a chilli-head, consider dropping the amount of green curry paste down as far as the 1 tsp level.
To make the dish truly Paleo, get hold of fish sauce that contains fish, water, and salt. You’re probably best looking in an Asian store for genuine Thai fish sauce, although if you’re in Britain Tesco’s own fish sauce fits the bill. I currently use Thanh Ha Phu Quoc.
Similarly, your green curry paste shouldn’t come full of sugar and other associated nasties. I currently use Mae Ploy brand, which contains green chilli, lemon grass, garlic, salt, galangal, shrimp paste (shrimp and salt), kaffir lime peel, coriander seed, pepper, cumin, and turmeric.