Actually, as I recall, I didn’t really have to do very much wheedling and whining. I think I said, “What do you think about having Thai curry tonight?” and T replied, “Great idea!” and we jumped on our bikes to get chicken.
Along with coconut milk, basil and mint, the Thai curry (green curry) that we’re simulating normally calls for lemongrass and lime leaves. And perhaps curry leaf as well.
For a while, I was nursing a tiny curry leaf plant (Murraya koenigii) but before we could start harvesting the leaves, I’m afraid I managed to murder it (not enough sun?? too much sun??? overwater???? underwatering?????). And now, import laws are preventing the garden centers from stocking curry leaf plants. I’ve tried on a couple of occasions to root curry leaf stalks purchased in Indiatown but – no surprise – they refuse to take root and simply shrivel and rot.
Alas, Kaffir lime plants (along with most citrus trees) cannot be imported either. Sigh. So many things for us to fear!!
Luckily, we can still get limes though. And this is what we add to mimic the flavour of lime leaf.
Lime zest, to be specific. And instead of lemongrass, we use lemon verbena from a large potted plant that spends half the year outside and is now relegated to languish under lights in the basement for the other half year. (Lemongrass IS really easy to root from supermarket lemongrass, but it takes a while before there is enough to harvest. It too has to be brought indoors for the winter but must be kept away from the cat, who loves to eat it.)
The curry also calls for tiny eggplants that look like largish peas. We often throw in a few peas just for looks but forgot. (The peas don’t add all that much flavour; they are just there for looks. Sometimes we add corn niblets as well.)
I love the flavour that eggplant (or aubergine, if you prefer) lends to the curry. I’m really not wild about the giant Italian tough-skinned eggplants though. We usually use the narrower Japanese eggplants with their tender beautifully coloured skin. But on this occasion we had found the most beautiful lovely small round eggplants (each one about the size of a billiard ball) and bought those instead.
We play fast and loose with the basil as well. In the summer, I do try to plant Thai basil but it doesn’t always do very well (lack of sun in our beautifully shady garden). Purple and Genovese basil fare a little better so that is what we generally use.
And because it’s our recipe, we add green beans and red pepper too.
Coconut curry is best served with rice – lots of rice if there are lots of green chillies. Which you definitely want to provide. There can never be enough green chillies!!
Here is our recipe for
Alas, our garden mint has been decimated by a mysterious virus?? creature??? and the basil keeled over and shrivelled as soon as the night temperatures dropped. But surely that doesn’t really mean we can’t have coconut curry until next spring?
Hmmm, there’s LOTS of lemon verbena in the basement and if we use way too much faded-taste storebought greenhouse mint and basil, Thai curry should still be delicious, shouldn’t it?
(The photos of this particular Thai curry have been waiting patiently in their “to be posted” folder since June. Yes, I know it’s October and basil and mint season is long over – but if you were cleverer than I, you froze some of your basil and mint and can use that.)
Because you need to know about this wonderful combination. It’s fabulous. And it goes perfectly with Persian Rice that I hope you’ll be making when you get your copy of the soon to be released BloggerAid Changing the Face of Famine cookbook. There are several other delectable recipes in the cookbook (as an editor, I had the privilege to have some sneak peaks at several recipes).
Please watch for news of the official release of this cookbook and how you can get your own copy. 100% of the profit for the cookbook will go towards the UN’s World Food Program (WFP), specifically school meals.