in favour of curry

16 02 2010

These summer days are whizzing past and I am grasping the tail end of each to make sure I have at least one mindful moment of reflection. Sometimes, it’s a fleeting summary of the daily events – noting what went well and what collapsed in a dreadful display of ineptitude.  Other days, such as yesterday, taking many opportunities to deliberately create, interact, laugh, consider, talk and decide, all with a deep sense of gratitude for my blessings.

After a busy morning of tennis and sailing, Zuzu and I went to the market to choose  some exotic Thai ingredients for our Vegetarian Red Curry. I had already done a quick google search for a red curry paste  recipe as there is shrimp in the store-bought jars. There are many curry paste styles and combinations but I identified some common ingredients in the recipes I looked at : galangal, lemon-grass, kaffir lime leaves, fresh chillies and garlic. I deliberately did not search for Red Curry recipes as my vision and my memory of  Thursday’s lunch was still fresh and I really wanted to see if Zuzu and I could create a comparable dish.

Zuzu and I spent the rest of the afternoon in peels of laughter. She is hilarious and I have moments of stunned disbelief that this beautiful, poised and intelligent young woman is  the same chewy cheeked curly top that used to dance in my arms to “Love for Sale”,

and the same curious and adventurous little  4 year old who back-packed around Europe  with me for 4 months, staying in Auberges and illustrating  our story of ” The Travels of the Queen and her  Princess”.

At 12 years old, she has such style and confidence; gentleness and innocence; kindness and sensitivity; wit and humour and above all – an  abundance of joy.  I love spending my days with her.

Around 5pm we began our task in earnest.

The first step was to make the curry paste. It was a simple matter of dicing, slicing and grinding ingredients as follows:

3 seeded red-hot chilis, 1 small onion (or shallot), 4 cloves of garlic (because I like garlic), 2 Tbsp lemongrass, 1 kaffir lime leaf (or 1 small lime rind), 1  Tbsp galangal (or ginger), 1 Tbsp tamari sauce (or soy sauce), 1 Tbsp coriander leaves (or parsley), 1 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp brown sugar, ½ tsp chili  powder, juice of  ½ lime, salt and pepper.

We used a stick blender but a mortar and pestle would work very well.  Zuzu liked it so much, she called it salsa and ate some on rice    crackers. It was a bit spicy for me to eat fresh from the bowl.

We wanted to include puffed tofu in the curry but didn’t fancy the idea of deep-frying it and collecting all that oil. Instead,  Zuzu cut the tofu into cubes and placed them on a parchment covered baking tray. We baked them for about 30 minutes at 200°C, turning as they browned, and they puffed up beautifully.


The next step could not be easier. Dice, chop and slice a selection of vegetables that tickle your fancy.  We chose:  potatoes, zucchini, red peppers, cauliflower florets, thinly sliced carrot slithers and mushrooms. After sautéing the quartered mushrooms, sliced zucchini and the diced par-boiled potatoes in a little chili rice bran oil, Zuzu added the red curry paste and a 400 g can of light coconut milk followed by the red peppers and cauliflower florets and finally the puffed tofu, which we cut in half to allow better absorption of the sauce.

Stirring gently from time to time, she let the flavours combine and the scent was enticing. The curry simmered for about 20 minutes to allow the sauce to thicken  and with a sprinkle of coriander, it was done. Zuzu declined the brown rice accompaniment but I spooned my curry into a small rice nest. Three bowls later we were both very satisfied with our Thai dinner and determined to experiment with some other traditional flavours.


That evening, with Zuzu tucked up in bed, I sat quietly and cherished the memories of the day.

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19 06 2010
Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and cauldron bubble… « telling d'tales

[…] and  ’the particulars’.  Tonight, though, I intend to make a version of my Thai Red Curry. It is a one cauldron dish, with the exception of the baked tofu, and I can play out my Macbeth […]

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