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Thai Jungle Curry Paste
This Thai curry is unlike many of the Thai curries that you probably have eaten. This curry contains no coconut milk and has a soupy consistency which is typical of Northern Thailand curries. They are meant to be eaten with rice, especially sticky rice which is steamed over water in a handwoven bamboo bcone shaped basket. The bamboo lends a lovely fragrance and taste to the rice.
Why doesn't Northern style curry contain coconut milk like most Thai curries? There aren't any coconut trees in Northern Thailand!
Jungle curry is what is called a country-style curry that is prepared with what ever is found in the area. Often this includes frog and snakes from the rice paddies, or flying squirrels, wild boar, pheasants, wild fowl, monkeys, gibbons, and several species of birds. In Western restaurants Jungle curry is most often made using pork or chicken.
In the early morning markets you will see rows of freshly caught birds, and an assortment of small 4-legged creatures from the jungles. These are popular to use for Jungle Curry. Sort of the epitome of "mystery meat".
I love using wild boar when it is available and even frog or duck in my Jungle Curry which I buy at 99 Ranch, a Southern California based Asian grocery store chain. These stores are huge and awesome! Check if they have one in your area as they are a terrific source for everything from Asian noodles to a plethora of vegetables and meats both fresh and frozen. Stores are located in California, Washington, Neveda and Texas.
Store locator link: http://www.99ranch.com/store_locator_1.php
1 1/2 Tabs small fresh green Thai Bird chiles, chopped (Phrik Kee Nue)
4 shallots, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 stalk lemongrass, finely sliced, outer hard leaves removed
1 Tabs kapi (shrimp paste), roasted, toasted in toaster oven on tin foil until fragrant-be sure and open the kitchen window!
1 tsp salt
1 Tabs galangal, peeled and finely sliced (kha)
2 small cilantro roots, sliced (coriander)
1/2 Tabs kaffir lime zest (lime zest can be used)
3 krachai roots, peeled and sliced
10 white peppercorns, ground
Place chiles, shallots, and lemongrass in mortor pound with pestle to a fine paste. Add the kapi, salt, and galangal, cilantro roots, kaffir lime zest, krachai, and peppercorns continue pounding after adding each ingredients until all are incorporated into a fine paste. Set aside. This can be done in a food processor, but the flavour will be a little different as pounding releashes the flavour oils.
In a preheated medium sized saucepan add the oil and swirl to cover the bottom. Add the curry paste and fry until fragrant. Add the meat or fish of choice and turning to all sides to cook. Add the stock and Mekong whiskey, simmer for 2 or 3 minutes until the meat is cooked-IE no longer pink.
Just before serving add the rest of the ingredients including the fish sauce, kaffir lime leaves, etc. Allow these ingredients to simmer and the flavours to meld together. This is a salty and hot dish. Adjust fish sauce to taste.
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