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Green Curry Paste (Phrik Kaeng Kiao Wan)
This is a paste for a green curry, and the 'wan' indicates that it should be a balance of slightly sweet as well as hot.
Green curry is especially nice with pork, but also with seafood as well. Anoither favourite Green Curry is to use a variety of seasonal vegetables. Kabocha (Asian small pumkin) tastes heavenly with green curry, as does any other fall squash. Garnish with ripe red chile flowers for a festive look.
1 cup green birdseye chiles (phrik kee nu)
5 T lemon grass, finely sliced
10 T shallots chopped
10 T garlic, minced
5 T galangal (kha) grated
5 T coriander/cilantro root, chopped
2 T coriander seed
1 T cumin seed
1 T freshly ground black pepper
2 T shredded fresh lime leaves (bai makroot)
4 T fermented shrimp paste (kapi)
1 T palm sugar
If you don't have access to Bird Chiles (phrik ki nu) or Thai Dragon Chiles(Phrik chee fa), you can use 1/2 pound of habanero chiles, or 3/4 pound of serranos, or 1 pound of jalapeno chiles.
Note that if you use a substitute you will get a different volume of paste, and that you will need to use different amounts in subsequent recipes.
If you can't get galangal(kha) use ginger. If you can't get fresh Kaffir Lime leaves (bai makroot) use lime zest If you can't get coriander root, use coriander stems and leaves leaves.
Coarsely chop the chiles. Toast the dry seeds in a heavy iron skillet or wok, and grind them coarsely.
Place the kapi on a piece of double tin foil formed into a little dish. Place this into your toaster oven to develop the fragrance. Open window first as it gives off a very strong aroma. This mellows and develops the proper flavour.
Add all the ingredients to a food processor and process to a smooth paste or pound with mortar and pestle the traditional way.
Place in a glass jar with tight fitting lid and keep in the fridge for at least a week for the flavors to combine and develop before use. This chile paste will keep for several weeks when refrigerated.
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