Thai Green Curry with Apple Eggplants, Tofu and Chicken – Cucumber and Cabbage Salad

Green Curry-Chicken3

It’s Thai dinner night again and I love it. The rest of the family, especially the kiddos, not so much. No matter, I’m craving a rich spicy coconut based curry with tons of flavor and that’s what I made. A refreshing crunchy tart Thai salad is always a must to balance the meal.

Green Curry2

Making the curry paste using a pestle and mortar is cool, almost therapeutic but also time consuming. This was a weekday meal at our household though. So, as I frequently do, I reached out for my blender and used that to make a smooth green curry paste. I used a recipe in David Thompson’s Thai Food as a base and made this one with cilantro, stems and leaves, galangal, chilies, lemongrass, fresh turmeric, ginger along with a few spices.

Green Curry3

Green Curry-Chicken

I heated up some coconut cream (I’ve been using Arroy-D brand recently) and used that to cook the paste  for a few minutes. I added coconut milk and tossed in chicken thigh pieces and cubed tofu. Thai apple eggplant are cool looking fruit. They are about the size of a golf ball and have a wild green striped color. They are also, as far as I know, the only eggplant that is good to eat raw or under-cooked. They have a nice crunchy texture and mild taste with no bitterness. I added the quartered eggplants in the last 10 minutes or so of cooking to get them heated and slightly cooked. Lastly I put in a bunch of Thai basil and finished seasoning the delicious stew with fish sauce and lime juice.

Green Curry

I made the Thai-style cabbage salad in the granite mortar by pounding some garlic with salt, peanuts, lime and fish sauce. I added the cabbage and bruised the whole thing together. Lastly went in the cucumbers pieces and using a spoon and the pestle everything came together with some fish sauce, lime and cilantro.

Thai Cabbage Salad

Thai Cabbage Salad2

Green Curry-Chicken2

Sancocho de Pescado: Colombian Seafood and Coconut Stew

 

Fish and shellfish stews or soups are a feature in almost every culture that has access to water critters. You can find them in Europe, the Middle East, Far East, North America and of course South America. Many of those are very popular, like French Bouillabaisse but others are much less known. Take this Colombian version of the seafood stew called Sancocho de Pescado. It is common in coastal regions of Colombia and is fantastic and different. It’s made from a base of guiso and a seafood stock. It’s enriched with coconut milk and made very substantial with yuca (cassava) root, yam and plantains. If all that starch is not enough, it is of course served with rice and a good dose of aji (a mix of cilantro, chillies, green onions and lime).

The choice of seafood can vary of course. The basic recipe I used for this one is from a Colombian cookbook and it uses bone in fish steaks. If the Spanish to English translation in the book is semi-accurate, the recipe actually asks for shad fish steaks. I used thick grouper fillets instead and shrimp. The first base to this soup is to make the fish stock using fried shrimp shells and if possible fried fish bones. This makes a very flavorful and rich stock. The other key to success is to make a good Colombian guiso which is a mixture of slowly cooked red onions, green onions, tomatoes, garlic and is spiced with chillies and annatto powder, This stuff makes everything taste better.