Food is as much a journey as much as it is meant to nourish. The more that we live in Toronto, the more I love to learn about food and culture. This recipe may not be the easiest or quickest, but I feel like there is definitely something worthwhile in getting out and exploring your city wherever you live, and it can be rewarding and fun to push yourself outside of your culinary comfort zone.
I’ve always been interested in incorporating ethnic flavours into my cooking. I love my parents, but coming from an Anglo-Saxon background, we ate alot of meals that were protein-starch-vegetables. Chicken, green beans, roast potatoes. Sausages, corn, coleslaw. Meatloaf, broccoli, mashed potatoes. You get the deal.
Not complaining at all because my mom is a great cook, and as she’s grown older she has started to experiment herself with different flavours, introducing stir fries, Indian-inspired cuisine and more to the house. My dad wasn’t such a big fan of anything less than traditional, but the rest of us loved it when my mom tried something new.
When I moved to Toronto, I had the chance to try so many different kinds of food, and this has influenced my own cooking style immensely. One of my favourite dishes since moving to the big city has always been a savoury, spicy Thai Green Curry chicken. I’m also a big fan of red curry beef. I’ve bought the store bought pastes too many times to count, and always seem to be let down by the lack of authentic flavour.
When Jax Coco offered us some delicious, authentically coconut-tasting oil to make a recipe with, I knew right away that I had to get the flavours right this time. And honestly, these red and green curry paste recipes are worth a trip to an Asian market. You get to go out and explore a new shopping destination, and it’s an adventure to look for ingredients you don’t often see in a regular supermarket.
When I was researching how to make curry paste, I saw that the key ingredients common in Thai curry pastes are galangal (a member of the ginger family), kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass stalks, shallots, garlic, coriander seeds, shrimp paste and chiles. I’ve tried to make this curry paste as simple as possible, and requiring the least amount of foreign ingredients. The galangal can be substituted with ginger if necessary, and I didn’t notice a huge difference in taste by adding the shrimp paste. The kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass are the integral flavours of the green curry paste, and turmeric root is also helpful in creating the red curry, though dried will do.
Hopefully you find this recipe as less cumbersome as possible, and get out there and explore a new way of cooking! I can’t stress enough how worth it these homemade curry pastes are, and how they really are 10x better than the store-bought stuff. If you really want to recreate authentic Thai takeout at home, this is your best bet!