Thai curries


No Thai meal is complete without a curry; here I give you two basic curry sauces – red and green – to which you can add chicken, beef, prawns, fish or tofu and other vegetables. The traditional Thai meal starts with a soup, has a curry dish, a noodle dish and a vegetable. My diet doesn’t really allow me to eat coconut, but when I entertain I like to make a Thai feast…so here goes!

Thai Curries

Red curry paste – enough for a curry for up to 6 people

5-10 large dried red chillies, soaked
pinch salt
4 tbsp chopped lemongrass
6 slices galangal
2 ½ tsp chopped wild ginger (use ordinary if you cant get it)
1 large tsp coriander root
2 ½ tbsp chopped red shallots
2 ½ tbsp chopped garlic
1 teasp roasted coriander seeds


Green curry paste – enough for a curry for up to 6 people

10 green bird’s eye chillies
1 tbsp chopped galangal
1 tbsp chopped wild ginger or ordinary ginger
3 tbsp chopped lemongrass
2 tsp finely minced kaffir lime leaves
1 teasp chopped coriander root, or 10 teasp pounded coriander stems
1 teasp chopped red turmeric
2 tbsp chopped shallots
2 tbsp chopped garlic
1 teasp shrimp paste
1 teasp roasted coriander seeds (optional)
1 tsp white peppercorns (optional)
Ground white pepper and salt

Purists will grind the ingredients, one by one in a pestle and mortar, starting with the chillies – follow the order above; or you can bung everything in a blender and whizz it all to a fragrant pulp. Now I have my Javanese volcanic rock pestle and mortar I have become a purist!

I made this in a tented kitchen on the banks of the Zambezi and cooked the chicken curry on a wood-fired stove! I had to bring some of the ingredients from London!


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