Hello! Whisk Like a Motherfucker is here with a righteous technique used here to make a flavoring paste for an Indian daal but let me tell you friends, this is also the manner in which you make a Thai curry paste and I’ll tell you how to do that too (if you want to shop for the ingredients). I’ll even unlock the secrets to the different colors of Thai curry pastes. But first, check out my mise en place. That’s right! Oh, you think it’s a mess. Well don’t sleaze on my mise!
2 cups lentils
1 big knob ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1 small onion, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1 or more chili peppers of your choice (we used 1 Inferno pepper from our garden)
1 small can of coconut milk (or half of a larger can) NOT the low-fat stuff
1 small can of tomato paste
2 Tbsp of cumin powder or to taste
1 tsp of cinnamon powder
1/2 tsp clove powder OR 2 whole cloves
1/2 tsp ground cardamom or more to taste
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper or to taste (MORE you wussies!)
1/2 tsp ground black pepper or more to taste
salt to taste
Step 1 of this dish is not pictured here. You must start to cook 2 cups of lentils of your color choice on the stove.In a big pot. With some salt. The red ones might get a bit mushy. My favorite are horse gram (really a kind of tiny pea) but they take forever to cook, even with soaking so I used brown lentils. We’ll be adding ingredients to the cooking lentils as we go and they’ll cook down.
Step 2 is to take your onion, ginger, chili, and garlic and put it in a food processor or an AWESOME MINI FOOD PROCESSOR if you own one (because it is perfect for things like this) and grind them into a chunky watery paste. See below:
Step 3: Heat a small saucepan over medium-high heat and cook the flavoring paste until golden and most of its liquid has evaporated. See below:
Step 4: Add the flavoring paste to the lentils along with the tomato paste and coconut milk and allow it the mixture to cook down. Add more water if necessary. Lentils should be falling apart and creating their own “gravy”. Approximately 15-20min
Serve over rice or injera.
To transform the idea of the flavoring paste into a Thai curry you have to change out some of the ingredients.
Always found in a curry paste:
-galangal, chopped (a relative of ginger, looks like ginger, smells more citrusy, MUCH harder to cut, find at an Asian grocery)
-kaffir lime leaves (find at an Asian grocery, if you can’t find substitute with lime peel)
– cilantro, leaves and stems/roots
– shallots (sub white onion)
– toasted coriander pods, white pepper pods, cumin pods all ground together
– soy sauce (fish sauce would be traditional here but not if you’re vegetarian)
Curry color variations:
Green Curry: fresh green Thai Bird Chilis and lots of cilantro
Red Curry: dried red chilies and less cilantro
Yellow Curry: curry with the addition of tumeric powder
Massman Curry: curry made with the addition of a nut butter. This curry typically includes potatoes!
Panang Curry: a mild red curry
1) Place ingredients from the main curry and your color curry in a food processor and turn on machine. Stream in a small amount of water until the machine starts to grind well. Let machine work, stopping every few minutes to scrape down the sides. Allow to process until a paste forms. This makes enough for 2 batches of curry.
2) Heat a can of coconut milk in a saucepan on the stove, add half of your paste, mix with a fork, and bring to a simmer for a few minutes. Use to sauce a stirfry of your choice and it will be AWESOME. YEAH.
Don’t rub your eyes when doing any of this.