… it seems i’m a little obsessed with the slow-cooker so I thought i’d set it aside for a moment and have a go at actual cooking today, although to be honest this curry could have been made just as easily in the slow-cooker but sometimes the thing about creating your own curries is the culinary elegance of toasting spices and frying onions and this depth of flavour creates such an incredibly intense base for a curry which you simply cannot create short-hand… for some reason I seem to have an awful lot of tired looking vegetables in the fridge this week. I think that because we’ve been up and down between Belleau and London a lot recently I tend to panic buy when I get the chance to go to the supermarket and the vegetables get part-used and then tend to either languish in the fridge or travel up and down the A1 with us. The point is, it’s no life for a carrot but I hate throwing stuff out so a strongly flavoured curry seems to be a great way to use them up and makes a dying wish for a turnip come true.
tired vegetable thai coconut curry
whilst i’ve found the gorgeous Whole Foods pastes and sauces really easy and stress-free for a quick meal, I do love experimenting with spices and I adore making my own… it’s a great way to use up store cupboard spices and if you want your home to have that glorious aroma of toasted spices there is nothing that compares to making your own and to be honest, it really isn’t that complicated, it’s just a long list of spices a frying pan and a whizzer… the recipe is my take on the classic massaman curry paste which is quite strong but the addition of the coconut milk makes it creamier and mellower… and yes I do realise this is another stew with lentils but i’m really trying to eat less meat but still make some nice hearty, filling and warming meals and this just hit the spot so perfectly.
for the thai paste
15 dried chopped red chillies
1 tbsp coriander seeds, ground
1 tsp cumin seeds, ground
1 stick cinnamon, ground
3 cloves, ground
4 peppercorns, ground
4 tbsp garlic, chopped
4 tbsp shallots, chopped
1 – 2 sticks lemongrass, chopped
1 tsp galangal root, chopped
1 tsp vegetarian worcester sauce (or soy sauce if you can’t find)
1/2 pint of good quality veg stock
4 tablespoons thai curry paste as made above
then add add all the other paste ingredients and grind or blitz to a fine paste which you can now use or store in the fridge for up to a month – again, this takes seconds in a processor.
to make the curry I use a large casserole pot with a lid that can be used on the hob and in the oven and I start by gently melting a little butter and olive oil then sautéing the onions for about 5 mins till they become translucent, then turn up the heat, add a tablespoon of the paste and let it bubble away with the onions unit they begin to catch a little
turn down the heat to low, add the rest of the veg, stir and pop the lid on for about 8 mins for the veg to sweat. Once the veg starts to soften, add the tinned tomatoes, coconut milk, stock, lentils and 2 or 3 more tablespoons of curry paste depending on how strong a flavour you want, then pop the lid back on and either let it simmer away on very low for about 45 mins or in the oven on 160C