One of my favorite (OK my favorite) thing to eat at Thai restaurants is Chicken Red Curry. For those of you that are afraid of "curry" I have one thing to say - Curry's not a spice! What goes into Thai Red Curry is
- red chillies
- galanga (or sometimes fresh ginger)
- palm sugar
- lemon grass
- shrimp paste
- lime peel
- ground pepper.
There's nothing in there too weird and I assure you it won't make you gag or want to hurl (both actual quotes from people who don't know what curry is but insists that it causes adverse bodily reactions).
Anyway I've been looking for a certain brand of red curry paste which would save me a bunch of time cooking Thai Red Curry and after going to just about every Asian grocery in the area I finally found it at Ranch 99 market in Shoreline. It's Mae Ploy Red Curry Paste and I think it's a head above the others. I narrowed my search to this one because I peaked into the open kitchen of 123 Thai in Port Townsend and saw them using this. Granted they don't just use it straight like an Italian chef won't use only tomatoes out of a can without doctering them up first but at least I will get closer without creating the curry paste myself.
To the Red Curry paste I added more palm sugar and Thai Basil (NOT Italian basil, these are not interchangable!), coconut milk, sweet red peppers, water chestnuts, bamboo shoots and chicken. The rice is straight Jasmine rice cooked in the rice cooker. I think the flavor is fairly close but in the future I'll be experimenting with more galangal.. I added 4 cups of coconut milk and I think I've settled on Arroy-D as my preferred brand of that as well. I've used some other stuff (Chaokoh) but I ton't like it nearly as much.