Sunday, 27 July 2014

meatballs with kluski and kapusta

It's now a year since I left the UK to come and work in Bangkok. Sometimes in life you reach a point where you just know a big change or kick up the rear end is needed. You're stuck in a routine or lifestyle that you know isn't what you want for your life and it's time to do something about it. For me that involved marrying my long-term partner then moving half-way across the world to build a new life together with our cat. I have no regrets about the move at all and I've met many wonderful people along the way and had some invigorating, life-affirming experiences - everything that I was looking for. However, I will always miss my friends and family 'back home' and when I'm feeling particularly homesick I find Polish food makes me feel right again.

This recipe is not some sort of 'family secret' passed down from my Babcia. Instead I've put together some of my favourite Polish flavours using the ingredients I can find here in Bangkok to create an 'inspired by' dish. You don't have to use homemade kluski, gnocchi would work well here or any other kind of pasta for the matter but when it's comfort food I'm after it has to be kluski.

Ingredients Serves 2-3 as a main course
1 quantity of kluski dough, pre-cooked in any shape you choose. 
1 can (411g) sauerkraut (rinse in water if you want a less sour taste)
180g brown mushrooms, finely sliced (small tray)
handful fresh dill, chopped
2 medium onions (about 1 1/2 cups), peeled and finely diced
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp butter
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp smoked paprika (sweet or hot - your choice)
200ml water
180g minced pork, beef or a mixture
2 tbsp browned onions (see below)
1/2 tsp ground allspice

NOTES: This dish is great with boiled kluski but if you want a different texture you can fry the kluski after they've been boiled. 
  1. Start by sauteing the onion in the oil and butter over a medium low heat until it is all golden brown with a natural sweetness. This will take about 10-20 minutes or so.
  2. Once the onions are browned, put about 2 tbsps in a bowl ready to mixed with the meatball mixture.
  3. Return the pan to a medium heat (still using the same oil, butter mixture and you cooked the meat and onions in) and saute the mushrooms with the onions until they have softened a little.
  4. Stir through the sauerkraut and add the water, smoked paprika and some ground black pepper then cook over a low to medium heat for 20 minutes or so. Keep an eye on the moisture level and add extra water as you desire.
  5. While the kapusta is bubbling away it's time to make the meatballs. Combine all the meatball ingredients together until evenly mixed. Next, heat up a frying pan with a little oil and form small meatballs using around a teaspoon of mixture each time then fry until browned on all sides and cooked through. 
  6. Once the kapusta is at your desired consistency add in the pre-cooked kluski and meatballs. Taste and adjust seasoning as you wish. Then cook everything together for a further 5 minutes or so.
  7. Just before serving stir through the chopped fresh dill and serve with a dollop of soured cream if you wish. 

Saturday, 3 May 2014

spring onion and chilli pancakes

Pancakes for breakfast are always welcome and these savoury spring onion and chilli pancakes are no exception. You can put them together very easily in no time at all but they feel like a real treat. Enjoy them as they are or do as I did and enjoy with a soft poached egg and some crispy bacon.

1 1/2 tsp baking powder
salt and pepper
1 large egg
2/3 cups milk
3/4 cups plain (all-purpose) flour
2 tbsp freshly grated parmesan
4 or 5 spring onions (scallions), finely chopped white and green parts
1/2 tsp chilli flakes (optional)
vegetable oil for cooking
  1. Put all of the ingredients apart from the spring onions into a blender and blitz for a minute or so or until everything is thoroughly combined. You can mix everything together by hand but this way is so much easier.
  2. Add the spring onions and stir through or very briefly pulse the mixture to bring everything together
  3. Heat a non-stick frying pan and add a tablespoon or so of oil then pour in 1/4 or 1/3 cup measures of the mixture. Turn the pancakes over once bubbles have formed on the top then cook for another minute.
  4. Serve with some crispy bacon and chilli sauce or add a poached egg for extra decadence.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

spicy peanut butter noodles with broccoli and pickled mustard

This is a 'store cupboard special' recipe. Chances are you'll have all, if not most of these ingredients in your kitchen already and if not you can improvise. These noodles are quick and easy too. (I have been known to knock up a bowl after a night out on more than one occasion!) Once you understand the basic idea of this simple dish you can alter the flavours based on your own tastes or what you have in. The foundation of the sauce is peanut butter made into a sauce with hot water. You could even make this super healthy by blending roasted, unsalted peanuts with water and various seasonings.

Ingredients (2 greedy people)
200g egg noodles
1 head of broccoli or other veg of your choice, cut into bite sized pieces, stem and all
The sauce
3 heaped tbsp (crunchy) peanut butter
3 tbsp sriracha chilli sauce/chilli ketchup or similar. (You can add more or less of this to taste)
1 tsp chilli flakes (optional)
1/2 tsp sesame oil (optional)
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 tsp soy sauce
250ml (just) boiled water

To serve any selection from:
Finely sliced onion/spring onion
lime wedges
pickled mustard
radish slices
fresh coriander, mint and/or chives

  1. In a pan of boiling water cook the broccoli for 5 minutes then scoop out with a slotted spoon and set to one side.
  2. In the same pan cook the noodles according to the instructions on the packet.
  3. Meanwhile, get on with preparing the sauce. Mix together all the ingredients apart from the water. Taste and adjust the chilli seasoning to your taste. Next add the water little by little until you achieve the consistency of pouring cream. 
  4. Once the noodles are cooked, drain then place in a large mixing bowl, then stir through the broccoli and peanut butter sauce. Serve with the lime wedges, onion and pickled mustard or whatever you've got. 

Saturday, 1 March 2014

banana and coconut pancakes

There's nothing much I can say about this recipe. They're simple, delicious and a great weekend breakfast treat. If you've got a blender or food processor you can make these pancakes even faster by throwing everything in together and blitzing until it is well combined.

Ingredients (makes 8-12 pancakes)
1 cup plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp dessicated coconut
2 bananas, mashed
1 beaten egg
1 cup milk
2 tbsp vegetable oil

  1. In a large bowl mix together the flour, baking powder, coconut, sugar and salt. In another combine everything else (bananas, egg, milk and oil). 
  2. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet and whisk everything until it is thoroughly combined.
  3. Heat up a skillet or non-stick frying pan over a medium heat then pour the mixture into the pan using 1/4 or 1/3 cup measures. Once bubbles form on the pancake flip them over and continue to cook until they puff up and are golden brown on both sides. 
  4. Serve with syrup, butter, yogurt, fruit or whatever you fancy. 

Sunday, 23 February 2014

amok trey (cambodian steamed fish curry)

Amok is widely seen as the national dish of Cambodia. It is a fragrant spiced curry that is steamed in banana leaves or coconut shells. You can get fish (trey), prawn, chicken and vegetarian versions but the fish is the most traditional. The flavour is similar to a mild Thai red-curry and there is a similar dish in Thailand called Hor Mok

To make your own amok at home is actually surprisingly easy. If you really don't have the time to make your own paste from scratch by all means use a ready bought red curry paste but get the best one you can find. Thank you to Mimi Aye and Luke Nguyen for their inspiration putting together this version of Amok trey.
Amok paste ingredients
Ingredients (serves 2-4 depending on serving bowl size)
Amok Paste:
3 long dried chillies, cut finely and soaked for around 30 minutes in tepid water to soften
6 large cloves garlic
2 shallots finely diced
4cm piece/s fresh turmeric root or 1 tsp ground turmeric
4 sticks of lemongrass, trimmed and sliced as finely as possible
thumb sized piece of galangal, peeled and finely diced
thumb sized piece of ginger, peeled and finely diced
6 kaffir lime leaves, finely sliced
1 tbsp Thai shrimp paste

Everything else:
400ml (1 can) coconut milk
2 eggs
handful of large spinach leaves or similar
2 kaffir lime leaves
1 tbsp palm sugar
1 tbsp fish sauce
approx 400g firm fish fillets, cut into bite sized pieces (or the equivalent of chicken, prawns, squid etc.)
1 tbsp vegetable oil

finished paste
  1. Start of by making the paste. You can either do this in a food processor or you can use a pestle and mortar. Either way, make sure everything is cut as finely as possible before you start and it will make the whole process a lot quicker and easier. If you're using the pestle and mortar start off with the 'harder' ingredients then add everything else little by little. I started with the lemongrass then galangal, ginger, turmeric root, soaked chillies, lime leaves, garlic, shallot then finally the shrimp paste. 
  2. Heat the oil in a pan then cook the amok paste until fragrant (1 minute or so) then add the coconut milk and simmer gently for around 5 minutes. Season with the fish sauce and pam sugar then remove from the heat and set aside to cool a little.
  3. Now prepare your steamer. I used a metal trivet in the bottom of a large saucepan. Place the pan over a medium heat and bring the water up to a boil. If you have the time, patience and materials now would be a good time to make your banana leaf cups too. Check out Rachel Cooks Thai for a good tutorial. I was hungry and couldn't find any banana leaves when I went shopping so instead used my oversized tea cups. They worked perfectly.
  4. Once your coconut mixture has cooled enough stir through the beaten eggs and add the fish chunks. Line your bowls/tea cups/banana leaf bowls with the spinach leaves then spoon in the fish pieces. Pour over most of the liquid but leave a little to one side for later.
  5. Now place your filled bowls in the steamer, cover and steam on a high heat for 15 minutes. Add the remaining liquid to the bowls then lower the heat to medium and cook for a further 30 minutes. During the cooking process the amok will souffle up a little so don't be alarmed.
  6. Once the time is up, remove the bowls from the steamer. Drizzle over a little coconut milk and garnish with some sliced kaffir lime leaves and finely sliced chillies too if you like. Serve with steamed rice.

amok paste mixed with coconut milk
bowls lined with spinach leaves
Ready for the first steaming

weekend in siem reap

Those of you that follow me on twitter will know that I recently went on a trip to Siem Reap in Cambodia. I had never been to Cambodia and really didn't know what to expect. The purpose of our visit, as it is for many, was to visit the temple 'ruins' of Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom and around. We spent our days cycling around on rental bikes stopping to explore the temples that we found along the way. It was wonderful being out of hectic city life and being reminded that there is another life beyond the city.

Of course no visit anywhere is complete with out some foodie treats. So in the evenings we headed into the town in search of food and drink. Siem Reap is a relatively small city but there are lots of great food options there to be found. As we were only in the country for a few days and it was my first visit, I wanted to get an understanding of Cambodian food and flavours. On our first night we enjoyed a great dinner at the Cambodian BBQ. There are similar versions of this dining experience around the region but here they bring a bucket of hot coals to your table, put a kind of hot pot / griddle over the heat and then bring you dishes of meat, vegetables, noodles and rice. The idea is to grill the meat over the central part of the griddle allowing the cooking juices to fall down into the moat of stock below. In the mean time you would be cooking fresh rice oodles and pieces of pumpkin or other vegetables in the developing broth, occasionally ladling some out to eat. The waiting staff will keep topping up your noodle, vegetable and broth supplies until you can take no more! It's a great fun and sociable way to eat and I'll definitely be seeking out other Cambodian style BBQ places when I get chance.

The next night we wanted to try some classic Khmer cooking and headed to The Sugar Palm. This is considered to be one of the best restaurants in Siem Reap and Gordon Ramsey has even visited to learn how to cook traditional amok.

Anyway, we had cycled the best part of 30 miles and felt we had earned a feast for dinner so ordered plenty. We enjoyed the Beef Skewers marinated with lemongrass, pomelo salad with pork, shrimp, mint and coconut, chargrilled aubergine/eggplant with pork and finally Amok Trey. Every dish we had at The Sugar Palm was delicious and next time we're in Siem Reap I will definitely be coming back. 

Check out my version of amok trey here. 

Amok Trey

Spring Rolls

Sunday, 9 February 2014

scones & clotted cream

I recently had my first attempt at making clotted cream. It was much easier and way more successful than I ever thought it would be. There are several methods other people have written about online including slow cooking in the oven and using a slow cooker. A great place to read about all these ideas is over at The Culinary Life. I opted to heat the cream in a large bowl over a barely simmering pan of water for around an hour similar to this method from James Cooper.

Anyway, if you're going to have clotted cream in the house you HAVE to have scones to go with it. I've tried out many different recipes over time and this one has given me the lightest results so far. Serve them warm from the oven with a good raspberry or strawberry jam and a generous dollop of clotted cream. (By the way, if you want to be true to the Cornish origins of clotted cream it should be ON TOP of the jam. Apparently Devon folk put it under the cream because they're ashamed of it - that's what my Cornish husband says anyway!)

Ingredients Makes 8-10
350g plain/all purpose flour
5 tsp baking powder
50g butter
50g lard
25g caster sugar
1 egg
100ml milk
  1. Preheat the oven to 200C and line a baking tray with parchment paper. 
  2. Sift together the flour and baking powder, then rub in the lard and butter using your finger tips. Be as light handed as you can. 
  3. Beat the egg and mix with 50ml of milk. Add it to the flour and fat mixture and bring everything together so that you have a soft, sticky dough. Wetter is better for scones so don't be tempted to add extra flour. Your floured work surface should be enough to stop everything getting too sticky.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and gently pat down to about 2 cm thickness. Cut out your scones using either a 5cm cutter or form a rectangular shape and cut your scones into smaller squares.
  5. Transfer to the baking sheet, brush with any left over egg and milk mixture then bake in the oven for 10 - 15 minutes or until they are well risen and golden brown on top.
  6. Allow to cool a little before serving and enjoy with clotted cream, jam and a proper cup of tea.

Saturday, 8 February 2014

a classic toad in the hole

Sleepy weekends mean comfort food and this weekend it had to be toad in the hole. I recently discovered Sloane's sausages when I enjoyed a fantastic brunch at Chu here in Bangkok. A couple of weeks later I  happened to discover them for sale in the fancy supermarket near my apartment. If you are in Bangkok and you have the opportunity you really must go to Chu and also seek out Sloane's sausages. They are something special and rival the best 'artisanal' sausages you can get anywhere.

When you've got awesome sausages like these you need to make something to celebrate them and you don't get much more celebratory than toad in the hole. This is my version and it's super easy and very very tasty. We ate it with steamed broccoli and some of Sloane's glorious onion gravy. Yum!

5 or 6 cumberland sausages
125g plain (all purpose) flour
2 eggs
2 tbsp lard or dripping
150ml milk
150ml beer
salt & pepper
  1. Place the flour in a large mixing bowl and make a well in the centre. Beat together the eggs and milk and pour into the flour little by little mixing thoroughly as you go making sure to get rid of any lumps. I did this with a hand whisk but by all means use an electric one if you've got one. 
  2. Once the flour, milk and eggs are combined add the beer, salt and pepper. Mix everything together thoroughly, cover then leave to the side for about 30 minutes while you prep everything else or have a cup of tea.
  3. Preheat your oven and roasting tin to 220C. While you're doing this thoroughly brown your sausages in a frying pan on your hob. Some people like to roast them in the oven but I prefer this way. 
  4. Once you're ready to go, bring out your roasting pan from the oven add the lard or dripping. Put it back in the oven or heat on the hob (this will depend on your roasting pan/hob) until the fat is smoking hot.
  5. Now, carefully add the fat from cooking the sausages, followed by the batter and then place the sausages. When you pour in the batter there should be an audible sizzling as it hits the fat. 
  6. Put the pan back into the oven and roast for 35-45minutes or until the batter is risen, golden brown and cooked through. Don't be tempted to open the oven door while it's cooking though, it might stop the batter rising.
  7. Serve with a good onion gravy, mashed potato and peas or broccoli. 

perfect soda bread?

Regular readers will know that I'm a fan of Felicity Cloake's series in the Guardian 'The Perfect...'. This soda bread recipe is taken from her recent soda bread explorations and I have to say it has worked out really well. The oven in my apartment is a bit rubbish so food doesn't always brown properly on top but loaf turned out pretty well anyway and it was ridiculously easy to make. I put everything together when I woke up this morning, put it in the oven and sat down to enjoy a cup of coffee and in almost no time at all I had a freshly baked loaf of delicious soda bread ready for brunch. I think scrambled eggs and maybe some bacon is called for here. If there's any bread left over from brunch soda bread is a great accompaniment to homemade soup.

450g wholemeal flour
50g rolled oats
1 tsp salt
1 level tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tbsp treacle
1 tbsp honey
450ml milk soured with a tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp melted butter
  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6 and line a baking sheet with baking parchment.
  2. Put the flour, oats, salt, and bicarbonate of soda into a large bowl and mix together well.
  3. In another bowl or jug mix together the soured milk, treacle and honey then pour into the dry ingredients. Mix everything together quickly and trying not to work the dough too much as this will make the resulting bread tough. You will end up with a soft and sticky dough. (Mine was a little too wet and gloopy so I needed to add a little extra flour.)
  4. Transfer the dough to your prepared baking sheet, form into a round and then cut a deep cross into it. I covered my loaf with an upturned cake tin to help maintain the shape while it was baking but feel free to leave it uncovered if you prefer a more free-formed shape. 
  5. Bake in the oven for about 50 minutes or until it is golden brown and cooked through. 
  6. Once you've removed the bread from the oven brush the top with melted butter and then leave to cool before eating. 

Sunday, 2 February 2014

lime and ginger cake

Simple, delicious and very moist - this cake is a lovely treat to put together whenever you've got a little spare time and a sweet craving. It's inspired by the classic 'one-pot yogurt cake' and ciambella recipesand utilises the flavours I had in my kitchen.  There are endless variations for this recipe, it would make a great base cake for a citrus drizzle, or you could top it with a coconut frosting, a simple lemon and cream cheese topping or do as I did and add a layer of homemade lime curd.

1 cup milk soured with the juice of two limes
finely grated zest of two limes
1 cup vegetable oil (any other flavourless oil would work here too)
2 cups caster sugar
3 cups self-raising flour
3 cups plain/all-purpose flour and 3 1/2 tsps baking powder
pinch of salt
1/2 cup finely chopped, crystalised ginger
3 eggs
  1. Preheat your oven to 180C and grease and line your cake tin.
  2. Put all of the ingredients apart from the ginger into a large bowl and beat together with an electric or hand whisk until everything is smooth and thoroughly combined. 
  3. Stir through the crystalised ginger then pour the whole mixture into your prepared cake tin.
  4. Place in the oven and bake for around 1 hour or until it is golden brown on top and a skwere comes out clean when inserted. This may take up to 90 mins depending on your oven and tin size.
  5. Leave to cool before topping or eat it just as it is.  

Sunday, 26 January 2014

thai-style coconut ice cream

Thai coconut ice cream is one of my favourite Thai food discoveries. Most days on my walk home from the BTS station after a long day at work I pass a street vendor selling this treat with all the various, uniquely Thai toppings such as sticky rice, roasted peanuts, corn and all sorts of candied sweet-bits. I have to muster all my will power to not indulge every day!

Whenever I discover something I've not had before I have a real desire to figure out how I can make it for myself. I take great satisfaction in this process so after much searching on the internet I've come up with this recipe for a Thai-style coconut ice cream. I make no claims that this is an authentic method but it is pretty tasty and with a deliciously creamy texture. If you can get hold of it, you should try serving with some cold sticky rice on top and some roasted peanuts. It seems like an odd idea to Western tastes at first but it really works, I promise! 

Thank you to She Simmers for the inspiration with this recipe. That website is an endless inspiration for all my Thai food experimentations at the moment. Check out the She Simmers ice cream recipe here

3 cups full fat coconut milk
2 teaspoons unflavored gelatine powder
2 tablespoons cornflour
1 3/4 cups of sweetened condensed milk (I used a 388ml can)
generous pinch of salt
  1. Mix the coconut and condensed milk together in a large sauce pan. In a small bowl blend the cornflour with a little of the milk mixture until you get a smooth paste then stir through the rest of the milk and add the powdered gelatine and salt. 
  2. Put the pan over a medium heat and bring to a gentle boil, whisk regularly until the cornflour and gelatine is fully dissolved. 
  3. Remove from the heat and place over an ice bath while giving it a good whisk to speed up the cooling down process.
  4. Once the mixture has cooled pour the mixture into an ice cream machine if you have one and churn it according to the manufacturer's instructions. 
  5. If like me you don't own an ice cream machine all is not lost. Pour the mixture into a freezable container with a lid and pop the cooled mixture into the freezer for about 30 minutes. After it's been in there for a while, scrape the mixture into a large bowl, give it a good beating with a whisk then pour it back into the box. Repeat this process 3 to 5 times or until it is frozen throughout and has a creamy consistency without any large ice crystals.
  6. Serve however you wish. It's great in a Thai style ice cream sandwich with brioche style bread or topped with roasted peanuts, chopped up water chestnuts, dates and some sticky rice. Whatever takes your fancy. 

'cornish' pasty

You really can't beat a proper Cornish pasty. Sometimes it's the only thing that'll do. In the last few years pasties have become an important feature of my culinary life. You see, I married a Cornish man. He is born and bred in Cornwall from a long line of proper Cornish folk. Pasties are so important to his family that the very first thing his Dad asked when we told him we were getting married was "how many pasties do you want me to bring for the wedding reception?" No Cornish party is complete without a pasty it seems.

But lets get this out of the way  before we go any further - I know what I've made here can't  truly be called a Cornish Pasty. It was made in Bangkok not in Cornwall and it didn't use Cornish ingredients but my argument is that as it was given a ceremonial blessing from my husband we can call it Cornish. He also supervised the pasty making to ensure I adhered to the official standards (side crimping, NO CARROTS, egg glaze, correct meat and appropriate ingredient ratios).

My recipe is based on the one from the Cornish Pasty Association but with the substitution of butter for the margarine (I refuse to use that stuff) and lard for the white shortening. I couldn't find lard here in Bangkok so had to render my own from so pork fat I bought at the butchers. You can check out the original Cornish Pasty Association recipe here

Ingredients (enough for 4 proper sized pasties)

500g strong bread flour (you need to use a stronger flour so that you get the more pliable consistency you need)
120g lard
25g unsalted butter
5g salt
175g cold water

450g good quality beef eg. skirt
700g potato (ideally a waxy kind) or 450g potato and 250g swede (I don't like swede very much so we didn't use it)
200g onion
Salt & pepper to taste( 2/1 ratio)
Clotted cream or butter (optional) 

  1. Place the flour in a large bowl, then chop the butter and lard into the flour and mix with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. 
  2. Add the water and mix/knead until the dough comes away from the edges of the bowl and becomes elastic. This will take a little longer than it does with regular pastry as your trying to build up the strength that is needed to hold everything in. 
  3. Wrap the dough ball in cling film then leave to rest in the fridge for at least 3 hours or overnight. 
  4. When you're ready to assemble the pasties, preheat your oven (Gas 6, Fan 165C, Electric 210C)
  5. Next finely chop and slice the potato, onion and beef, season very generously with salt and pepper and mix everything together in a large bowl.
  6. Quarter your pasty dough and roll out into circles about 2-3mm thickness. You're aiming for about the size of a dinner plate.                                                                                                                                              
  7. Place a quarter of the meat and potato mixture slightly off-centre in the circle. Add an extra little dollop of butter or clotted cream if you wish then fold over the pastry so that everything is sealed in and you have a semi-circular shape.  

  8. Next is the crimping to make sure everything stays sealed while cooking. This is probably the most tricky part of making the pasty. I've tried to include step-by-step photos below but you'll mostly need to feel your way with it. Sorry. There are some useful videos on the internet if you want some more guidance. Paul Hollywood's demonstration is straight forward and easy to follow and starts around 3:25.

    Not bad for a Polish girl!
  9. Place each crimped pasty on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper. Make a couple of small holes in the top of each pasty, glaze with beaten egg or milk then bake for around 40mins to an hour until it is golden brown all over. 
  10. Try to resist eating them straight from the oven. Pasties are really at their best when they're just warm. A pasty is a meal in itself so don't feel the need to serve it with any accompaniments. Just enjoy!

Saturday, 25 January 2014

massaman curry paste

One of my favourite Thai curry pastes. Not too spicy and is often considered a 'training' curry for children and those who like their food on the milder side. My favourite massaman curry use stewing steak and potatoes but you regularly see it on the menu in Thailand with chicken too. This is my finished version made with beef. 

This is based on the nicest recipe I've found online so far and made a great curry. Thank you! I've made a couple of small alterations along the way due to necessity but remained fairly close to the original.

8 dried long red chillies
1 teaspoon Thai shrimp paste
2 teaspoons whole coriander
2 teaspoons whole cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
5 whole cloves
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 stem lemon grass, trimmed, white part chopped
3cm piece galangal, peeled, chopped

  1. Soak the chillies in recently boiled water for 20-30 minutes or until soft and pliable. Dran then cut into small pieces with scissors. 
  2. In a dry frying pan quickly roast off the whole spices until their fragrance is released. This will take 30 seconds to a minute. Transfer to a pestle and mortar and grind to a fine powder. You could do this in a blender but I find you get a better finished product for dry spices in a pestle and mortar. 
  3. Either continue with the pestle and mortar or transfer to a blender, combine the dry spices, shrimp paste and chillies with a tablespoon of water until you have a smooth paste.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients one at a time, blending thoroughly after each addition until you have a thick paste. 
  5. Use the paste immediately or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 6 months. Curry paste also freezes fairly well so if you're in the mood why not make a larger batch for another day?

Here's a link to a great massaman curry recipe while I get around to posting my own version. Enjoy!

follow me

Follow Us