A major migration took place in the 13th century when the Mongol hordes under Kublai Khan were subjugating China. In 1238 the independent Kingdom of Siam (modern Thailand) was formed by Chinese expatriates and to this day remains a monarchy,
Thai cuisine was influenced by
and China , evident in the stir-fry technique and the curry concept. But Thai food is definitely distinct from both since they use their own spices, fresh herbs and vegetables; and is characterized by a particularly balanced combination of sweet, salty, bitter, sour and spicy tastes. Thai cookery flourished because it is very artful, and employs stimulating ingredients such as tangy fish sauce, coconut milk, and fragrant lemongrass, basil, coriander, and citrus fruits. India
We love all those wonderfully vibrant Thai red, green, yellow, masaman and panang curries. All are delectable. I recently enjoyed a Thai green fish curry locally that was so laudably luscious it deserved mention. Happily, the green fish curry in my kitchen is every bit as enthralling as that prepared in local Thai restaurants.
Green curry is made with fresh, young green chilies, and is usually significantly hotter than other curries but not necessarily; as you can control the heat by manipulating the ratio between the amount of chilies and the coriander. Green curry tends to lean toward a sweeter flavor as opposed to say a red which tends toward the savory.
Here is my Thai Green Fish Curry serves 4
2 tablespoons peanut or other vegetable oil
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tablespoons (or more to taste) green curry paste, store-bought or use recipe below
1 small eggplant, peeled and diced or 2 cups trimmed green beans
½ cup of coconut milk
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1 pound of firm fish filets, such as halibut, cod, snapper, northern pike, sea bass and such
½ cup fish stock or bouillon
2 teaspoons each, grated zest of lemon and lime
15 leaves of Thai basil, (if unavailable use half regular basil and half fresh mint leaves or just basil)
- Heat the oil in a skillet or wok.
- When very hot add the garlic
- As it turns a golden colour add the curry paste, stirring well
- Add eggplant or green beans, stir-fry 4 minutes
- Add the coconut milk and bring to boiling
- Stir well as milk thickens
- Stir in the fish sauce and sugar
- Put in the fish pieces and bouillon
- Simmer while stirring occasionally for 3 minutes to cook fish
- If more liquid is required, add a little more coconut milk
- Add the basil and lemon and lime zest, cooking one more minute
You can serve this aromatic ambrosia over steamed rice.
Put all the ingredients in a blender and whirl to a paste. If necessary add a little water.
If you cannot find shrimp paste, forget about it. More green chilies can be used if desired or less for a milder taste. If using less, add a little more fresh coriander.
Thai green fish curry is a flavour phenomenon; I hope you will try some soon.