The Anglo version of Thai green curry is one of the great modern comfort dinners. I’ve long been an avid consumer of the ready-made supermarket version (so much better if you revitalise it with a burst of lime juice and fresh coriander) as well as the assembled- using-a-jar-of-paste method. Lately, I’ve become a big fan of making the paste from scratch – the resulting dish has so much more freshness and zing. I’ve tried quite a few recipes for this and, as I’m lucky enough to live a couple of miles away from a small Thai supermarket, I’ve often made it with galangal rather than the usual British substitute of ginger root.
However, I’m not really convinced the results are worth the slog of the extra shopping trip so I’ve developed this version using ginger root only and it doesn’t seem to suffer. The key is the shrimp paste, which gives it that slightly dirty, earthy flavour. An off-dry riesling or pinot gris ought to work with this dish – sweetness always helps when chilli is involved. However, I’ve trialled many wines over the years and always come back to the same conclusion: sauvignon blanc from New Zealand or Chile.
The magic lies in the collision of the vibrant spices and the rounded, luminous quality you find in sauvignon blanc from these two countries. The green pea taste in the wine is a real winner when combined with the snap and crunch of green beans in the curry and in particular with the burst of the pea aubergines (if you use them).
4 GOOD MATCHES:
Taste the Difference Chilean Sauvignon Blanc 2013 Chile, 13% (£6.99, Sainsbury’s)
This tastes like a bag of white sherbet pips mixed with grass and gooseberry fool. Very little chilean sauvignon blanc is this good, especially at this price.
Brancott Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2013 Marlborough, New Zealand, 12.5% (£9.99, tesco)
Always a reliable name, Brancott started the whole Kiwi sauvignon blanc thing back in august 1973 when it planted the first commercial sauvignon vines in Marlborough, resulting in bright and delicious wines like this one.
Ata Rangi Sauvignon Blanc 2012 Martinborough, New Zealand, 13% (£14.95, South Downs cellar)
This tastes like white currants and has the most delicious, lithe flow. also, it’s from Martinborough, where they produce a less shouty style of wine.
Pujalet Vin de Pays de Gers 2012 France, 11.5% (£5.49, Waitrose)
Made from colombard and ugni blanc from the bargain basement south of France, this white is aromatic, bouncy and
not completely dry.
Thai green curry recipe
coconut milk, 200ml
Thai fish sauce 1 tsp
palm sugar 1/2 tsp
vegetable or chicken stock 200ml (if you prefer a creamier sauce, use 400ml coconut milk instead)
chicken breasts 2, diced
fine green beans a handful, trimmed
pea aubergines a handful (optional)
coriander leaves to serve
rice to serve
Thai basil leaves and lime wedges to serve (optional)
kaffir lime leaves 4, finely chopped
coriander large bunch, finely chopped
ginger peeled and finely chopped to make 1 tbsp
garlic 2 cloves, finely chopped
lemongrass 4 stems, outer leaves trimmed and finely chopped
green Thai chillis 3-4, seeded and finely chopped
shallots 2, peeled and finely chopped
shrimp paste 1 tsp
Add all the curry paste ingredients, one by one, to a mortar and pestle and pound them to a thick paste (or whizz in a food processor). Put the coconut milk in a saucepan that’s big enough to take all the ingredients and heat until it begins to simmer.
Add the green paste and, stirring gently, continue to heat for five minutes or until the paste is cooked. Add the fish sauce, sugar and stock. Bring it all to a simmer, then add the chicken and, a couple of minutes later, the vegetables. Continue to heat until the chicken and vegetables are cooked. Scatter with coriander leaves and serve with rice, thai fresh basil and chunks of lime.
PER SERVING 374 kcals, protein 35.5g, carbs 13.4g, fat 20g, sat fat 15.4g, fibre 1.6g, salt 1.5g
This feature was published in February 2014
Photographs: Sam Stowell
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