Red Curry/Green Curry
When I was a little girl in Brownies, when I wasn’t dreading the selling of the cookies (had and still have a serious fear of ringing strangers’ doorbells…thank goodness my parents had plenty of co-workers), I was playing a lot of silly little games. We didn’t really do a lot of the stuff you would think scouts do (camping? community service?), but we did sing songs and play games at our meetings. One such game that I remember being incredibly pointless, but undoubtedly fun was Red Light/Green Light. As far as I can remember, there is one person who is the…traffic director? A most envied position! She stood on one side of the room and shouted out, ‘Green light!’ at which point the other girls, who were in a line at the opposite end of the room, would dash towards her, but when she shouted, ‘Red light!’ they all had to stop. The point is to be the first person to reach the traffic director, thus becoming the new traffic director and restarting the game. But the traffic director could be sneaky! Because, you see, if you moved when she said, ‘Red light!’, you had to go all the way back to the start, at the other side of the room. You know, like if you were already stopped and she shouted, ‘Red light!’, and because you’re all keyed up to go, you false start a little. Screwed. I loved being the traffic director and messing with people. It was almost as awesome as being Simon in Simon Says. (‘Wiggle your fingers!’…fingers wiggling…’I didn’t say “Simon says!”‘) Anyway. That’s just what I was thinking about as I fell asleep last night while trying to think of what to say about the two delicious Thai curries that I made this past week.
More wonders from The 30 Minute Vegan’s Taste of the East. I’m loving the Thai section. All of the curries call for making your own curry paste, which at first I was like, ‘ehhhhh’ about, but it’s really very easy and they taste so fresh. Curry pastes from a jar are pretty convenient, but fresh curry paste! The flavors! Luckily, I can buy fresh lemongrass here (I think I will try to grow it in the spring, though), and I happened upon a jar of shredded kaffir lime leaves about a year ago in a health food store. As for the chiles that the recipes call for, I just used some hot red peppers that I found at the farmers market. I just used 5 of the 5-10 called for, because my chiles were pretty hot hot hot, but once I added the paste to the coconut milk (I used low fat! Sue me!), it really dulled the spice. So next time I will use more like 8 chiles, as we like it spicy in our house. As for the comparability to the Thai curries we can get in our town (weirdly, there are two Thai restaurants here), this was pretty close! All in all, and again, I just have to say how fresh it tasted. The flavors really popped, and didn’t taste like they’d been sitting around in a jar for 6 months. Plus, I got to use whatever veggies I like, which this time around were shiitake mushrooms (so awesome! they soak up so much flavor!), green beans, zucchini, and baby corn. I also marinated and roasted some tofu to add towards the end for some extra protein. I will definitely be making this again, depending on the availability of the chiles at the store (our farmers market ends next weekend *sob*).
I usually order the green curry when I eat Thai, because I love love love basil. It’s my favorite herb, hands down. I even grew Thai basil this summer (though my little transplants are not doing well enough to harvest from yet, so this had regular old sweet basil). Sorry for the hurried-looking photo. I took it hurriedly. The concept for this curry is pretty much like the red one, but a little more involved. The red curry paste isn’t cooked before it is added to the coconut milk, but the green curry is, twice. First you roast up your green chiles (I used jalapenos and they worked just fine and dandy) with lemongrass, ginger, green bell pepper, and coriander seeds, then you blend it all up with the rest of the ingredients, then you cook it in some sesame oil before adding the coconut milk. This gives it a deeper, more robust flavor than the red, I think. The basil and coriander pair together quite well, but I really like coriander seeds, so I may be biased. For the record, the semi-vegan boyfriend liked the red curry better, and I liked the green. But we enjoyed both dishes a lot. Luckily for me, I’ve landed myself a man who loves curry as much as I do, so he never gets sick of it. Yay! Something I really like about curries in general is that you can throw in whatever veggies you like or are on sale, and it’s a good way to use up what might be in your fridge, and just generally get some veggies in your belly when maybe you ate too much spaghetti with garlic bread the day before. Both of these meals were actually ready in 30 minutes, but I let them simmer on the stove a little longer, in order to really get that curry flavor into the veggies and tofu.
And I used brown rice, because it’s better, and I have time on my hands.
So which curry do you generally like better, green or red?