When I was in Ottawa a couple weeks ago, Krystopf and Atlas got takeout one night from a local Thai place. There was one dish we got, the gang keow wan, that was so good I was determined to see if I could recreate it. So here’s my best approximation, and it turned out pretty close to the original, minus the disposable aluminum serving dishes.
Get everything ready first, obviously. The idea behind this is that if everything is sliced super thin and ready to go, the actual cooking of the curry will take less than fifteen minutes from start to finish. Fantastic for a quick meal, which our Sunday dinners always turn out to be.
Start with your chicken (you can use beef as well, or leave it out for a vegetarian option).
Take 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, slice them into thirds lengthwise, and then slice them up again into thin little pieces. It’s easiest to do this if the chicken is slightly frozen.
Wrangle yourself a leek. Just one will do.
Chop off all the dark green stuff, and hack it into thirds. It goes without saying that you do this with separate implements than you did the chicken, unless you do all the vegetables first and then the chicken last, which is what I usually do.
Cut each of those thirds up into matchsticks. Remember to rinse off the dirt before you eat them. If you want to know the real scientific way to clean a whole leek properly (which I forgot about until it was too late) then take a lookie here.
Gather up a handful of hot peppers. These ones are of the mildest sort, but you can go with whatever floats your boat and suits your fancy. Cut the tops off, remove the seeds (don’t stick your fingers in your eye, OW OW OW OW OW), and make those into matchsticks as well.
Grab some eggplant. If you have those tiny Asian ones handy, or baby eggplants, use about five of them. These are the long thin Italian ones, and I used three. Slice the tops off and cut them into thin discs.
Bust out some lime leaves (kaffir).
Grab a handful, and, if they’re frozen, let them thaw. If they’re dried, give them a soak. If they’re fresh, then you are a lucky person for living in a part of the world where you can get them fresh and you probably don’t need my instructions on how to make a green curry. Go find something else to do.
When they’re ready, slice out the woody centre stem and chop them up finely.
If you have them handy, like, for instance, you are growing your own indoor herb farm (see tomorrow’s post!), then harvest some fresh cilantro and fresh basil. Chop those babies up as well.
As well, crack open a can of slivered bamboo shoots.
Put them aside with your other fresh stuff.
And you’re going to need an assortment of canned and jarred stuff as well.
In a large, shallow saucepan or deep frying pan, heat up about 3 tablespoons olive oil. Add to that 3-5 tablespoons green curry paste and 4 teaspoons minced garlic and sauté that at medium heat until the kitchen starts to smell really good.
Add in as well 2 tablespoons each ground cumin and ground coriander and 1 tablespoon powdered stock (chicken, beef, or vegetable — this is optional). You can add in some salt and pepper as well, if you like.
If you’ve got it, add some lemongrass in as well. This stuff came in a tube!
Now add in 1 can coconut milk and, if you can get it, 1 can coconut cream (if not just go with two cans of the milk). Make sure your cream isn’t sweetened before you dump it in. I discovered that a little too late, so this curry was definitely on the sweet side, but still good. Now you have this lovely rich greenish brownish soup.
Slide in your chicken slices and the chopped lime leaves and allow to simmer for just a few minutes until the chicken is no longer pink.
Raise the temperature and bring the liquid to a boil after adding all your vegetables.
Allow the vegetables to soften, and the eggplant to go a bit brown. Then add in your chopped basil and cilantro.
Serve hot over rice, and eat it with a spoon in the traditional way. I’m having some of the leftovers for lunch today. I’m rather excited about it.