I like to eat Thai food, which means that I make Thai food. It’s a cuisine that is similar in some ways to Chinese cooking (another favourite). There is a balance between all the different tastes: spicy, sweet, bitter, sour and salty, plus a hit of umami.
Where does that umami come from? Fish Sauce! It is difficult to believe that I’d have this in the house, let alone cook with it, given my dislike of fish. Knowing how fish sauce is made – by salting and fermenting fish – really doesn’t help to change my mind. And I am going to help you out here by telling you to resist the need to smell this liquid as the smell is quite disgusting. But this ingredient is an important part of the cuisine, so I use it.
Here’s what happens when I make this dish.
Get the potatoes.
And the green beans.
Lime leaves from the freezer.
Prep the potatoes, green beans and lime leaves.
Start the cooking with the potatoes.
While the potatoes are cooking, do some more preparation. In this case, figure out where the bottle of Thai green curry paste is.
There’s also time to cube the chicken breasts.
The potatoes have been cooking for 5 minutes, so it’s time to add the beans.
After 3 more minutes, strain and drain the potatoes and green beans.
Get the wok add some oil and the garlic.
After a few moments, add the green curry paste.
Pour in the coconut milk.
Add the fish sauce and sugar, then get all the chicken into the wok.
After 8 minutes, put the potatoes and green beans back into the wok.
Warm the latest additions, then add the lime leaves.
Serve over rice with a wedge of lime on the side.
The recipe is here:
Thai Green Curry Chicken
225g new potatoes, cut into chunks
100g green beans, trimmed and halved
1 Tbsp. vegetable or sunflower oil
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 rounded Tbsp. Thai green curry paste
400 ml can coconut milk
2 tsp. Thai fish sauce
1 tsp. caster sugar
450g. boneless skinless chicken (breasts or thighs), cut into bite-size pieces
2 fresh kaffir lime leaves finely shredded, or 3 wide strips lime zest, plus extra to garnish
good handful of basil leaves
boiled rice, to serve
Put the potatoes in a pan of boiling water and cook for 5 minutes. Throw in the beans and cook for a further 3 minutes, by which time both should be just tender but not too soft. Drain and put to one side.
In a wok or large frying pan, heat the oil until very hot, then drop in the garlic and cook until golden, this should take only a few seconds. Don’t let it go very dark or it will spoil the taste. Spoon in the curry paste and stir it around for a few seconds to begin to cook the spices and release all the flavours. Next, pour in the coconut milk and let it come to a bubble.
Stir in the fish sauce and sugar, then the pieces of chicken. Turn the heat down to a simmer and cook, covered, for about 8 minutes until the chicken is cooked.
Tip in the potatoes and beans and let them warm through in the hot coconut milk, then add a lovely citrussy flavour by stirring in the shredded lime leaves (or lime zest). The basil leaves go in next, but only leave them briefly on the heat or they will quickly lose their brightness. Scatter with the lime garnish and serve immediately with boiled rice.