Monday, July 23, 2012

Cambodian Curry Paste and Lemongrass Tea

Curry paste is something one should make
when one is very angry. Curry paste is something you should make when you've missed an arm sculpting class because your afternoon meeting runneth over. Curry paste is ALSO something you should make...well, just because it's much more delicious
than the canned stuff.

I get it, sometimes you don't have the time to dedicate a lot of energy into something you can easily get in a can... but, why not give it a go when you want
to hit something harder than a pillow?

All you need is...

Before you begin, deseed dried red pepper
and allow to soak in water (Note: if you want to make green curry paste, skip the dried red pepper and double up on the kaffir lime leaf). I like to mash in stages. Start with the lemongrass, remove. Add the kaffir lime leaves. Mash, remove. Add the finger root, garlic, galangal and mash, baby, mash.  Remove. Remove the red pepper from the water and throw in the mortar and mash.  After you've mashed all the components separately, combine, and? You guessed it! Mash again.  Once thoroughly mashed, keep paste in a tightly sealed container and throw it in the fridge.  The curry paste will keep for atleast two weeks.  When you're ready to use it, add two heaping tablespoons of paste to boiling coconut milk.  Next add your chicken, veggies, pork, frog, alligator...

Don't forget the fish sauce!

Yes, you can use a food processor or blender, but trust me, the texture will be far more superior if you use a mortar and pestle. I like to use a guacamole mortar and pestle my sis got for me for Christmas last year. I like the short pestle for easy handling and it's just so dang pretty. 

Do not, I repeat DO NOT throw away the top stems of the lemongrass.
 Bring lemongrass pieces, sugar, and 2 cups water to a boil in a 2-quart heavy saucepan, stirring until sugar is dissolved, then remove from heat and let steep, partially covered, 20 minutes.  Strain lemongrass tea into a large pitcher.
Allow to cool and serve over ice.

It will taste like the islands off of Southerm Thailand.

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