You know how, in any given recipe, there are those ingredients that you can leave out or substitute without losing the essence of the dish and then there are some that, well, you can’t.
Case in point. There’s this super simple Thai curry that I’ve been making for years. Lemongrass and lime juice, well, those would happen to be 2 of the key ingredients in said curry. They also happen to be the 2 ingredients that my sister forgot to add once when she was attempting to make what is one of her favourite dinners without the aid of a recipe. I think I was a bit unsympathetic at the time, so here ya go, sis – may you never forget the lemongrass and lime juice again!
Simple Thai-style Curry with Straw Mushrooms
This is based on a Madhur Jaffrey recipe for a sauce to go with hard-boiled eggs, though, funnily enough, I’ve never tried it that way. This is my tweaked, non-egg version.
The Fresh Stuff:
- 1 small onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 inch cube of root ginger
- 1 stick of lemongrass
- 1 x 400g tin tomatoes
- 1 x 400g tin coconut milk
- 1 x 400g tin straw mushrooms
- 1 x 400g tin baby corn spears
- 2 small dried red chilies (or more if you like the heat)
- 1 tblsp lime juice
- 1.25 tsp salt (or to taste)
- 2 tsp sugar
The Protein Bit:
- 300g quorn pieces or tofu for the veggie version
- 300g chicken breast, cut into bitesize pieces, for something meatier
- Slice the lemongrass and place it into a clean coffee or spice grinder along with the chilies and grind until fairly fine.
- Peel and finely chop the onion, garlic and ginger.
- Heat some oil in a pan over a medium flame and put in the onion, garlic, ginger and lemongrass-chili mixture. Stir and fry for about a minute, then (if using) add the quorn or tofu or chicken. Continue frying for another 4 minutes until the onions are very lightly browned.
- Drain the straw mushrooms and baby corn. Chop the baby corn into approx 1 cm lengths.
- Add the tinned tomatoes, coconut milk, straw mushrooms, baby corn, lime juice, salt and sugar to the pan. Stir and bring to a simmer, then turn heat to low and simmer for about 10-15 minutes.
- That’s it. Serve with some rice.
- You’ll probably feed about 4 people with this, maybe more, but that depends on the extent to which you can stop your guests from sneaking second helpings from the pot.
- If you can lay your hands on them, those round, plum-sized green aubergines make a very nice addition to this. Quarter about 250g of those little guys and add at the same time as the tinned veg.
- If you want to involve yet more tins, you could drain and chop a small tin (about 150g) of water chestnuts and add those at the same time as the other tinned veg.
- Drop some whole fresh cherry tomatoes into the pot 5 minutes before the end for an added burst of taste.