Tackling a Kruk:
In general Thai curries start with a curry paste to which you add other ingredients to ‘build’ your meal. There are only about 10 basic pastes and my favourite is the ‘Penang’ which is mainly suitable for chicken or dense fish.
You can create this paste in a food processor but it is not as good as using a Kruk which is a crude Thai pestle and mortar that is about 12 iches tall.
- 2 Lemongrass stalks
- 2 Tsp coriander seeds & 1 Tsp cumin seeds, both dry-fried
- 2 Tbsp Unsalted peanuts
- 4 red chillies, dried
- Pinch of salt
- 1 Tbsp each of chopped galangal, kaffir lime leaves
- 4 large cloves of garlic, chopped
- 2 large shallots, chopped
- 1 Tbsp shrimp paste
- It will take you about half an hour to grind the ingredients, starting with the driest and hardest first, but this recipe will give you 10 tablespoons of paste which is enough to make 10 meals for two people.
Just wrap each tablespoon in clingfilm (Saran wrap) and freeze what you don’t need.
Recipe for Chicken Penang:
- 220ml of coconut cream (nb. not milk)
- Splash of vegetable oil
- 1 Tbsp Penang paste (see Thai Curries)
- Half pound (225g) sliced chicken
- 1 Tsp sugar (palm sugar if you have it)
- 2 or 3 kaffir lime leaves
- 2 Tbsp fish sauce
- A handful of green basil leaves
- 2 medium red chillies (fresh), thinly sliced
- Warm the coconut cream to soften it and set it aside. Heat the oil in a pan or wok, fry the curry paste gently for 5 minutes and then add the chicken. When the chicken is gently cooked, add the cream, sauce and sugar. Stir for a couple of minutes and add the lime leaves, chillies and basil. Stir through and serve in a small bowl, perhaps with sticky rice on the side or noodles.
To buy a Kruk in the Uk : Thai Food On Line
In the US: Kaboodle
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