Like a lot of Brits I love Thai food. It’s fresher, lighter and often a bit spicier than Indian food, though I suspect that much like a standard take-away curry the Thai cuisine we enjoy so much here bears little resemblance to what you’d find on the streets of Bangkok.
That’s not why I call this “Thai-style” though – that comes from the absence of fish sauce which was necessary to make this dish vegan (and indeed vegetarian) and its subsequent replacement with a mushroom-based alternative. I think it makes for a really tasty dish that still captures a lot of the essence of Thai food and allows me to add another vegan recipe to my canon – but whether it would pass muster as “authentic” I just can’t say and I thought it best to err on the side of caution.
For me, a significant reason that some cuisines don’t travel well comes down to the dining experience as much as the recipe – let’s face it a bowl of food eaten in a suburban British kitchen after a day at the office is never going to taste the same as one served up in a bustling restaurant after a day relaxing on a tropical beach. No matter how good you make something it’s never going to be the same…
I also have to accept that some of the more exotic ingredients bought from a supermarket in Bournemouth will not have the same freshness or vitality as those bought within a few miles of where they were grown – assuming I can even find them in the first place. For that reason I use a good quality, off-the-shelf green curry paste in this recipe as I am confident it will bring a lot more flavour than I could ever achieve without a lot of advance planning. If I could I would make my own (and by all means do the same if you want to) but there’s no shame in a little helping hand here and there.
A purist might not agree with this approach but given the choice between the culinary dogma and a better tasting meal I know what I would pick every time 😉
Vegan Thai-style Green Curry
- 10 g Dried Shitake Mushrooms
- 1 tbsp Vegetable Oil
- 50 g Good Quality Thai Green Curry Paste
- 100 g Coconut Cream, chopped into small pieces
- 400 ml Vegetable Stock
- 2 Shallots, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 1 Carrot, peeled and cut into 2cm chunks
- 300 g Butternut Squash, cut into 2cm chunks
- 1 Green Pepper, cut into 2cm chunks
- 100 g Baby Sweetcorn
- 100 g Mange Tout
- 50 g Spinach, washed and shredded
- 1 tsp Soy Sauce
- Good Handful Coriander, coarsely chopped
Put the shiitake mushrooms in a small bowl and cover with boiling water, Allow to rehydrate as per the packet instructions.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add in the green curry paste along with a teaspoon of the stock and a teaspoon of the coconut cream. Stir well and cook through for 2-3 minutes until the spices are pungent and you have a thick sauce.
Add in the shallot and stir well, frying for another minute or so just to get the heat through it. Then add the carrot and butternut squash before sautéeing for a further minute and coating well with the sauce mix.
Add in the green pepper followed by the stock and remaining coconut cream. Bring to a simmer then turn the heat down, put on a lid and cook for 5-10 minutes until everything is starting to become tender.
Once the squash is tender add in the baby sweetcorn, mange tout and spinach, then stir well, cooking for a further 3-4 minutes until warmed through but still crunchy.
Add in the soy sauce, the juice from the rehydrated mushrooms and the mushrooms themselves - chopped to your preference. Stir well, then top with the coriander and serve piping hot with steamed jasmine rice.