On the first day of 2015, my family enjoyed an adapted version of a Yellow Thai Curry – Gaeng Gari – recipe from Su-Mei Yu´s cookbook ¨The Elements of Life¨. It was a cold day, and the spicy broth laced with coconut cream was a warming and winning way to celebrate the New Year. This recipe is a little more complex than my usual cooking, but the occasion called for it. The end result was well worth the time spent roasting and pounding the spices that compose the curry paste. I used my Mexican molcajete to form the paste; it was perfect for this with the black stone adding a unique depth of flavor, but any mortar and pestle will do. I substituted some of the coconut milk with our very own BD&H beef bone broth, and simmered assorted vegetables and thinly sliced flank steak in the curried coconut broth. We had steamed sprouted rice along with the curry, and I smiled big seeing my toddler savor every single bite despite how spicy/hot our dinner was!
Yellow Curry Chile Paste
1 teaspoon salt
8 cloves of garlic, roasted in a 375° F oven until soft (10-12 minutes), then peeled
10 dried thai bird eye chiles, or chile de arbol, dry-roasted in a skillet over high heat until blackened and charred (5-7 minutes), then minced
1 teaspoon white peppercorns, dry-roasted and ground
1 teaspoon coriander seeds, dry-roasted and ground
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, dry-roasted and ground
One 1-inch chunk of ginger, roasted in a 375 F oen for 15 minutes, then peeled and minced
4 shallots, roasted in a 375° F oven for 15 minues, then peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon Madras curry powder
1 teaspoon red miso
1 cup of Coconut cream (I used¨Let´s Do Organic¨ creamed coconut)
1 cup of coconut milk
1 cup of beef bone broth
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons fish sauce or soy sauce as an alternative
2 teaspoons coconut sugar
1 stalk of lemongrass, tough outer layers removed, tender inner stalk cut lengthwise and slightly pounded
6-7 kaffir lime leaves, slightly crushed (I found Whole Foods brand dry lime leaves), or the zest of 1 lime cut into slivers
2 cups bite-size pieces firm fish fillets such as sea bas, or snapper, or beef, pork , or chicken
2 cups of mixed vegetables, chopped into bite-size pieces
Cilantro leaes, roughly chopped
Pound the salt and garlic together in a mortar until they form a paste. Add the remaining chile paste ingredients one at a time, adding the next only after the previous one has been incorporated into the paste. The paste will keep in an airtight container, refrigerated, for up to a month.
Combine the coconut cream and chile paste (I didn´t add all of the paste, and left about 2 tablespoons of it behind to use on a different occasion). Heat in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until the oil separates out and the oil bubbles take on the color of the chile paste, stirring frequently. Add the coconut cream and milk combined and stir to mix. When the mixture comes to a boil, add the salt, fish sauce, coconut sugar, lemongrass, and lime leaves. When it boils again, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 10-15 minutes (if making the curry broth ahead, let cool completely at this point and refrigerate. It will keep overnight. Bring to a boil before adding the meat and vegetables).
Add the main ingredients to the simmering broth. Once they are cooked, serve immediately. Garnish with chopped cilantro leaves.