Although Thai cuisine boasts of a wide range of meatless preparations, every vegetable salad, soup, or curry is tinged with fish sauce/ oyster sauce/ dried shrimps/ shrimp paste. People claiming themselves as vegetarians in Thailand are actually pescatarians, they don’t take any meat but seafood. It may be required for vegetarians/ vegans to order food from live counters (or roadside vendors) rather than buffet restaurants so that we can insist them to avoid using seafood as flavor enhancers while preparing a vegetarian food.
I am a fiend for vegetarian Thai food for the delightful array of vegetables, herbs and spices used in them. It is no small wonder that seven Thai dishes were included in the list of World’s Best 50 foods according to an online poll conducted worldwide by CNN Travel in 2017, whereas masala dosa was the only Indian food appeared in this list. Both my favorite green curry & masala dosa were ranked 19th & 39th respectively.
Green curry tastes divine when served with noodles or steamed rice and crispy tempura (fritters). I also like to relish creamy green curry with basmati rice enhanced with ghee-roasted cumin seeds & fresh coriander leaves and soft chapathi (or any Indian flatbread).
Even though basil leaves, kaffir lime leaves, lemon grass, galangal, and other flavoring Thai herbs and spices are barely available here, I prepared my green curry brimming with freshness and flavor using locally available ingredients. I used fresh coriander leaves, broccoli stalks, green chillies, shallots, ginger, garlic, and cumin seeds for making curry paste, and also used tofu, broccoli florets, mushrooms, carrots, red & yellow peppers for adding vibrant colors & varied textures to this curry. Now let’s look into the recipe for an Indian flavored green curry, a suitable accompaniment for noodles, pulao, dosa, idiyappam, appam, or roti.
|Fresh coconut milk (thick)||as needed|
|Red pepper||a few strips|
|Yellow pepper||a few strips|
|Lemon juice (optional)||1 tsp|
|For curry paste:|
|Broccoli stalks||a few|
|Fresh coriander leaves||a bunch|
|Cumin seeds||1/2 tsp|
|Coconut oil||2 tsp|
Mise en place:
- Steam carrots, and blanch broccoli florets and keep them aside.
Preparing curry paste:
- Wash broccoli stalks, shallots & garlic, chop them roughly, and transfer to a bowl.
- Microwave them after adding a teaspoon of oil for 3 minutes.
- Make a green curry paste as shown below using green chillies, ginger, cumin seeds, microwaved shallots, garlic & broccoli stalks and chopped coriander leaves along with the stems.
- Heat a cooking pan with oil in medium flame.
- Add bay leaf, cinnamon stick & slitted chilli and saute for few seconds until the aroma is released.
- Add tofu cubes and saute for a minute.
- Add mushrooms followed by curry paste and saute for few seconds.
- Pour little water and cook for few minutes until raw smell of chillies & ginger disappeared.
- Add all the vegetables and salt, cover the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes.
- Reduce the flame to low and pour coconut milk into the pan.
- Stir well until combined together.
- Remove from heat within 2 minutes.
- Serve hot with jeera rice or roti.
Tips & Tweaks:
- I have used broccoli stalks while making curry paste mainly for adding color & consistency.
- Do not discard coriander stems, they are useful for adding nice aroma to the curry.
- You may use any other vegetables like baby corn, fresh peas, cauliflower florets, green beans, baby potatoes, etc.
- Since I have cooked the shallots, garlic and broccoli stalks before making a paste, it is not required to saute the curry paste for a long time.
- We need to pour coconut milk only when the vegetables absorbed all the liquid inside the pan completely, else coconut milk gets diluted and hence we can not expect this curry to be creamy.
- You may add a tsp of lemon juice at the end, if needed.