Thai curries (help)

Yield: 1 Servings

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Date: Fri, 19 Apr 1996 12:20:50 -0700 From: "Colonel I. F. K. Philpott" <colonel@...> Thai 'curries' are typically made using a 'curry' paste. However that is an oversimplification: firstly the word used for these dishes in Thai is kaeng (pronounced 'gang') and it covers soups, stews and of course curries. A paste which is used could be used just as well for a soup as for a curry.

Secondly of course it is not true that Thais call them curry: the word for curry is kari and it is only applied to a small number of dishes: the dishes that appear on western Thai restaurant menues as 'curries' are kaengs, and they are made not with curry paste but with a sauce made from prik kaeng (which in this case could be translated better as chili paste).

There are many different prik kaeng in Thai cuisine and from them you could make a vast number of different dishes by using different protein ingredients, and vegetable ingredients and so on to the extent that it is said that most Thai housewives could cook a different kaeng every day of the year.

However if you know the four basic pastes listed here, and the basic techniques from my next posting, you can make a vast array of dishes, if not perhaps quite one per day for a year.

A rough rule of thumb is that one cup of raw chilis yields a cup or so of paste (since there is air in the chilis). Further it will keep about 3 months in a preserving jar in the fridge.

Since the average kaeng will require (depending on how hot you make it) between 2 and 8 tablespoons of paste, and since there are roughly 16 tablespoons in a cup, you can scale this recipe up to suit your needs.

Suffice it to say that we make these pastes on a cycle over 8 weeks and make 6-8 portions of each of them. As they say in US motor advertisements: your mileage may vary!

For Thai curry pastes, see the following recipes: 1. prik kaeng kiao wan -- This is a paste for a green curry, and the 'wan' indicates that it should be slightly sweet as well as hot. 2: prik kaeng phet -- phet means hot incidentally. 3: prik kaeng Panaeng -- This is a paste for a 'dry chili' 4: prik kaeng masaman -- masaman is a mild hot and sour dish equivalent to the Indian vindaloo.

See also kaeng sai mai rong hai (curry or soup or stew without tears).

CHILE-HEADS DIGEST V2 #298

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