Like so many of you, we are stuck indoors lately because of quarantine guidelines. As a social enterprise offering face to face cooking classes in Bangkok, we’ve mostly been shut down as tourism has been crippled since late February. However, we’re still doing what we can to support our community, and today we’d like to make your day brighter with some of our favorite, easy to do Thai recipes.
When we think about quick and versatile recipes, fried rice is pretty high in the ranks. You can adapt any ingredients you want, add pretty much any protein, and it’s unctuous and familiar enough to please the entire family. Even seasoning is easy. This recipe keeps it simple, using only soy sauce which is often already in your kitchen cabinet.
Let’s have at it, but to kick things up a notch we’d like to suggest the extra option of using a Thai curry paste in your recipe. The paste will lend color, spice, and excitement to the regular old fried rice you’ve made one too many times in the first few weeks of quarantine.
150g of the protein of your choice (chicken or tofu work great)
1 cup of cooked rice
2 cloves of garlic minced
4 small shallots (or 2-3 tbsp of other diced onion)
3 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 cup of vegetables (Your choice. Thai eggplants are great if you have them but even frozen or canned vegetable mixes also work)
Optional: A handful of sweet basil (about half a cup, Italian basil can be substituted)
How to Make Green Curry Fried Rice
Start by washing and slicing everything. For your tougher herbs and veggies, get a rolling bowl going in a pot so they can be blanched. Blanch, cool, and set aside.
Tap some oil into your pan and toast your curry paste until fragrant.
Add your protein of choice, stirring over medium heat until brown. For tender proteins like shrimp, cook and set aside. Also remember you can add a little water or stock if your curry gets too dry.
As your proteins mostly cooked, add aromatic herbs and vegetables. This is the best time, for example, to add garlic, shallots, diced carrots, mushrooms, or other veg of your choice. Let your meat finish cooking, and vegetables become tender and covered in curry paste before proceeding.
Add your rice and mix. When making more than one portion, be careful not to add so much rice that you overfill your wok.
Add your soy sauce. Stir, taste, and adjust if needed.
Maneuver your fried rice to one side of the pan, leaving space to crack your egg. Tilt the pan so the side with the egg is directly over the heat and scramble.
Once the egg is cooked, mix with the rest of your rice. Add a handful of sweet basil and turn off the heat.
Stir until the basil wilts, and serve.
Thai Pork Ball Soup (Thom Jeud)
Often this warming soup is one of the first defenses when you’re not feeling well. The soup varies from one Thai household to the next, so there are endless varieties. Use that knowledge as license to take some liberties with the recipe, making use of what you have on hand. We make and fill the soup with pork balls, but you can use chicken or create a vegetarian version. Finally, the soup reheats well and can be either a side dish in a fantastic meal or the main dish itself.
Soup Ingredients (serves 4)
1 liter of chicken or pork stock (about 4 cups)
1 cup of chopped cabbage
1 large carrot, sliced bite sized
1 packet of egg tofu, sliced
2 tbsp of soy sauce
400g minced pork
⅓ cup of carrot diced small
1 cup of chopped glass noodles
2 stalks of chopped spring onions (remember to set a tbsp or so aside to use as a garnish when serving)
2 tbsp oyster sauce
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
½ tsp palm sugar
How to Make Thai Pork Ball Soup (Thom Jeud)
Prep your vegetables. You can blanch carrots or other tough vegetables in advance to save time. (To make the soup extra filling parboiled potatoes are a hearty addition).
Slice your glass noodles small.
Mix glass noodles, spring onion and your chopped carrots with the pork in a bowl.
Season with oyster sauce, fish sauce, palm sugar, and soy sauce then make small meatballs
Boil your stock.
Add your meatballs, and when mostly cooked, add your carrot, cabbage, any other veg.
As they soften, lower the heat and add 2 tbsp of soy sauce. If this doesn’t seem like much seasoning remember your meatballs will be contributing lots of flavor to the soup as well.
Taste and add more soy sauce as needed.
Finally, add your egg tofu, turn off the heat, and stir gently.
Garnish with remaining spring onion before serving.
Kid’s Pad Thai with Instant Noodles
Finally we can’t forget about the kids. They’re home and seemingly always hungry. Take them on a journey in the kitchen using basic ingredients. This is a departure from a more typical pad thai, but we make it often for our Courageous Kitchen kids and everyone loves it!
Stir frying is a quarantine cook’s best friend. When you can throw everything you’re cooking up in one wok, all your dish washers will be pleased as well. So grab your biggest non-stick pan and get ready to make one of Thailand’s most loved noodle stir fries!
1 handful of blanched Chinese kale, broccoli, or the veg of your choice
A small handful of bean sprouts (can omit or substitute with micro-greens)
2 tbsp of pad thai sauce
1 tbsp of oil for stir frying
How to Make Pad Thai for Kids
Blanch any vegetables you want to add by dipping into boiling water for a few minutes (for Chinese kale this usually takes about one minute in boiling water).
Remove from the boiling water and add to ice water to stop the vegetables from cooking, and preserve the fresh color.
Use the same boiling water now to quickly boil your noodles. Most instant noodles will only take 1-2 minutes to become soft. Set aside.
Add oil to your wok or non stick pan. Follow with your chicken and cook until the color changes.
Add your vegetables to your cooked chicken, along with tofu. Stir quickly to heat the vegetables up.
Now add your cooked instant noodles and mix well.
Add bean sprouts and your pad thai sauce.
Mix everything and push to the side of the pan, away from the heat. In the hot portion of the pan crack and scramble your egg, stirring vigorously until cooked.
Once the egg is cooked, mix with all of the other ingredients and turn off the heat.
Stay safe and eat well during this extended quarantine period. While we hope everything gets back to normal soon, we’ll continuously be thinking about new ways to share our love of people and compassion for communities with you online in days to come.
Want to make a similar spicy green curry paste to the ones you tried in Thailand? This takes some practice and patience, but it’s possible. Everyone’s kitchen and tastes are different so an exact recipe is also tough. Today we tackle these challenges and hope to encourage more people around the world to make their own curry pastes. Lovers of green curry, let’s raise the bar of this delicious curry.
One promise we can make, fresh curry paste is ALWAYS better than the packaged kind.
Green Curry Paste Components
Early warning: making your own curry paste can be a mess. If you’re not in Thailand you likely have all the tools you need for the job. Many folks based in cities in Thailand, may not even have space in their kitchen. However, if you have can figure out a method to pound, grind, and blend all of these ingredients together you can make a colorful, nutrient packed curry paste to share with your family.
Most Thai curry pastes are a mix of the following:
(1) dry spices
(3) aromatic roots
(4) fresh herbs
(5) shrimp paste
Curry Paste Crushing and Pounding Tools
Your mission then, is to decide how best to combine all of those ingredients together. Thais traditionally use a mortar and pestle. They are made from heavy granite and when you give them plenty of elbow grease, they’re great at pounding these varied types of ingredients into a paste. In a modern kitchen you may not have this as an option. So you need to find whatever you can to crush the dry spices and others you can put in a food processor or blender. Here are some options:
Traditional Thai mortar and pestle Spice grinder + blender/ food processor Large rock + blender / food processor
Large rock? Are you serious. Yes! There have been occasions when cooking for people while traveling, where I haven’t had everything I needed to crush spices. If that happens, feel free to go flintstone on these spices. Whatever you gotta do, dinner must go on! Just be sure to wash the rock well first.
Remember when you read the recipe below that your rock or spice grinder is mainly for your dry spices. Depending on your machine, you may need some practice getting the paste to be the consistency you desire. This is normal, and you can even add a bit of water or stock if things are getting caught in your machine. If you’re doing it for the first time, I would suggest you don’t blend too smooth.
That sorted? If you still have questions you can comment below. After the recipe, we’ve provided some trouble shooting questions people ask regularly. We hope this helps you make a more authentic green curry. If you enjoy, your support of Courageous Kitchen via our donation pages is much appreciated.
Green Curry Paste Ingredients
Dry spices 1 tsp peppercorn (white peppercorn is most common, but any will do) 1 tsp cumin 1 tbsp coriander seed
Chili 5-10 small spicy Thai green chili (spice lovers can hunt for the “prik kee noo”) 5-10 green medium to large chili (“prik chee fah”, serrano or similar) 1 tbsp of salt (optional if grinding by hand)
Roots 3-4 coriander roots 1 knob of galangal 1 knob of turmeric Note: 1 knob for this purpose is roughly 30-40 grams or 2-3 tablespoons if using the powdered form.
Herbs 4-8 garlic cloves 4-6 shallots (small, sweet ones preferred) 1 tbsp of kaffir lime zest (about half of a kaffir lime) 2-3 lemongrass stalks sliced small
Shrimp Paste 1 heaping tbsp of shrimp paste
Green Curry Paste Instructions
Toast your dry spices. (Optionally any of your roots can be toasted at this time as well.)
Grind your dry spices and set aside.
If pounding by hand, grind your chili in the mortar with salt. After smooth begin adding all other ingredients, including dry spices gradually.
If using a blender, combine everything adding stock or a small amount of coconut milk to help the paste blend together.
Store your curry paste in an airtight container in the fridge or get cooking with a green curry recipe right away.
What if I don’t have a spice grinder or rock (lol)?
Don’t forget you can get coriander, peppercorn and cumin in powder form. The reason we prefer the whole spice is because the flavor is more intense, especially after toasting. However, work with what you have and make sure they are incorporated well into your paste.
What can I make with my curry paste besides curry?
Feel free to get creative with your green curry paste. You can use it as a marinade. You can use it to make a spicy sauce to cover steak. One of our favorites? Green curry fried rice!
Can I just dump everything into the mortar or blender?
We see people using the dump method. But depending on the texture you want at the end, we don’t always recommend it for beginners. Adding your ingredients gradually allows you to make sure things incorporate smoothly and you can add or adjust flavors as needed. Then when you’ve made the curry a bunch of times and know what you love (or what your blender can handle), you can take liberties with how you add the ingredients.
Can I use a marble mortar and pestle?
Found a small mortar and pestle in the kitchen store? This is likely used for dry spices and medicine. You can use it to start the curry, but you don’t want to be trying to crush things like lemongrass in there. It will likely take forever. I’d do your dry spice inside this small mortar and then move everything to a food processor or blender.
I can’t find coriander root. Can I substitute the coriander stems or add bell pepper?
People use leaves and stems to help with the color (shouldn’t be needed for this recipe), but it isn’t a good substitute for the flavor of the root. If you go without it, try upping the amount of toasted seeds you add.
If you need to use milder chilies and peppers you can. Just be aware the flavor and water content of them (bell pepper for instance) will change the nature of the paste.
Do you use the same paste for different types of meat?
You can use this generic recipe for any meat. However, if you’re cooking fish, beef, or game meat, we may increase the dried spices and also add more root aromatics. The best part of making your curry paste is the ability to customize it as needed.
Why is my green curry so light green?
Typically the curry will come out light green. If you want a stronger color, this is really the purpose of the knob of turmeric as an ingredient. You can add more to intensify the green, but be careful it doesn’t start going orange. Turmeric, like the other roots Thais love, is also very healthy for you.
If you’ve seen Netflix’s Chef Show, you may have seen them add the coriander stems, basil, and all sorts of stuff to make it green. Yes, this is possible, but not what we recommend, nor how it’s done it Thailand. That method is more of a quick trick in the kitchen when you’re in a panic and need curry.
Is there a substitute for galangal?
No. There is no substitute for galangal. However, if you can’t find it fresh you can use the dried kind.
Many people make the mistake of thinking ginger is interchangeable. They are not. You can use ginger if you have no other option, but it will change the flavor. Similar to people adding green leaves to improve the color of your curry, you can do it, but we don’t recommend making it a habit if you’re chasing a real Thai style curry flavor to your dish.
The past few weeks have been a trying time for everyone around the world. Wherever you are reading from, we do wish you good health and would like to share our concern and condolences to anyone who has been directly impacted by the corona virus Covid-19.
At the moment we have few guests or activities planned. However, if you do have a cooking class booked, we want to make sure everyone is aware, we consider your health, and the health of our staff is of the utmost importance.
As an organization whose mission is so closely tied to the handling and cooking of food, we are well prepared to make sure we maintain a safe working and learning environment. We need your help to continue to follow the best practices during this time, and support organizations like ours that work with communities particularly vulnerable to viral disease.
This includes our regular hygienic equipment: * Air conditioning * Air purifier * Anti-bacterial soap * Water filtering and purifying
Our regular hygiene practices: * Sanitizing surfaces * Soap at every sink (there’s 3!) * Limited class size
And new policies: * Postponed or canceled gatherings with over 10 people * No new volunteers will be accepted * Refusing guests with symptoms of illness or poor hygiene * Refunding guests as necessary (minus any booking fees) * Providing more online recipes and cooking courses for you (if you have a request let us know!)
To limit the spread of the virus we may need to refuse service to guests or refund guests who are unable to visit due to travel restrictions. We apologize in advance for any inconvenience this causes.
Like so many people around the world, we’re still trying to wrap our minds around going from daily cooking classes to only a few a month. Our social enterprise is crippled, but we hope to one day get it roaring again. If you would like to help through donations, they would be greatly appreciated and put to use helping those in need.
In the meantime, we will still be working with marginalized youth and their families in small groups. As there is often poor information in these communities, we’re hoping to teach people and prevent the spread of the virus to their communities. Otherwise, we will be testing recipes and hopefully sharing more pdf and video resources so that you can join us in cooking delicious Thai food wherever you may be.
Thank you for your understanding, be safe, and let us know if you’ve got a Thai recipe request that would brighten your day!
Whether stir frying or making curry paste, sauces matter when cooking your favorite asian recipes! But what can you substitute for fish sauce and shrimp paste if you’re cooking for someone who can’t have them?
If it’s your first time here, welcome to Courageous Kitchen. In our cooking classes in Bangkok, we specialize in helping guests cook their favorite Thai dishes. One of our biggest duties is helping everyone to work around any dietary restrictions they may have. Here are a few of the questions we hear most often, but if you have more, please let us know.
Does vegan fish sauce exist?
Yes, it’s called soy sauce! Soy sauce is amazing and comes in several brands and varieties. You may need to experiment some to find the ones you enjoy best, and expect brands from different countries to vary widely.
What’s the difference between light and dark soy sauce?
Light soy sauce usually refers to the most common type of soy sauce which has a thin consistency. Dark soy sauce is darker, thicker and pretty much its own beast.
Typically dark soy sauce is cloying and has a bitter after taste. Although we refer to it as ‘soy sauce’ it is mostly made of molasses. Typically to make it thick some sort of wheat flour is added which makes finding a gluten free version tough.
Is there a soy free alternative to soy sauce?
Your best soy free alternative would be using a high quality salt.
We also see coconut aminos recommended, but haven’t found them to be widely available.
Are there gluten free soy sauce options?
We are also starting to see more gluten free version of soy sauce become available. We have spotted Megachef with gluten free packaging in the US, and even in Thailand brands like the Healthy Boy Brand. With all of these purchases, be sure to check the labels. The Megachef brand is gluten free and made from non GMO soy beans. However, the gluten free Healthy Boy Brand sauce does not include wheat flour of course, but MSG (mono sodium glutamate) is included among the ingredients.
Is there a vegan alternative to shrimp paste?
If you’re buying curry paste or making your own, you may often find shrimp paste included as an ingredient. One way to replace that salty and umami taste that shrimp paste adds is to substitute in fermented soy paste or miso.
Also we are starting to see some vegetarian shrimp paste alternatives come to the market, but have not seen them widely available.
What are the best curry pastes for people with dietary restrictions?
There are so many curry pastes available on the market, so this is difficult to make a recommendation. If you can find it, we do recommend the WorldFoods Brand of curry pastes because they’re available around the world and have more than just green and red curry options. They typically meet most dietary restrictions as well, including being MSG-free, gluten free, and certified halal. However, our best suggestion is to always check the ingredients listed on the packet you find.
Of course, making your own curry paste is always the best option if you have time. Not only can you dictate which ingredients to use, we believe you’ll find a noticeable difference in the taste from the fresh spices.
What other vegan seasoning do you recommend?
We love using liquid aminos, liquid smoke, and nutritional yeast to create the meat free variations of our favorite asian and western dishes. If you stir fry often, remember you can create a premade vegan stir fry sauce to cut down on your prep time in the kitchen.
If you cook vegan food often you also always want to have great spices on hand. This means keeping your favorite fragrant dry spices like different types of pepper, star anise, and cinnamon. You’re well served to have fresh herbs like lemongrass, ginger, garlic, and shallots as well.
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Today’s recipe is a favorite, a quick Thai style green curry filled with veggies. The emphasis of this plant based recipe is to use the curry as a vehicle for nutrition. Got certain veggies the kids don’t like? Drop them in green curry paste to help change their mind.
In addition to lots of vegetable, this recipe uses healthier noodles than you typically get in Thai restaurants. We chose brown rice noodles with chia seed, but we’re seeing a great variety of interesting noodles these days in the super markets and encourage you to explore using them when you have the opportunity.
If you have time, making your own curry paste is always best, and we usually teach guests in our Bangkok cooking classes exactly how. However, today’s recipe is aimed at busy people using a curry paste packet. Grab curry packets at your local grocery store, but before you purchase, flip them over and check the ingredient list. Many curries include shrimp paste, or other meat based flavoring. There are lots of choices, but we usually recommend the Kanokwan and WorldFoods brands as good options.
Once you’ve got your curry paste and coconut milk on standby, you’re nearly ready to cook. We use fresh coconut whenever possible, but we tested this recipe with canned coconut milk because we know it is easier to find for readers outside of Thailand. So use quick version of green curry on a busy night, remembering not to stress too much about certain ingredients.
Feel free to mix and match the veggies of your choice in the green curry. Just be sure to adjust the cooking time for more dense veggies, so that everything is tender when you serve. If you already keep lots of veggies prepped in the fridge from salads and other recipes, for example cherry tomatoes, this will decrease the amount of prep time. Finally, check that you have the classic Thai seasoning ingredients such as soy sauce and palm sugar.
Thai Green Curry Recipe
Prep Time: 10-15 mins
Cooking Time: 15 mins
Feeds: 1 – 2 people
Skill Level: Intermediate
Diets: Gluten-free, Halal, Plant Based, Vegetarian, Vegan, Nut-Free and for soy-free replace the soy sauce with salt or liquid aminos.
Green Curry Ingredients
Curry paste 50g
Coconut Milk 1 cup
Rice Noodles 60g
Light Soy Sauce 1 tbsp
Miso 1 tsp
Palm sugar (aka coconut sugar) 2 tsp
Thai basil leaves 1 small handful
Green peppercorn 1 branch
Fingerroot 1 tbsp
Large chili – 1 fruit
Kaffir lime leaf – 2 leaves
Cherry tomato 3-4 fruit*
Orinji mushrooms 20g
Green okra 2 pieces
Micro greens 50g (we used a mix of sunflower, radish, and morning glory sprouts)
Moonflower 4 buds
Baby corn 2 cobs
Pea eggplant 5 fruit
Green Curry Instructions
Wash and prep all of your fresh veggies and herbs. You want to cut them so they cook quickly and are easy to eat. Fingerroot is not essential, but if you can find it, cut into small thin strips. Cut your cherry tomatoes in half. Julienne your okra, baby corn, and mushroom.
The protein source in this recipe is tofu. Firm tofu is best, rinse and cut into large squares.
Setup a pot of water to boil. Add your noodles when boiling. All noodles are different, refer to the instructions on the noodles you purchased for cooking time. Set a timer, rice noodles typically take 5-10 minutes once boiling. When finished strain and set aside.
Place your wok over low to medium heat and add your curry paste. Stir until fragrant, add a tablespoon of coconut milk to keep your paste from burning.
When fragrant add your most dense herbs and vegetables so they can begin cooking first. For example, pea eggplant, fingerroot, and kaffir lime leaf.
Next add your tofu, allowing it to mix with the green curry. Add more spoons of coconut milk to be sure nothing is burning, but the goal is to soften the tougher ingredients and bring out the aroma. This means a little bit of char on your tofu or veggies is fine, just be careful not to over do it, or leave your wok unattended.
When everything smells good and begins to soften, begin adding the remainder of your coconut milk, followed by the remaining veggies (except micro greens and basil). You’re in the home stretch with your curry, congrats.
Allow to simmer on medium heat while seasoning with light soy sauce, miso, and palm sugar.
If the soft veggies are suitably cooked, turn your heat off and add the handful of sweet basil and micro greens. In a pinch, Italian basil can be substituted for sweet basil. Both however, take little to no time to cook. Stir the leaves in your hot curry for a few moments until wilted.
You did it! Your nutritious Thai dinner is ready in under an hour. Pat yourself on the back while plating your noodle first, followed by gently ladling your vegetables and curry over the top.
If serving guests who are unfamiliar with the hard aromatics, like kaffir lime leaf and green peppercorn, take the liberty to remove them when plating.