Now, normally, I don’t venture into Thai cooking. That is because, I decide to cook, pretty much, at the spur of the moment. And getting all the ingredients can be a bit of a handicap. But then, this bottle of coconut milk really caught my fancy. What could I do with it? And Thai curry was the first thing that came to my mind. So with this Herculean task set in mind, I started off with whatever I could get my hands on.
The ingredients are not as per the authentic curry, since I was adapting to lock-down living conditions. With due apologies given to galangal, lemongrass, kafir lime, desiccated coconut and red chillies, here is what I did for the Thai Lock-Down Red Curry.
Prepping has always been my “it” moment. It is just like I felt prepping for a date. Only this time, with my Samurai 6″ blade in hand. A full cup of freshly chopped green onions, because I love the flavour they give off. With it, I chopped a red bell pepper, a small cup of onions, and a handful of tomatoes, nicely chopped up. Then get on some garlic and ginger, double the quantity of the latter. And finally, a big cup of mushrooms, cut up in quarters.
Wok, up. High heat. Oil in the wok, let it stoke. Throw in the ginger, garlic and onions. Stir till they sweat, by which time you’d also have worked up one. Next, in go the tomatoes, while you enjoy the sizzle. After everyone in the wok says hello to the tomatoes, get out the masher and start to pulverize everything into a mush. Also, in go the red bell peppers. Keep mushing it all up. Time to introduce the dry spices – corriander powder, cumin powder, red chilly powder, turmeric, black pepper, and salt. Mix it all up, nice and hot. And then, keep mushing up matters with the masher – go by the eye – it’s the best indicator. When the eyes tell you, it would be time to bring on the mushrooms into the bubbling wok.
You will soon reach that moment when you decide that if this is not good enough, nothing else will be.
That is when, the mashed up mush is ready to receive the wholesome goodness of coconut milk. So, then give it to them. Let that thick, white liquid, splat and splash around the orangish-reddish bed. Watch the colour change at the edges from white to hues of ochre and sienna. This is where the loud call of the Circle of Life plays back in my head! Yes, the wok is an African sunrise!
Ok then, my fellow poets, mix in the coconut milk. Swirl a little water in the milk container and swig it back in the wok. Run your ladle around to ensure everyone in there is singing the same song. Finish circling the wok with the ladle, letting everything simmer into a delicious consistency. And that is when the song in the head ends, and you turn off the heat.
Plate up with some flowery white basmati (since there was no sticky rice), slide in the red, on the side.
Take that money shot. And now announce with aplomb – lunch is ready!