Gathering ingredients for Thai-inspired curry, an easy one-pan, weeknight meal, photographed on April, 13, 2021, in Anchorage, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

Gathering ingredients for Thai-inspired curry, an easy one-pan, weeknight meal, photographed on April, 13, 2021, in Anchorage, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

The building blocks of Thai

Curry can be anything you want it to be

By Victoria Petersen

For the Peninsula Clarion

Thai-inspired curry is one of those meals that can be anything you want it to be. The building blocks are your choice of curry (there’s a wide range of brands and flavors you can choose from) plus a coconut milk that gives the curry a creaminess that mellows out the spice.

There are a couple of ingredients you can add to any Thai-style curry to boost the flavor. Fish sauce and a little bit of brown sugar bring salty umami and a bit of sweetness to the typically spicy, savory dish. I include these ingredients when I add in the curry paste. I’ll usually add the paste to a hot pan with oil and shallots or onions, ginger and garlic, and cook until onions or shallots are translucent. This incorporates your base flavors with the curry paste and helps meld everything together. Then I put in any other vegetables that need to cook down, such as the coconut milk, or the proteins if they have a short cooking time, like shrimp.

The way I make Thai curry is a few-step process, sizzling my paste, garlic, ginger and alliums. Then, I add in the meat if needed, or other veggies that need to be cooked down, like zucchini or broccoli.

Next, I add the coconut milk and simmer the dish until it’s ready to eat. Sometimes, right before I take it off the heat, I’ll add in leafy greens or herbs. This keeps the greens and herbs fresh, instead of wilted and cooked down.

There are so many things you can add to this curry though. Sometimes we add noodles and eat it like a soup, other times we serve over rice. Any kind of meat or meat-adjacent protein will work in this, and most of your favorite vegetables will be great. It’s a great dish for cleaning out what needs to be used in the fridge, and also for taking advantage of fresh produce (which will soon be around!).

When looking for Thai curry pastes, there are a few main options: red, yellow and green. There are even more options like panang, maasaman and Indian-style pastes. It will take some experimentation to find which one you like best, but you’ll be looking for something that comes in a can or a jar, or possibly a sealed bag. The paste is typically thick, and only a couple tablespoons are needed in a recipe. You can even learn how to make your own pastes, but I’ve never been so ambitious.

Here is a recipe for a simple and go-to Thai-inspired curry. This recipe is bare bones, so don’t hesitate to add or subtract any of the ingredients. The building blocks are the paste and coconut milk, but other than that, the dish is yours to make with your favorite vegetables, meat and spices.

My weeknight Thai-style curry

2 thinly slice shallots

2 tablespoons of coconut oil, or sesame oil

3 or 4 minced garlic cloves

1 tablespoon of minced ginger

2 tablespoons of the curry paste of your choice

2 teaspoons of fish sauce

2 teaspoons of brown sugar

1 can of coconut milk

1 chopped red bell pepper

1 cup of broccoli florets

Salt and pepper to taste

In a hot pan (something with a high lip and able to hold everything, since you’ll be adding a good amount of liquid with the coconut milk), add in the oil, shallots, garlic, ginger, fish sauce, brown sugar and curry paste. Using a wooden spoon, mix it all together until everything is coated in the paste and the shallots are translucent.

Next, add in the chopped bell peppers and broccoli, and cook for about 2 minutes. Add in the coconut milk, and let the fish simmer until the florets are soft, about 10-15 minutes. Serve the dish over rice or add rice noodles for a soup-style curry dish.

More in Life

The secret to this homemade vegetarian lasagna is the addition of fresh noodles from scratch. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
On the strawberry patch: The secret’s in the noodles

Handmade pasta adds layers of flavor to vegetable lasagna

Virginia Walters (Courtesy photo)
Life in the Pedestrian Lane: Downtime

Now here we are, two-thirds of the way through the longest month of the year

Robert “Bob” Huttle, posing here next to Cliff House, spent the night in this cabin in April 1934 and mused about a possible murder there. (Photo courtesy of the Huttle Collection)
Twists and turns in the history of Cliff House — Part 2

How much of the doctor’s actions Bob Huttle knew when he stayed in Cliff House 10 years later is difficult to know.

Achieving the crispy, flaky layers of golden goodness of a croissant require precision and skill. (Photo by Tresa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
On the strawberry patch: Reaching the pinnacle of patisserie

Croissants take precision and skill, but the results can be delightful

This 1940s-era image is one of few early photographs of Cliff House, which once stood near the head of Tustumena Lake. (Photo courtesy of the Secora Collection)
Twists and turns in the history of Cliff House — Part 1

Here, then, is the story of Cliff House, as least as I know it now.

File
Minister’s Message: What’s in a name?

The Scriptures advise, “A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches.”

Visitors put on personal protective equipment before an artist talk by Dr. Sami Ali' at the Jan. 7, 2022, First Friday opening of her exhibit, "The Mind of a Healthcare Worker During the COVID-19 Pandemic," at the Homer Council on the Arts in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
ER doctor’s paintings follow passage of pandemic

Dr. Sami Ali made 2019 resolution to paint every day — and then the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

Almond flour adds a nuttiness to this carrot cake topped with cream cheese frosting. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
On the strawberry patch: A ‘perfect day’ cake

Carrot cake and cream cheese frosting make for a truly delicious day off

Most Read