Thai Yellow curry is one of the staple food of Thai people and probably there are hundreds of recipes to make this mildly spiced, highly aromatic curry.
The Thai yellow curry, also known as Gaeng leuang in local language, varies from rest of Thai curries, namely, Red Thai curry, Green Thai curry, Masamam Curry etc, in terms of heat quotient and colour. I have tried green Thai curry and didn’t liked it much, and though Masamam curry tastes good, but I use the Masamam paste to make Masamam rice, and never the curry. Thai food is not often cooked at my home, hence I haven’t got chance to experiment much with the flavors and textures of various Thai curries. But when I recently tasted Thai yellow curry at a friend’s home, I liked the subtly sweet and aromatic flavors of it. I googled some recipes and referred some recipe books and finally after few trials and errors, I nailed down the flavors that please our palettes. This is not ‘The Authentic Thai Yellow Curry‘ as I couldn’t find some ingredients required in traditional curries. Also, I customized the recipe to make it pleasantly sour by adding tomato and raw mango in vegetable stock along with dry lemon grass. And since Kaffir lime leaves were unavailable, I added a Bay leaf instead (Not a good substitute, I know, but it imparted it’s own flavor in a beautiful way). I used whole, dried Kashmiri Red chillies, instead of Thai chillies. Hence it won’t be wrong if we call this curry as Indo-Thai curry.
The Thai curry pastes are available in grocery stores, and so are the tetra packs and cans of Coconut milk, but since I avoid using any packaged/frozen/canned food for cooking our meals, I preferred to make the paste and coconut milk from scratch. No big deal, I swear! It does need a little bit of preparation but it makes sure that you are serving your family the chemical /preservative/radiation free food.
Ingredients to make Indo-Thai Yellow Curry:
For Yellow paste: (makes around 21/2 tbsp of paste)
- 1 tbsp cumin seeds
- 2 tsp coriander seeds
- 2 dry red chillies (Kashmiri or Thai chillies, soaked for 15 min, in 1 cup of warm water)
- 6 cloves of garlic (peeled)
- 11/2 inch piece of Galangal, locally known as Kulinjan ( I used normal ginger)
- 1 small red onion or 2-3 shallots , peeled and diced ( broiled or raw, either will do)
- 2 tsp Vinegar
- Pinch of sugar
For vegetable stock:
- 1 Orange carrot, peeled and diced
- 1 Red carrot, peeled and diced
- 3-4 french beans, tip off the ends and cut the beans into 2
- 2-3 florets of Cauliflower (with stem)
- Few spinach leaves
- 2-3 button mushrooms, wiped clean and diced
- 1-2 stalks of lemon grass (Fresh or dry)
- 1/2 green capsicum, diced
- 1 tomato cut into two
- 1 -2 green chillies
- 4-5 cups of water
- Few kaffir lime leaves ( I used 1 bayleaf )
- Half raw mango (Optional)
Vegetables for curry
- 1 Orange carrot, peeled and diced
- 4-5 French beans, cut into slants of 1 inch
- 5-6 button mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced/diced
- 1 small head of Broccoli (Separate the florets using hands)
- 5-6 tender baby corns (Use whole if small , or else cut into 1 inch pieces)
- 1 small Yellow capsicum (discard the seeds and cut into large chunks/dices)
- 1 Red capsicum ( discard the seeds and cut into large chunks/dices)
For Coconut Milk:
- 1/2 fresh coconut, grated
- 1-2 cups warm water
- 1 tsp or more of Turmeric powder
- Salt as per taste
- 1/2 tsp Lemongrass powder
- 1 tbsp of oil
- Basil leaves (Optional)
- 1/2 tsp or more of Sugar
To make Vegetable stock:
- In a pressure cooker, put all the vegetables listed under ‘For Vegetable stock’ list, except tomato and lemongrass. Saute for a while and add around 4-5 cups of water. Add tomato and lemon grass and close the lid of cooker.
- Wait for 5 whistles (or after 1st whistle of pressure cooker, lower the flame and let the broth simmer under pressure for 4-6 minutes). Put off the flame and let the pressure subside. Strain the broth and keep it aside.
To make Yellow paste:
- Dry roast on griddle, the cumin and coriander seeds till aromatic, without letting them turn into darker shades (roast on low flame). Cool well.
- Discard the water in which red chillies were soaked.
- Now grind/blend all the ingredients listed under ‘For yellow paste’, including the roasted cumin seeds, coriander seeds and soaked red chillies. Use few drops of water, if needed, and make a smooth paste.This is our Yellow curry paste
To make Coconut milk:
- Grate the fresh coconut and add 1-2 cups of warm water to it. After 10-15 minutes, blend it till smoother in texture. Strain well using muslin cloth or cheese cloth. Add some more water, if needed , so as to make at least 11/2 cups of coconut milk.
Finally To make Indo Thai veg yellow curry:
- In a pot or pan, take 1 tbsp of oil and add the yellow curry paste. Cook well for 2 minutes and add all the vegetables, except the capsicums. Add salt, turmeric powder and bit of sugar and mix well. Let the vegetables absorb some flavors of aromatic curry paste. After 2-3 minutes, add the reserved vegetable stock (broth) and let the mixture come to a boil. Use as much stock as much the quantity of curry is required. Reserve some stock if excess or add some water if stock is less.
- Simmer the curry till vegetables are almost cooked. Add capsicums, lemongrass powder and taste to adjust the seasonings. If curry is less salty, add bit of salt, if less tart, add some lemon juice. If less spicy, then add some black pepper powder. But do not add any sugar even if the curry tastes less sweet, because we are yet to add the coconut milk.
- Now add around 1 1/2 cups of coconut milk and let the curry simmer for few minutes.DO NOT LET THE CURRY BOIL, or else the coconut milk might curdle. Add some basil leaves (optional…I didn’t liked the flavor of basil in this curry, hence I skipped it when I made this curry for second time).
- Finally taste the curry again and adjust the seasonings.
- Serve with plain steamed rice, preferably Jasmine rice (It tastes equally good with Basmati rice or even Kolam rice).