Thursday, May 17, 2012

Recipe: Curry Paste with Fresh Galangal

Flowering galangal  Alpinia galanga
One of the fantastic things about living in the sub-tropics is being able to grow your own spice garden - ginger, chillies, kaffir lime, lemon grass, betel leaf, curry leaf, turmeric, coriander, cinnamon, Thai basil, Vietnamese mint, bay leaves, galangal, macadamia, pandan, lime, lemon - and they also make fantastic landscaping plants!

I came across this really versatile recipe recently and have been making it for a couple of seasons - usually at this time of year when the galangal is ready for harvesting.  You use the root rhizome - it looks a lot like ginger.  The aromatic leaves can also be used to wrap food before cooking on the barbecue


Betel leaf prawns with galangal paste
You can store portions of it in the freezer and use it when necessary. I usually make a large batch - it's makes a very useful addition to you freezer larder.

1.  It's great mixed with pumpkin/sweet potato/cauliflower with some coconut cream added for an instant curry. 

2.  One of my favourites though is with fresh prawns or a nice piece of fresh, fleshy white fish.  For this I just flash fry the fish/prawns with extra garlic, fresh chilli and add the galangal paste with a small can of coconut cream.  A little extra salt and a few fresh kaffir lime leaves and it's done in about 10 minutes.

3.  Also great with a tablespoon added to stir fried green beans and some toasted macadamias/almond flakes.

4.  Betel leaf grows easily around here and a spoonful of galangal paste added to some stir-fried prawns and topped with chopped peanuts, coriander, chilli and lime juice make a great appetizer.

GALANGAL PASTE


100ml peanut oil
1 medium onion diced
100gm grated fresh galangal
6 garlic gloves, crushed
100gm grated fresh ginger
3 large red chillies
5 kaffir limes leaves
1/2 bunch fresh coriander
500gm tomatoes
125gm palm sugar
100ml fish sauce
200ml water
salt to taste

1.  Heat oil - add everything except palm sugar, fish sauce and water.  Cook for 5-7mins.
2.  Add palm sugar, fish sauce and water and simmer for about 30 mins until oil comes to surface.  Stick blend.  

Now what could be easier than that  - with most of the fresh ingredients coming from the garden?!!

The galangal is the pink ginger looking plant in the above photo.  It adds a sweet, aromatic pungency to Thai and Indonesian dishes.  Dried, it is a basic ingredient of Thai Tom Yum soups.  You just slice up the root and dry it in trays in the sun then store in an airtight container.
The finished galangal paste


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