GEORGE’s coming-of-age today calls for an April-green, white-and-gold menu of Green Thai curry that will accommodate carnivorous granny and vegan girlfriend equally comfortably. There are ripe mangoes in the market, which will be a good complement, with plain rice, and then fried bananas and coconut ice-cream to follow.
This would be a good menu for a parish lunch, when you are catering for a large number and different dietary needs, but the quantities I have given here are for about four people.
1 stalk lemongrass, bruised and finely chopped
1-3 green chilies
4 cloves garlic
1 knob of ginger, thinly sliced
½ cup fresh coriander
½ cup fresh basil
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground white pepper
½ teaspoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon soy sauce
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon brown sugar
3-4 tablespoons coconut milk
coconut oil for frying (or vegetable oil)
chicken breasts, or 2 packs of tofu, cubed
red and green peppers, cut into strips
courgettes, cut into batons
fresh basil leaves, torn
Blend all the green curry paste ingredients together in a food processor, using as much coconut milk as you need to reach a manageable consistency, and work them to a paste. Heat a wok or large frying pan, and oil it carefully, adding the green curry paste. After it has cooked for a minute, add another dash of coconut milk.
Add the chicken or tofu pieces (divide the sauce between two woks if you are cooking for vegetarians and chicken-eaters) and bring up to the boil. Then turn down the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes, until the chicken (if you are using chicken) is cooked through. Test the seasoning and add a little more soy sauce, coconut milk, lime juice, or chili, to balance the flavours. Add the vegetables and basil leaves and cook until heated through, but still crisp.
Serve with a garnish of more basil, and a splash of coconut milk, with a dish of rice and slices of mango.
To make a simple Vegan coconut ice-cream, you need:
2 tins full-fat coconut milk (not low fat)
¾ to 1 cup sugar or agave syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
Combine the coconut milk with the sugar, vanilla, and salt in a blender, and blend until smooth. Freeze, beating every so often, to keep it soft, or put it in an ice-cream maker. For the fried bananas, peel one per person, and wrap them in one spring-roll wrapper or a sheet of filo pastry, sealing the edge with a little water. Fry in coconut oil for 2 to 3 minutes. Serve them hot with a scoop of coconut ice-cream.