Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Green (Day) Thai Curry

O.K., so before the purists get their self-righteous panties in a twist, I confess for the record that yes, I do like Green Day. There, I said it. And I also happen not to really give a rat's backside about whether they are real punks or posers. Their music is fun: it makes me feel like jumping up on tables and kicking crockery to the floor. Glorious, mindless, somewhat infantile fun. We all need that every once in a while. Get over it.

Now that we got that out of the way, let's talk about food! And another, equally fun, but somewhat more "serious" punk band.

I had prepared a big pot of this curry not that long ago, when I came back from a long weekend in Toronto, but by some devilry, all the pictures I took of it inexplicably vanished from my computer AND camera... so I had to start all over again... *deep breath* Here we go!

It takes a lot to get me off the island of Montreal, but wanting to see my favorite band live is a huge motivation that will get me into action-hero mode. That's just the kind of crazy I am, so on May 23rd, I packed a bag and dragged my boyfriend to Toronto for the sole purpose of seeing Anti-Flag destroy the Hard Luck Bar two nights in a row. Yup, that's how much I love those guys!

I had a complete blast, pogoed like a maniac, hurt my ankle (still don't really know how I did that...), ate some awesome food, saw the Patti Smith exhibit: really good times! And of course, the two shows were mind-blowing! There is a reason I am willing to travel over 500 km (300 miles, for my American buddies) to see those guys: they are fucking awesome!

But I was less than impressed upon my return, to find my beautiful Montreal under a cold and rainy sky reminiscent of what you'd expect in March... Sigh...

Curries are my favorite comfort food when the weather is chilly, because they are stick-to-your-ribs chunky and the mix of spices is very warming, so I decided to play around with what I had in the fridge and make a Thai curry that would keep me from shivering too much as I unpacked. It got nicknamed the Green Day curry because everything I threw in it (except the tofu and mushrooms) was green.

It got inspired by Nancie McDermott's method in "Real Vegetarian Thai", but the recipe is just as easily adaptable for vegans (use soy sauce) or carnivores (use chicken), but I kept this version vegetarian, mostly because it could be my culinary homage to Anti-Flag, who are vegetarians. By the way guys, if you are reading this and are ever in Montreal, I would be thrilled to whip up a big pot of this green wonder for you! (yes, yes: I am a hopeless fan-girl, piss off!)

1 (15-ounce) can coconut milk
3 tablespoons green curry paste
1 zucchini, cut into half-moons
1 bunch scallions, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 tablespoon cane sugar
2 tablespoons fish sauce or soy sauce
1 lime, juiced
1 pound extra-firm tofu, drained and pressed, cut into small cubes
1 container shiitake mushroom, stems removed, and chopped
1 green bell pepper, diced
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped

Shake the can of coconut milk. Open it and spoon about 1/3 cup of it in a large pot and bring to a gentle boil over medium heat. Cook, stirring, until it thickens, about 3 minutes. Add the curry paste and cook for 3 more minutes, mashing, scraping and stirring until the paste is completely combined with the coconut milk (this is where an angled stir-fry spatula comes in handy).

Add the zucchini and scallions, and stir to coat them well in the curry paste.

Add the remaining coconut milk, vegetable stock, sugar, fish sauce (or soy sauce) and lime juice, and stir well.

Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, until the zucchini is tender. Taste the broth and adjust the seasoning. Add the tofu, mushrooms and bell pepper and stir gently. If you need to, add vegetable broth until the ingredients are just covered in liquid.

Let the curry return to a boil and remove from the heat. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving on jasmine rice, sprinkled with the fresh cilantro.

By the time I was done chopping everything, the sun had finally managed to get through the big grey clouds that welcomed me back home, but a big plate of those delicious veggies in a spicy, creamy broth really hit the spot. It was the perfect meal to enjoy after the long train ride and the eventful weekend, because it's easy to make and ready super quickly, which is a huge plus if you are starving because train food is... questionable...

This recipe is great to use up any vegetables that are laying around in the fridge, lonesome and forgotten, so you can adapt it to whatever you have left before going to the grocery store; just remember to add the firmer vegetables first, and the softer ones at the end!

I should also give a spice warning: green curry is the hottest Thai curry (yellow is the mildest, and red is in the middle), and while it has a wonderful and exotic flavor, if you have sensitive taste buds, go easy on the curry paste! There is also no need to add garlic or ginger (or galangal, which is the Thai ginger) to a green curry, because there is already a lot of those (along with lemongrass, white peppercorns and lime zest) in the paste. The heat will be smoothed out by the coconut milk, but you can add a bit of cane sugar if you prefer a sweeter bite.

Enjoy the curry... and up the punx!!


  1. Ohhh going to have to try this! We have green curry paste sitting in the cupboard that is begging to be used!

    1. It was really delicious! I used Thai Kitchen green curry paste, and the flavor is amazing! Let me know how it goes!