By Fae: Speaking of a woman who evolves with time, she gets better and better…
Angie of The Novice Gardener is who! And, by the way, there is nothing ‘novice’ about her
in anything she touches or sets her mind to.
I call her the ‘renaissance woman’. A multi-talented woman who started writing about her garden, which developed into sharing her stunning looking recipes, she has even given us a sneak peek into
her painting skills and jewelry making (oh, I’m sure there must be more). Angie has marvelous photographic talent, showcased by photographs of her creations. If you thought it stops there,
no, no, no… ten weeks ago, Angie started hosting the Fiesta Friday series, a gathering of foodie bloggers and non-foodie bloggers to get to know and support one-another. It’s been a success from Fiesta #1!
Holding a degree in journalism, Angie’s writing entertains you, bringing humor and joy to your reading while you are enjoying visually as well. I am proud to call this sublime, generous, talented woman my friend and love being called her BFF!
And now, it is time for the one-and-only Angie to take over!
This post is long overdue. Not just because I’ve been working on it for what seems like forever, but also because I’ve been looking forward to writing a guest post for Fae@Fae’s Twist and Tango for even longer than forever. This tells me that I should never work without a deadline. No deadline is deadly for me.
So, I’ve been wanting to tackle Thai food for a while now. It is one of my most favorite foods in the world. Somehow, though, that doesn’t necessarily translate into more Thai food being cooked in my kitchen. The reason? It’s pretty darn complicated. The list of ingredients alone can get you pretty much discouraged. Then the grinding and pounding of the spices doubles up as a big “don’t even bother.”
It’s much easier to just go out and eat Thai food in a restaurant. Leave this complicated cuisine in the hands of the pros. Am I right? Of course, I’m wrong. Just like anything else, once you familiarize yourself with it, there’s nothing to fear anymore.
Besides, guest blogging for Fae makes you want to push yourself, to venture outside your comfort zone.
I wanted to make something worthy of Fae’s blog. Her recipes range from the exotic to the exemplary. They’re not your run-of-the-mill recipes. They have an international flair to them. I didn’t want to just make sugar cookies. There’s no point in that. My BFF (Blogger Friends Forever) Fae may have disagreed, for she is one of those very gracious and gentle souls I’ve ever encountered in the blogsphere.
I took the challenge on my own. Especially when I saw that Fae didn’t have an entry from Thailand yet. Also, I want to give her a proper send-off with something special. As you know, Fae is about to embark on a 2-month long travel around the world, so it seems. Who knows, maybe Thailand is on the list of places she’ll visit. So here’s my Thai Red Curry. A guest post worthy enough, I hope, to be published on Fae’s Twist and Tango. Thank you for the opportunity, Miss Fae. And Bon Voyage!
Lamb Chops with Thai Red Curry Sauce
Recipe by: Angie of The Novice Gardner (thenovicegardener.wordpress.com)
Kaeng Khua Curry Paste
This is the basic Thai red curry paste. There are other versions of Thai red curry, including Massaman and Phanaeng curries. They both use Khaeng Khua as the base, but in each curry, additional spices are added to give it its distinct taste. For my lamb chops, I decided to give it my own twist & tango. I added spices that I thought would go well with lamb.
♦ 5 dried red chillies, soaked in hot water for about 15 minutes
♦ 3 tbsp chopped shallots
♦ 2 tbsp chopped garlic
♦ 1 tbsp chopped lemon grass
♦ 2 tsp chopped galangal (available fresh or frozen at Asian markets)
♦ 1 tsp chopped makrut/keiffer * lime rind (or substitute with Persian or Key lime)
♦ 1 tsp chopped cilantro root (if unavailable, omit)
♦ 2 tsp salt
♦ 1 tsp shrimp paste (This is very strong-smelling, so optional if you don’t like the smell,
but it does add authenticity to overall taste.)
◊ In a blender, put all ingredients except the shrimp paste and blend until well mixed. Then, add the shrimp paste and blend once more until a fine paste is formed. You can add 1 tbsp of water if needed, just to get the blender going. Or alternately, you can pound the ingredients in a mortar and pestle; it’s a good arm exercise. This yields about 3/4 cup of curry paste.
* Note: The lime rind used in Thai cuisine is from Citrus Hystrix, a sour little lime that has the characteristic of a bumpy skin/rind, unlike the smooth rind of Persian or Key lime. It used to be and is still called “kaffir” lime. However, I have since learned that the word is highly offensive to some cultures, so I have pretty much stopped using it in my recipes. I use it here in this explanation, but only because I need to provide an explanation.
Lamb Chops in Thai Red Curry Sauce
♦ 3 lamb chops
♦ 1 -2 tbsp olive oil
♦ 4 tbsp Kaeng Khua Curry Paste
♦ 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
♦ 1 tsp coriander seeds
♦ 1 tsp cumin seeds
♦ 1 tsp paprika
♦ 1/2 tsp turmeric
♦ 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
♦ 1/2 cup coconut milk
♦ 1/2 cup beef or chicken stock or water
♦ Salt as needed
1. Toast all dry spices in a small pan on medium heat to bring out the flavor. Grind spices either in a coffee mill or mortar and pestle.
2. In a skillet, heat olive oil at medium-high heat. Sear lamb chops until brown all around,
about 2-3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
3. Add more oil to the skillet and stir fry the curry paste until it’s fragrant and starts to separate from the oil, about 1-2 minutes. Add the dry spice mix and stir briefly to combine.
4. Add coconut milk and stock and bring mixture to a boil.
5. Add lamb chops back to the skillet and continue cooking until lamb is cooked and sauce is reduced and thickened.
6. Transfer to a platter. Sprinkle cilantro or mint leaves. Serve with rice.
You can serve ground sumac on the side, if you like. It wouldn’t be Thai at all, but it adds a wonderful tangy flavor to the lamb. Plus, I have plenty of dry sumac berries waiting to be used.
Wow Angie! I truly am speechless. I will not be stopping in Thailand, but now that I have seen this dish,
I wouldn’t mind going back to Thailand very soon. Thank you my friend. I am grateful for this send off, my special bon voyage!