Scratch-cooking continues with a bold and beautiful Thai red curry, that’s vegan by default! The star ingredient is the homemade red curry paste, blitzed together with fiery red chillies and a fragrant hit of herbs, aromatics and essential spices. The final dish is a classic Thai red curry – vivid in its colourful intensity and rich in its creamy base of flavours suffused with shades of heat! Yes, it’s definitely time to ditch the take-out and have a gander at stirring up your soon-to-be favourite Thai recipe at home.
Key Ingredients For The Red Curry Paste
- Dried red chillies (Kashmiri chillies work well)
- Kaffir lime leaves
- Galangal (also known as Thai ginger)
- Lemongrass stalks (with the leaves discarded)
- Garlic cloves
- Black or white peppercorns
You can store leftover red curry paste in an airtight container in your fridge for up to a week (to use for other recipes which require red curry paste); or in the freezer for up to a couple of months.
Tips For Making The Vegan Thai Red Curry
- Vegetables: you can add 2-3 cups of chopped veggies of your choice. Red and yellow pepper (cubed); baby corn; green beans; diced carrots; zucchini slices etc. work well, but be sure to also add baby brinjals to cut the spiciness of the curry to palatable levels and/ or pea brinjals to release aromatic flavours.
- Coconut milk: water: I recommend using using a cup (250 ml) of coconut milk and about 150-200 ml of water for a creamier consistency. You can use more water if you would prefer to thin down your curry, or less if you’d prefer a thicker creamier curry.
- Kick of umami: vegan fysh sauce from Urban Platter is always my secret ingredient for adding a salty hint of umami and amplifying the depth of flavours in Asian cooking. You can alternatively use light soy sauce if you don’t have any vegan fysh sauce at hand.
- Calibrating the spice level: be sure to throw in a few whole pieces of birds eye chillies to infuse a spicy slant. You can also add coconut sugar/ jaggery to adjust the level of sweetness.
Vegan Thai Red Curry (From Scratch)
To make the red curry paste
- 9-10 dried red chillies (you can use Kashimiri chillies)
- 3-4 garlic cloves
- 4-5 kaffir lime leaves
- 1 inch galangal
- 2 lemongrass stalks (each about 2 inches tall), finely chopped
- 1 medium-sized onion
- ½ tsp coriander powder (alternatively, use 1 tsp of coriander seeds, toasted)
- ½ tsp cumin powder (alternatively, use 1 tsp of cumin seeds, toasted)
- pinch of white or black peppercorns
- salt to taste
For the red curry
- 1-2 tbsp coconut oil
- ½-1 tbsp sesame oil (for cooking the mushrooms)
- 2 tbsp red curry paste
- 250 ml coconut milk
- 150-200 ml water
- 2-3 cups chopped veggies of choice (baby brinjals; pea brinjals red pepper; baby corn; green beans; diced carrots; zucchini etc would work well)
- 2-3 large King Oyster mushrooms (optional; alternatively add mushrooms of choice)
- 2 tbsp vegan fysh sauce (optional; can replace with light soy sauce)
- 1-2 tbsp jaggery (as needed)
- 1-2 small birds eye chillies (for garnishing)
Make the red curry paste
- Deseed the red chillies before soaking them in warm water for 15 minutes. Drain, reserving 1-2 tbsp of the water.
- Blitz together the red chillies along with the remaining ingredients for the curry paste, adding 1 tbsp of the reserved water (from step 1) if required. The final paste will be slightly wet and very moist.
Prepare the curry
- Heat the coconut oil in a wok.
- Once hot, add the red curry paste, sautéeing for a few minutes until fragrant.
- Next, add in the veggies and stir constantly for 3 -5 minutes so that all the veggies are evenly coated with the paste.
- Reduce the heat to low and pour in the coconut milk. Let the curry simmer on the stove for 15-20 minutes or so, until the veggies are almost cooked through and the coconut milk has absorbed the rich flavours of the paste and vegetables.
- Add 150-200 ml of water (adjust depending on desired consistency, e.g. adding more to thin down the curry).
- In a separate pan, heat a tbsp of sesame oil and cook the mushrooms until just browned and fragrant. Remove and set aside.
- Taste the curry and season with vegan fysh sauce/ light soy sauce and adjust sweetness by adding jaggery as per preference.
- Take the curry off the stove. Add in the cooked mushrooms and garnish with birds eye chillis, basil and/ or kaffir lime leaves. Serve hot, preferably with jasmine sticky rice!
- You can store leftover red curry paste in an airtight container in your fridge for up to a week (to use for other recipes which require red curry paste); or in the freezer for up to a couple of months.
- I used vegan fysh sauce from Urban Platter.
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