It occured to me a a little while ago while grocery shopping, whilst America prides itself on being multi-racial, from where I am looking at it (Long Island, NY) it doesn’t seem to be particularly multicultural … at least where food is concerned.
There is a large selection of supermarkets (Waldbaum, Stop n Shop, Pathmark, IGA, King Kullen to name a few) however nearly the whole extent of their international grocery selection amounts to Spanish and/or Mexican foods and if you are lucky you might be able to find some Indian curry pastes and if you really hit jackpot, then some Thai Green Curry or Laksa paste, or even better still some shrimp paste and the other fixings to make your own Thai Green Curry paste from scratch .
A few years ago when my husband (DH) first came to visit myself and my daughter (DD) in Australia, I couldn’t work out why he was like a kid in a candy store where food was concerned. I honestly hadn’t realised just how lucky Australians (as a whole) are when it comes to their exposure to other cultures and the ease of availability and variety of foods in a general sense.It often amazed both myself and friends in the past, how so many US based websites with recipes and similar, the recipes have tended to rely on prepackaged/manufactured ingredients of some sort somewhere in the list of ingredients. Now after having lived and shopped here for a number of months, I’ve realized when looking for things in the supermarkets, in a lot of instances it is usually cheaper and easier to buy a packet/bottle/tin of ready made marinade/soup/”insert product here” to use, than try to find or even afford to buy the fresh or dried herbs, spices and seasonings that quite a few recipes might call for. It’s not a criticism, merely an observation. Maybe I’m simply not shopping in the right supermarkets??
I must admit I was rather spoilt where I used to live. Within walking distance there was a Middle Eastern community, the shopping center having bakeries with fresh daily Turkish and Lebanese breads, pastries and desserts, Kibbeh, Falafel and all manner of delish foods; one suburb over there were Chinese butchers, along with Indian, Sth African, Thai and Chinese grocery stores where I could spend hours just perusing the herb and spice aisles, along with the arrays of ‘exotic’ fresh produce.
All is not as grim as it initially seemed, as I did manage to find what looks like a wonderful online store eFood Depot that seems to have most of what I am used to having been able to find in the majority of traditional supermarkets back in Australia; so I guess Thai Green Curry is FINALLY back on the menu after all, WAHOOOOOOOOOOooo!
This recipe for Thai Green Curry Paste is by no means authentic, however it is delicious! This will give you approx 1C of paste. It doesn’t freeze well, however it will keep in the fridge in an airtight jar for a couple of months.
Recipe for Thai Green CurryIngredients
- 2tb coriander seeds
- 2tsp cumin seeds
- 20 small green hot thai chillies
- 6tb chopped shallots
- 2tb chopped garlic
- 2tsp chopped galangal (if you can’t get galangal then do the unforgiveable and substitute ginger)
- 2tb chopped lemon grass
- 1tsp finely grated kaffir lime rind
- 2tsp chopped coriander
- 8 peppercorns
- 2tsp shrimp paste
- 1tsp finely chopped cilantro root (not leaf)
- 1tsp salt
- Over a low heat, dry fry the coriander and cumin seeds for a few minutes. Grind these into a powder (I find a good old fashioned mortar and pestle works well, however a spice grinder would probably do the job just as nicely)
- You can do this in a blender but personally I prefer to grind it manually with mortar and pestle as I’m too lazy to drag the blender out to use then have to also wash it up, for such a small task.
- Except for the coriander/cumin seed mix and the shrimp paste, start grinding all the rest of the ingredients together. When fairly well mashed, add the coriander/cummin seed mix and then the shrimp paste and blend until you get a fairly even textured and fine paste.
To make the curry:
- Simmer 2Tbspns Thai Green Curry Paste in approx 14oz coconut milk for approx 5mins
- Add two skinless chicken breasts that have been chopped into bite sized pieces, along with 2Tbspns fish sauce, 2Tbspns brown sugar and approx 1/3C chicken stock.
- Simmer on a low heat for approx 15-20mins until the chicken is cooked through.
- Serve with rice