I lived in Hong Kong for two years, back before the handover in 1997. I hadn’t really experienced Thai food before, but really grew to love it, and of course all ingredients were readily available in Hong Kong. We also travelled frequently to Thailand and the food we had there was out of this world, like nothing I had experienced before. We ate regularly at a Thai restaurant in Hong Kong called the Chilli Club, we joked that you came in through the door and went out through the roof!
When I first came back to live in the UK 25 years ago the ingredients I had been used to were not readily available, but over time they have become more commonplace. My Thai style recipes tend to be a bit more cautious with the amount of Chilli I use, unlike many authentic recipes. This recipe might seem a bit excessive in the amount of chillies used, but with all the other ingredients it balances out well. Thai food should taste salty, sour and hot.
I use a very good Thai cookery book written by David Thompson, who has a renowned Thai restaurant in Hong Kong, Aaharn. He refers to birds eye chillies as scuds (missiles!) So beware which type of chilli you use, as it could seriously alter the heat of your curry.
Galangal may not be available, you can use the ready prepared paste if you like, but ginger is fine to use too. When you can get fresh galangal give it a try as it really alters the taste.
If you can’t get shrimp paste, just leave it out and maybe add a little more fish sauce.
The blocks of palm sugar are really well worth seeking out and will keep for ages. If you can’t get any just add light soft brown sugar.
There is quite a bit of chopping to do, but once you have gathered your ingredients together it is really easy to make.
I also try to show you how to master cooking a Thai paste, by “cracking” coconut cream. It’s very handy to know that if you freeze a can of coconut milk it will separate in to the cream and water, giving you much cheaper coconut cream. When you buy a can of coconut milk, give it a shake and if it doesn’t slosh about it has already separated.
I hope you enjoy this, it is really worth the effort, and you can always make double of the paste and it freezes well, so next time you will be able to make this in double quick time.
This recipe also works really well with lamb too. I cooked jasmine rice, and chapatis to go with it, but that is maybe a little overkill- triple carbs!
For my version of a chapati go to my Ali Bilton Chapatis recipe.
For my fragrant jasmine rice go to my Ali Bilton Fragrant Jasmine Rice recipe. https://www.alibiltoncooks.com/post/fragrant-jasmine-rice