I've been in love with Indian-style (ok, English-style pub curry) for so long I make it on auto-pilot at least once every few weeks. Thanks to http://foodporndaily.com/ I now get random urges for whatever happens to be there. One day mentioned red Thai curry and off I went. To my eternal shame I don't own shrimp paste (you likely don't either) and I wasn't about to take off for Somerset street in the middle of a blizzard. The vegetarian alternative is to use some soy sauce to at least replace the salty/savory that would be missing.
* 2 large onions, chopped
* 1 stalk lemongrass, minced ( see instructions below) OR 2 Tbsp. frozen prepared lemongrass (available at Asian stores)
* 1-2 red chilies, OR 1/2 to 1 tsp. cayenne pepper, OR 1-2 tsp. Thai chili sauce
* 4 cloves garlic
* 1 thumb-size piece ginger, sliced
* 2 Tbsp. tomato ketchup (OR 2 Tbsp. tomato paste + 1/2 tsp sugar) * 1 tsp. ground cumin
* 1 tsp. ground coriander
* 1 tsp. ground pepper
* 3 Tbsp. fish sauce (OR 4 Tbsp. soy sauce if vegetarian)
* 1-2 tsp. shrimp paste (omit if vegetarian)
* 1 Tbsp. sugar
* 2 Tbsp. regular chili powder
* 1/4 can good-quality coconut milk (or just enough to keep the blades turning), reserve remaining for the curry*
* 2 Tbsp. fresh-squeezed lime juice
* Optional: 1/2 tsp. cinnamon (OR add 1 cinnamon stick to your curry pot)
1. For complete instructions on how to buy and cook with lemongrass, see: All About Lemongrass: Your Guide to Buying, Preparing, and Cooking with Lemongrass.
2. Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and process well to create a fragrant Thai red curry paste. (Note that it will taste very strong at this point.) 3. To use immediately, fry the paste in a little oil to release flavors before adding your choice of meat, tofu, wheat gluten, or vegetables.
4. Add remaining can of coconut milk to create the curry sauce (*I cheated and added the whole can into the food processor, hence it's not very "red").
5. At this point, you're basically making a stew. I added two diced carrots and one diced green pepper. A chopped lemongrass, baby corn, bamboo shoots, thin strips of chicken, go nuts.
6. Serve with a mix of chopped cilantro and fresh basil.
The chicken? I tossed it with flour seasoned with curry powder, garam masala, salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder. Baked it for an hour at 350C. Easy.