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Green Curry, my discovery and my recipe (with Crab)

Living in the Midwest, we simply did not become aware of Thai cuisine until the late 70’s.  It was then that many displaced persons from Southeast Asia began to settle in the Midwest, bringing with them extraordinary flavors and colorful food.  My first experience was a business trip to Des Moines.  We had an exhibit to install at the State Fair which would take us three days and two nights.  The same thing now would be put up in an hour or so, but this was before computers, and giant banner printing.  So we had to start with building the booth.

This was not a city where we spent a lot of time.  The Art museum is on the edge of town.  And the downtown in the 70’s was defunct.  The search was on for food.  We also did not have an app to help us locate the nearest restaurant.  Instead, when we left the Fairgrounds we would traverse the streets of Des Moines from various directions, taking a different route each time back to the hotel.

One afternoon, we were on Walnut street and a small sign caught our eye, Thai.  Being hungry we stopped.  That one stop changed the way I would approach food the rest of my life.  We had a crispy, sweet fish with rice and Green Curry with chicken.  The combination of the sweet fish and umami spicy hot curry did things to my pallet I did not know were possible!  And the endorphins from the spice left me with a wonderful feeling after the meal.  That said, I am now always ready for more Green Curry!  What follows is my recipe.  I wanted to create a seafood Green Curry recipe, but because good fresh seafood is not always available, I wanted to be able to make the dish from the pantry shelf.  So this recipe is made with canned crab, but you could use fresh crab or another protein.  If you are Pescatarian then substitute the chicken broth with vegetable or fish stock.

Green Curry with Crab

gaaeng khiaao gap bpuu

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion
1 clove garlic
2 14 ounce cans low sodium low-fat chicken broth
1 14 ounce can Thai Kitchen Premium Coconut Milk
1 can white crab meat
2 tablespoons Thai Kitchen Green Curry Paste
2 tablespoons Thai Kitchen Premium Fish Sauce
juice of one half medium lime
lime wedges for serving.

This soup is a wonderfully complex set of flavours. Based on traditional Thai sweet green curry, the sweetness for the soup is derived from caramelizing onion, rather than adding sugar or molasses. The crab adds a surprise note of flavour as well as an interesting texture for the soup

Chop onion and garlic fine.  Place onion in a 2 quart pan with the olive oil. Cook over medium flame until transparent. Lower heat, continue to cook until the onion caramelizes and is a beautiful golden color. This may take several minutes on low heat, but it will keep the onion from burning.  Add the garlic.

Add chick broth. Bring to a boil. Simmer for 15 minutes or until the broth reduces slightly (if you already have a rich reduced chicken broth, this step can be omitted; you can also microwave the broth for several minutes to reduce the canned broth).

Add crab meat, Thai Kitchen Green Curry Paste and Fish Sauce. Bring to a simmer;  and cook on low for 5 minutes.
Add fresh lime juice and reheat.
Serve as a first course with tiny lime wedges on the side.

The dish is spicy hot.  Traditionally served with rice, which can be on the side, or place a scoop of rice in the bowl and ladle curry on top.

 

 

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