Six years ago when we went to Australia I came back with a signed copy of David Thompson’s Thai Street Food. I am still not quite sure how I was able to bring it back with me on the plane. It is a monster of a book and weighs a ton and must have taken up most of my luggage allowance all by itself.
I had it out yesterday as I was looking for another prawn curry to make.
Once assembled it was fairly straightforward. A lot of the recipes in the book involve the making of a paste. This means getting out a heavy pestle and mortar and spending the best part of an hour chopping and pounding.
The spices were done first – a mixture of cumin, coriander and fennel seeds which all had to be roasted and then ground to a powder. They were mixed with some mace and white pepper.
In the meantime some dried red chillies had been soaking. Once soft they were chopped and ground to a paste with some salt, a couple of cloves of garlic were then added to the mix and ground down as well. They were followed by coriander roots, lemon grass, red shallots, galangal and turmeric. I was able to find some fresh turmeric roots in The International Store and they have stained everything a bright yellow. The spice mixture was stirred in.
I was left with a thick brown pungent paste.
This went into a wok to be fried off with some coconut milk. As it started to stick I tipped in the rest of the coconut milk, stirred in some sugar along with an onion that been chopped into chances and a couple of cubed cooked potatoes. As it all started to cook I added the raw prawns and a couple of handfuls of split cherry tomatoes. Once the prawns were pink I seasoned it with fish sauce and chilli powder.
We ate it with boiled rice and cucumber relish.