Since The Bangkok Cafe on Low Friar Street closed last year our house has been a somber place. It served freshly cooked Thai street food, quite different from the Royal Thai stuff that you typically get at Thai restaurants with carved carrot nonsense on the side. It was our go-to joint for a quick high quality after-work takeaway and the couple who ran it were awesome.

So it was a happy day recently when I managed to recreate the essence of a mean Thai Green Curry that is reminiscent of Bangkok Cafe goodness. Where better to share it than here?

The secret is in the home-made paste. Don’t buy the stuff in a jar from the supermarket - it’ll totally overpower the dish and lacks the depth of flavour you’ll get from making your own. If you’ve got a little food processor you can make a batch of this really easily and freeze it in portions for later use.

You will need

For the paste:

  • 50g green chillies (the mean little thin ones), half deseeded and half with seeds
  • 11 shallots
  • 11 garlic cloves
  • 1 chopped lemongrass stalk (or 2 tsp of lemongrass paste from a tube)
  • 50g peeled ginger
  • small pack of corriander
  • zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tsp of white pepper
  • 1 tbsp shrimp paste
  • 1 tsp salt

For the curry:

  • 100g of your delicious paste
  • 25ml fish sauce
  • half a butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into small cubes
  • 1 can of coconut milk (dollop a couple of tbsps into your rice before cooking)
  • 200ml chicken stock
  • large can of pineapple chunks, drained
  • 2 small cans of bamboo shoots
  • 5 kaffir lime leaves
  • 300g raw shelled prawns (big ones)
  • handful of thai basil or corriander leaves
  • lime wedges to serve

Do

  1. Stick all the paste ingredients into a small food processor and whizz to fragrant greenness
  2. Scoop 100g (more if you’re feeling brave) into a dry wok with 50ml of water and heat for a few mins until your kitchen smells like Bangkok
  3. Add fish sauce and cook for 1 min more
  4. Tip in the squash, coconut milk and stock and bring to the boil
  5. Add pineapple, bamboo shoots and lime leaves
  6. Cook for 10 mins or until squash is soft
  7. Add prawns and thai basil / corriander and simmer for 1 min more
  8. Leave to rest for 5 mins before serving
  9. Serve with coconut rice, cooked with a couple of dollops of coconut milk and a kaffir lime leaf

What I’ll try next time

  1. Might be worth trying with chicken instead of prawns
  2. I like those small thai aubergine things - if I can find them, they’d be a good addition
  3. To trigger true memories of Bangkok Cafe, cut the bamboo shoots into sticks (could I be arsed?)
  4. Some sticks of red pepper added towards the end would give it another dimension
  5. Take some better photos!

Results

The sweetness of the pineapple counteracts any harshness from all those chillies and herbs and is an inspired addition. If your other half usually orders a korma, go easy on the sauce when serving. Enough to feed 2 with leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch unless, like me, you keep sneaking back into the kitchen to fork cold titbits into your mouth for the rest of the evening!

What’s left in the wok after serving up for 2:

What's left in the wok after serving up for 2