All the aromatic flavours of Thai green curry, infused into each and every grain of rice.
With the days getting longer and the mercury creeping up slowly but surely, spring has definitely sprung. Seeing the seas of gold daffodils out in glorious full force also reminds us that the Thai New Year festival, Songkran, is just around the corner (April 13-15). In Thailand, the highlight of New Year celebrations sees crowds of revellers taking to the streets for big, joyous water fights. Splashing water on each other symbolises respect, well wishes, and the washing away of bad luck – plus it’s a whole heap of fun!
If you’re like us and you live somewhere that doesn’t quite boast the tropical climate of Thailand, it might still be a tad nippy outside for a full-blown water fight. But this doesn’t mean that we can’t get into the spirit of Thai New Year by cooking up delicious Thai-inspired meals. In this series, we’re discovering the flavours of Songkran with Blue Dragon. By putting our Dumpling Sisters twist on some of the tasty classics, we’ve come up with with four recipes that are truly simple to whip up and guaranteed to please.
We’re both huge fans of Thai food, and we had our first proper taste of it when we went on a family holiday to Thailand back in 2003. The scenes, smells and tastes of sprawling open-air markets and colourful street food stuck with us long after the trip was over.
Having grown up with our parents’ incredible home-cooked Cantonese food, we immediately recognised the contrasts and special features in Thai food. Coconut milk, intense curry pastes and injections of sharpness via lemongrass and citrus fruits all come together to create unique and deeply satisfying dishes. That’s why several Thai dishes, like green curry, pad thai and massaman curry, have such enormous appeal and recognition all over the world.
When I was at university, chicken green curry was a student staple because it was affordable, very easy to make, and crammed full of flavour. It was fantastic student food, without being ‘student food’ (I’m looking at you, chicken nuggets). I can recall eating green curry at least once a week during my second year, when one of my housemates consistently penned it in for his rostered cooking day. But we all loved it, and never grew tired of those fresh, spicy flavours. A couple of years ago, I took Mum and Dad to a little Thai restaurant in Brixton Village. Curiously, they had green curry on the menu twice – once in a fried rice form. Intrigued, I ordered it and when it arrived fresh out of the wok I was instantly hooked. It was everything that I loved about green curry, but soaked into each and every grain of rice.
Today’s recipe is our take on green curry fried rice, a vegetarian version with crunchy peppers, bean sprouts and green beans. The joy of a recipe like this is that you can use whatever bits and bobs you have in the fridge: peas, mushrooms, and mangetout would all work well, and you can even add in prawns, chicken or pork if you fancy it. To give our fried rice its authentic aromatic Thai flavour, we’re using Blue Dragon’s handy little green curry paste pot and their silky coconut milk. We love how this paste is a powerhouse of concentrated flavour that has a terrific balance of spicy, salty, sweet, bitter and sour notes. While I’ll always love a classic green curry, this fried rice version has become my favourite go-to whenever I crave a little green curry magic. It’s fast, tasty, and also the ideal midweek meal – give it a go!
Vegetable Green Curry Fried Rice
By the Dumpling Sisters
2 tsp vegetable oil
50g Blue Dragon green curry paste
100ml coconut milk
160g green beans, sliced into quarters
220g jasmine rice (uncooked weight), cooked and cooled
1 red pepper, thinly sliced
80g bean sprouts
2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
1 tbsp light soy sauce
Crispy fried onions or shallots
1 red chilli, finely sliced
1 lime, cut into 2-3 wedges
1. Heat the oil in a wok over a high heat. Add the curry paste and fry for a few seconds, then add the coconut milk, green beans and 50ml of water. Stir to combine, then cover and simmer for 5-6 minutes until the sauce has reduced by half and the beans have softened slightly.
2. Uncover, then add the rice, peppers, bean sprouts and light soy sauce. Stir fry for 2-3 minutes until the rice is warmed through, the bean sprouts and peppers have softened slightly, and the curry sauce has fully absorbed into the rice.
3. Serve with a sprinkling of crispy fried onions, sliced chilli and a wedge of lime on the side.
This post was kindly sponsored by Blue Dragon. All of the opinions expressed here and the recipes are our own. For more information, visit: http://www.bluedragon.co.uk
Market image by James Stevens