It’s been said before but it’s a drum worth beating: home-made curry paste tastes way better than anything you’ll ever buy. You just can’t get those same snappy flavours unless you grind the ingredients fresh, and it’s really easy too. Truthfully, the food processor does all the work for you. Plus, you can make double the recipe and freeze the extra for another time. It will keep in an airtight container in the freezer for 5–6 weeks.
Thai yellow cauliflower, snake bean and tofu curry
2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 onion, finely chopped
400 g cauliflower, trimmed and cut into medium–large florets
375 ml chicken stock
200 g snake beans, trimmed and
cut into 3 cm pieces
140 g frozen or fresh podded peas
400 g fried tofu puffs, sliced
1 x 400 ml tin coconut cream
steamed jasmine rice, to serve
70 g (2½ oz/½ cup) unsalted roasted peanuts
large handful of Thai basil leaves
2 kaffir lime leaves, stems removed, finely shredded
lime wedges, to serve
Yellow curry paste
1½ tablespoons chopped fresh ginger
2 lemongrass stems, white part only, chopped
5 garlic cloves, chopped
1½ teaspoons ground turmeric
3 Asian shallots, chopped
5 large kaffir lime leaves, stems removed, chopped
4 small red chillies, chopped
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1½ tablespoons vegetable oil
For the yellow curry paste, mix all the ingredients in a small food processor to a smooth paste. Alternatively, pound everything, except the fish sauce and oil, with a mortar and pestle. then stir in the fish sauce and oil.
Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes until softened. Add the curry paste and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until fragrant. Add the cauliflower, stir to coat, then add the stock; the cauliflower won’t quite be covered. Place the beans and peas on top and add the tofu, but do not stir. Bring the stock to a simmer, cover the pan tightly, then cook over medium heat for 12–15 minutes until the vegetables are just tender; they should still have a little bite.
Add the coconut cream, season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and bring to a simmer. Cook for
3 minutes or until heated through, then divide into bowls with steamed rice. Scatter with peanuts, basil and the shredded lime leaves. Serve with lime wedges.
Image and recipe from Cauliflower is King by Leanne Kitchen, Murdoch Books, RRP $19.99 Photography by Leanne Kitchen, illustrations by Alissa Dinallo and Kitty Clement.