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gaeng baa gai baan - jungle curry with guinea fowl and crispy shallots

Jungle curries are generally some of the spicier curries you’ll come across in Thailand. The heat and herbaceous flavours of the finished curry work exceptionally well with game birds, oily fish, wild boar or in this case guineafowl.  This recipe is suitable for 4 to 6 people as part of a larger meal with rice. 

For the curry

2 Tbsp Bird fat - recipe below

3 Thai garlic cloves or 1 clove of peeled western garlic

4 Tbsp jungle curry paste - recipe below

15 - 20 Pea aubos

3 Apple aubos - chipped small

3 - 4 Tbsp Fish sauce

A tiny pinch of golden caster sugar - if needed

100ml Chicken stock 

6 to 8 Snakes beans cut on a slight angle 

8 Makrut lime leaves, torn

Torn herbs - a mix of at least three of: betel leaf, thai parsley, thai basil, holy basil 

Finely shredded herbs (as above, but cut finely)

Deep fried shallots - recipe below


Method

Add the bird fat to the pan and bring up to a medium heat,

Pound the garlic to a coarse paste then add to the pan and fry until golden.

Once the garlic is golden you can add the jungle curry paste to the pan and continue to fry on a medium low heat. 

After about 2 minutes of cooking the paste should be beginning to smell fresh, spicy and vibrant. Add the Guinea fowl, apple aubergine, pea aubergine, Makrut lime leaf and snake beans

Fry for another minute more, season with a tiny pinch of sugar, and a splash of fish sauce

Add the shredded herbs, cook the herbs into the curry until they are wilted - about 1 minute. 

Taste; it should be rich, spicy, very herbal and a hint salty. 


Serve topped generously with the finely cut herbs and showered with deep fried shallots. 


Deep fried shallots

5  Large Shallots

1L Vegetable oil


This will make a little more than you need but they can keep for a month or so in an airtight container. Peel the shallots and slice them longways as thin as you possibly can.  Warm the oil in a pot that is high sided and 2 to 3 times the capacity of the amount of oil. The reason why this is important is because the oil with froth and foam when the shallots are added.


 Bring the oil up to 180C and shower your sliced shallots into the oil then give them a stir with a slotted spoon. They will continue to cook slightly once removed so taking them out just as they are starting to turn golden brown will allow them to finish up to a nice nutty brown colour. Once removed drain on a piece of absorbent paper. 

Bird fat

Fat and skin from guinea fowl in question, plus any chicken or duck skin or fat you might have access to.

Vegetable oil - to cover (This could be the oil you used to fry the shallots in earlier)

Garlic, and a small slice of galangal - pounded 


Put the bird fat and oil in a pot and put on a low heat, allow it to come to the bubble and the fat to render slowly until starting to go golden.  Towards the end throw in the pounded garlic and galangal, cook until the paste and skin are golden.  Drain and reserve oil. 

Green jungle curry paste

(This will make enough for 3 or 4 of this recipe. You can freeze the extra paste for future curries)

3 teaspoons             Maldon sea salt

¾ cup   Green chillies deseeded

¼ cup Green birdseye chillies 

2 tablespoons peeled and sliced galangal

⅓  cups lemongrass, sliced

¼  cup peeled gratchi

½  cups      coriander root

The zest of ¼ of a makrut lime

3 - 10 each   prik kee suan “mouse turd chilli”

1 cups peeled garlic

1 cups peeled Shallots

15g shrimp paste


To make the paste: 

In a mortar and pestle pound the paste starting with the chillies and the maldon sea salt, pound until smooth and then adding one by one, bit by bit  the rest of the ingredients (more or less in the order listed above) starting with the harder of them like galangal, gratchi and lemongrass working down to the softest last until it’s smooth and completely incorporated paste.