Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Raison d’être

Raison d’être literally meaning "reason to be", and is apparently the French word for a restaurant's signature dish. Since coming to London, I have somehow mastered the recipe for Thai Green Chicken Curry. By "mastering", I do mean I use Green Curry Paste bought from Tesco, and not pounding chili and spices from scratch. So yeah, I cheated.

Frothy Green Curry with Fragrant Basmati Rice

So, whenever there are some occasions or entertaining to be done, the signature dish gets prepared. For instance, during Cynthia's Farewell last Saturday...

Or during Felix's Birthday in April...

What's more, it's really simple to prepare! Look at me! Do I look like someone who can whip up something complicated?

Here is the simple recipe. All you need is:
1) Green Curry Paste

The one I buy from Tesco looks like this. And it served me for 5 Green Curry dinners. Pretty good value for money, I might say.

2) A can of coconut milk, I say - around 400ml

3) A can/pot of pineapples in syrup

4) Peppers, preferably red ones

5) Basil leaves (or spinach, if you can't find basil)

6) Brown sugar (3 tablespoons or more, depending on the level of preferred sweetness)

7) Soy/Fish sauce to taste

8) 6-7 Cup Mushrooms, sliced

9) 600-800g of diced Chicken Breasts (can be substituted with other chicken parts)

I usually marinate the chicken breasts in the green curry paste an hour or two before I start to cook them. Heat up 1-2 tablespoons of oil in the wok and stir fry the chicken breasts for a bit.

Pour the coconut milk, peppers, mushrooms and pineapples in.

The motto I usually maintain while cooking is - "Even if it doesn't taste good, make it look good." At least, people will be deceived into eating them. *Snigger* So, I usually make sure there are colours in my food to make them appealing - Yellow from the pineapples, Red from the peppers and Green from the Basil/Spinach. Ta dah!

Yes, so right now, the stew of coconut milk, peppers, mushrooms, chicken and pineapples is boiling. Add 4-5 teaspoons of the curry paste. The spicier you want your curry to be, the more you should add.

I like my green curry sweet - so I tend to be quite generous with sugar. At this point, add brown sugar in and do constantly taste the stew to see if it suits your palate. If it is too sweet, add fish/soy sauce to offset.

Allow it to stew for a while, until chicken is thoroughly cooked. Add spinach/basil only when you are about to serve, so that it maintains its bright green colour.

Wala - my Raison d’être

For Cynthia's Farewell, I prepared a British Platter as an appetizer as well. It consists of typical British fare such as pork pies, scotch eggs and steak & ale pudding.

Ah, and crêpes for dessert.

With that, my best mate in London is sent home to Singapore.



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