When the weather is cold, wet and a bit miserable, I find myself reaching for some spice. Not only does a little spice wake up my taste-buds, it also boosts my mood and lifts my spirits.
When I say spice, I’m not necessarily talking chilli - but warming ginger, earthy turmeric, zesty coriander and fragrant lemongrass to name a few of my favourites.
So this thai curry is quick and easy to cook – you can make up a bigger batch and keep it in the fridge. There are of course many great ready made pastes available but if you have time, the flavour you get from making a fresh paste yourself, takes your curry up a level.
This recipe combines the comfort of a hug with the freshness and spiciness to perk up taste buds that are craving something to wake them up. It uses pineapple (which is fantastic natural skincare ingredient too and is on my soon to be released natural face mask!) and tamarind so it’s intensely zingy and tangy and combined with the coconut which provides the comfort, I hope you find this a truly balanced recipe.
I like to combine mine with mussels that are full of skin-loving, mood-boosting zinc - but if you aren’t a shellfish fan, swap the mussels for white fish, chicken or make it vegetarian by using shitake mushrooms. These work brilliantly with the pineapple and tamarind and you can also make this totally vegan by omitting the shrimp paste and using vegan fish sauce (or soy).
Mussel, Pineapple & Tamarind Curry
For the paste…
8 dried long red chillies, deseeded and soaked (see method below for how to prepare these)
1 desertspoon of fresh turmeric, finely diced.
1 desertspoon of ginger root or galangal, finely diced.
4 lemongrass stalks, outer layers removed and then finely chopped
2 coriander roots, chopped (or a tablespoon of coriander stalks)
Zest of ½ lime
4 garlic cloves, minced to a paste
2 shallots, finely diced
1 teaspoon dried shrimp paste (optional)
Take the tops of the chillies, slice down the middle and remove the seeds, then soak in a cup of warm water for 5 minutes. If you want to make this by hand, use a pestle and mortar and pound each ingredient, adding the next once you have a paste. Alternatively, put all the ingredients in a small spice grinder or food processor and whizz together to form a paste. You may need to add a small amount of water.
This may seem like a lot of work but it’s really worth it as the flavour is amazing but if time alludes you, use a really good shop bought red curry paste. You can always double the recipe and store the unused paste in an airtight container in the fridge.
For the curry…
125ml coconut cream
2 tablespoons palm sugar
1 tablespoon fish sauce (or vegan fish sauce)
1 tablespoon tamarind water
250 ml coconut milk
1/2 kilo mussels (or 300 grams firm white fish or shitake mushrooms sliced)
250g fresh pineapple cut into thin slices
4 kaffir lime leaves
Lime juice (to taste)
Heat the coconut cream over a medium heat until it splits. Add 5 tablespoons of the paste and fry until you can smell the spices. Add the palm sugar, fish sauce and tamarind. Add the coconut milk, pineapple and mussels. Simmer until the mussels open. Sprinkle over the lime leaves. Taste the curry and add a little lime juice if the curry is too sweet. Serve with rice.
I hope you enjoy these recipes and if you cook any of them, send me a picture! I would love to see your creations x