By Helen Westwater of ‘La Ola Fresca’
This month’s recipe, Thai Red Curry with Pumpkin and coconut, is a little spice and a scent of some of the ‘Tapas Audaces’ we were serving in our ‘Gourmet Knights’ sessions with Alberto Corella in La Ola Fresca on Friday and Saturday nights.
The recipe requires some ingredients not readily available in Valencia. However, you can find them in the shops around the ‘Estacion del Norte’ or off Avenida del Puerto in the legendary, Taj Mahal Supermarket, Calle Doctor Manuel Candela. The kafir leaves, chillies and lemongrass will keep well in the freezer. You can also cheat and buy red curry paste readymade. Once you have the ingredients, if you have a blender, it is easy enough to make your own.
For the red curry paste
2 tsp each cumin and coriander seeds
4 red bird’s eye chillies, roughly chopped
1 tbsp paprika
3 lemongrass stalks, roughly chopped
4cm piece fresh galangal or ginger, chopped
6 fresh kaffir lime leaves or the finely grated zest of 1 lime
2 shallots, chopped
5 garlic cloves, chopped
Stalks from 80g bunch fresh coriander
2 tbsp each fish sauce (optional) and sunflower oil
For the Curry
1 medium round pumpkin about 500g chopped into bite sized pieces
1/2 red onion diced
1 inch grated ginger
1/2 lemongrass stalk
3 tablespoons of red curry paste
2 cans of coconut milk
1 tablespoon fish sauce (optional)
1 tsp panela (optional)
6 kafir leaves
1 handful coriander leaves
Thai (slightly rounder and stickier) or Basmati Rice – approximately 100g per person
Toasted pumpkin seeds
Coriander leaves to decorate
First grind the cumin and coriander seeds in a pestle and mortar. Place all the curry paste ingredients in a blender and blend.
Heat a tablespoon of sunflower oil. Add the diced red onion and fry over a gentle heat. Next add the pumpkin (chopped into bite-sized pieces). Stir in the grated ginger and the 3 tablespoons of curry paste. Cook gently for a few minutes. Then add the coconut milk, the lemongrass stalk and a few lime leaves.
Cook for over 30 minutes keeping a watchful eye that the ingredients do not stick to the bottom of the pan or that the coconut boils over. The coconut milk will become stickier as it reduces and the flavours combine. Check and adjust seasonings.
Serve with rice, toasted pumpkin seeds and coriander leaves.