I think I tried about every curry that Thailand had to offer while on vacation. And although the Massaman, panang and other out-of-the-way curries were delicious, the simple red, green, and yellow curries (what I like to call “stoplight”) were my favorite.
This is a typical yellow curry fried rice dish, only not typical at all. I used brown rice instead of white for added fiber and nutrition, substituted honey for sugar, and my curry paste may be considered unconventional as I did not use shrimp paste, and no bottled “curry powder” was used (yes, even Thai cooks use it sometimes). There was also that addition of dried cranberries.
Note: I used 3 small red hot chilies, and, although my husband loved it (he gobbled it up for breakfast one morning), he admitted that it was indeed spicy. My husband, who eats fire. So, unless you are native Thai or very brave, I recommend 2 chilies (or one).
For the curry paste:
1-3 small red chilies, stems removed, chopped
2 shallots, minced
1 quarter-sized piece of galangal or ginger, minced
2 kaffir lime leaves, middle stem removed, torn
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1 lemongrass stalk, chopped into small pieces
1 and 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
freshly cracked pepper
For the fried rice:
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 cups brown rice, preferably rice that is a day/night old
2 tablespoons dried cranberries
2 tablespoons shredded coconut
1/2 large carrot, diced
1/2 large green onion, diced
1-2 tablespoons cilantro
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/3 cup coconut cream
2 tablespoon water
2 tablespoons honey
1. First, make the curry paste. Combine all of the curry paste ingredients and place in a small blender until they are nicely broken down. Then, transfer to a mortar and pestle and pound to your heart’s content. When you are finished, the curry paste should look, well, like paste. It should have a smooth consistency, with no chunks of ingredient remaining.
2. Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat and saute the onions, carrots, and the curry paste until fragrant.
3. Next mix in the rice, stirring frequently to avoid burning.
4. Mix the coconut cream, soy sauce, water, and honey in a bowl before pouring it into the pan. Stir to coat all of the rice with the liquid. Cook for five minutes on medium heat, taking care that the rice does not burn or stick to the pan.
5. Just before the rice is finished, toss the cilantro, coconut flakes, and cranberries into the pan. Stir until they are well combined.
6. Place your yellow curry fried rice into serving bowls and garnish with more coconut flakes.
I encourage you to try my other Thai recipes: Lemongrass and Ginger Iced Tea, Grilled Mushrooms with Tamarind Peanut Dipping Sauce, Vegetarian Tom Kha Kai, and Sweet Potatoes with Yogurt Lime Sauce.