While rooting around for some spices, I happened upon a jar of thai red curry paste. It was rather out of date, but as I have a theory that things in jars never go off, I opened it, gave it a sniff, and decided that it was still good to eat. I generally trust my nose, eyes and taste buds when it comes to judging whether something is off, although I know a lot of people don’t. What do you do? I honestly believe that use by dates are quite often complete tosh, stuck on there by a supermarket chain who are attempting to avoid being sued for food poisoning at any costs, even if it means saying that food is out of date when it’s perfectly edible.
I hate, hate, hate throwing away food that can still be eaten, hence why a lot of recipes I post on here are along the lines of ‘I was trying to use up some sweet potatoes that were going out of date’, and so on. So. I was trying to use up some curry paste that was
going out of already a good few months out of date. I tried a bit out of the jar and it tasted fine, so I took some chicken from the freezer to defrost, and spent the intervening time daydreaming about what kind of amazement I could put in my curry. I actually managed to eat curry twice on Wednesday, which was quite an achievement. For my dinner I pulled some equally ancient butternut squash, chickpea and black eyed pea curry from the freezer and ate it with a naan bread and creme fraiche. Then the evening rolled around, and my sister and I made another veg-packed curry for our tea.
As the paste came from a jar there isn’t a particularly exciting recipe to share here. I’m forever saying that I’m going to make my own curry paste, and I never do. One day I will. I suppose that’s set in stone now I’ve written it on here. It is your duty (yes, you) to hold me to that. If you want to make this curry and are particularly averse to using things from jars, there are probably a million recipes for the paste floating about on the interwebs. However I just found a pretty incredible book on the shelf called The Taste of Thailand and here is the recipe from there:
8 dried long red chillies, deseeded and chopped
1tsp ground coriander seed
1/2tsp ground cumin seed
1tsp ground white pepper
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 stalks lemongrass, finely chopped
1tsp chopped kaffir lime skin or lime leaves
2.5cm piece galangal, chopped
2tsp shrimp paste
Grind together using a pestle or mortar, or blend, to make a smooth paste.
Now don’t ask me where to get those things. I live in the sticks, I have to use paste out of a jar.
Here goes: Chop your chicken, or whichever meat or meat substitute you may be using. Chop your veg. We used broccoli, mushrooms, carrot and spinach. We had big plans of putting some cauliflower in there but had one of those moments halfway through eating it when we realised we hadn’t put it in. Fry the chicken with some ginger and red chilli in a wok. Add the sturdy veg, such as broccoli and mushrooms, or carrots if you cut them into batons. Fry for another minute, then add 1 tin of coconut milk along with a few teaspoons of paste. Leave to simmer, stirring frequently, for around 20-30 minutes. Towards the end we added strips of carrot and some spinach, then served it with udon noodles.
I had the genius idea of freezing the remaining paste in little bags, with one serving to each. Only time will tell whether this idea is particularly genius, but it seemed like a good way to rescue something that was destined for the bin.
How do you feel about food waste? It really bothers me, and yet I find myself throwing away far more food than I am comfortable with. It’s something I’m constantly trying to work on.
Do you like to make everything yourself or do you find no shame in reaching for a jar of something ready made? I definitely have no problem with using jarred sauces etc., but I like to make things myself sometimes as well.