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I fell in love with Thai cooking on a visit there many years ago, and took copious notes of everything that I ate. Once home I set about recreating the dishes that I had enjoyed while there. I started by buying in the curry pastes, but now that I grow all the essential ingredients on the farm, I make my own, and I am not sure that I could now go back to the bought ones. The difference is the freshness of the taste, that if you do not over process you can have texture to the paste, and also of course that you can balance the proportions of the ingredients depending on how spicy you require it to be.

For a seafood curry, I like spice, but not overpoweringly so, but I still want a good strong flavour of ginger, garlic and lemon grass, so I put with them a milder pale green chilli which still has spice together with a good pepper flavour.


For the paste – enough for a curry for 4

4 cloves garlic

2 stalks of lemon grass

A piece of ginger, or galangal if you can get it, roughly 5 cm x 2 cm

2 tablespoons Nam Pla – Thai fish sauce

Roughly chop the garlic and pound to a pulp in a mortar.

Take the outer leaves off the lemon grass and cut off the tough base. Finely slice the tender part at the base, usually you get about 2 cm of tender part.

Add to the garlic.

Scrape the skin off the ginger and grate into the mortar with the garlic and lemon grass. Mash with the pestle until a paste adding the fish sauce as you go along.

This paste can be made in advance and be left developing its flavours in the fridge until needed.

For the fish –

Large peeled prawns


White meaty fish like swordfish, shark, monkfish, cod, haddock

1 tablespoon each of red and black fish eggs

A large sweet onion or 5-6 spring onions

Large can of coconut milk

Good bunch of basil leaves or Thai parsley

Olive oil for frying

Peel and slice the onion. In a pan big enough to take the curry, soften the onions in oil.

Add the curry paste and fry for a few minutes.

Add the coconut milk and stir well to mix in. Bring to a simmer and start adding the fish.

Keep the curry on a low heat while the fish cooks to ensure that it doesn’t overcook.

The white fish wants to be cut into chunks. If you think that all the fish requires the same amount of cooking, you can add it all in one go.

The fish shouldn’t need more than five minutes to cook.

Lastly add the fish eggs. I had assumed before putting these in hot dishes that they would melt into the sauce, but they don’t and so add colour and texture to fish dishes. They look particularly effective on Salmon with pasta.

Garnish with the chopped herbs and serve with plain boiled rice.


This is adapted from a recipe in Sri Owens fabulous book of Indonesian recipes. I would not call this a fixed recipe as I use whatever is fresh in the vegetable garden. If I plan ahead enough, I get some beansprouts sprouting a few days in advance. They are not available to buy fresh here in Spain, so you have to grow your own. If you cannot get fresh ones, miss them out rather than use the cooked ones that come in jars, the flavour and texture are just not the same.??????????????????????????????????

A selection of the following –

Fresh bean sprouts

French or Yard Long beans – blanched by pouring boiling water over them, leaving them a minute, and then draining and leaving to cool

Chinese leaves or other greens – finely shredded

The following all cut into fine julienne –



Small tender courgettes

Green peppers

Red peppers

Plus –

Basil leaves – Thai is best, but the usual or Lettuce Basil will do – shredded

Fresh mint leaves

For the dressing – these amounts are for a salad for 4

100 gms roasted peanuts

1-2 cloves of garlic – finely chopped

1teaspoon crumbled shrimp paste or 1 tablespoon Thai fish sauce

Red chilli – to taste – it wants to be quite spicy – finely chopped

1teaspoon soft brown sugar

Juice of a lime

Salt to taste

Put all the prepared vegetables in a dish with the herbs and mix together.

Prepare the dressing. In a mortar pound all the ingredients except the lime juice until a rough paste with the nuts still having some bigger bits for texture. Add the lime juice and mix. Add just enough water to make into a sauce.

Pour over the salad and mix well. Serve at room temperature.