With their attention-grabbing flavours, Thai curries are real crowd-pleasers. This version can be made vegetarian by leaving out the shrimp paste.
(This recipe makes more Thai red curry paste than you need for one meal. Spoon the remaining paste into a sterilised jar and seal tightly. It can be stored in the fridge for up to one month. Alternatively, spoon the paste into ice cube trays and freeze for up to three months.)
250g/9oz glutinous (sticky) rice (available from Asian greengrocers)
4 small red onions, peeled and roughly chopped
16 garlic cloves, peeled
12 stalks lemongrass, outer leaves removed, core roughly chopped
8 long red chillies, stems removed
8 tbsp chopped fresh coriander (roots and leaves)
8 tsp chilli powder
10cm/4in piece fresh galangal, peeled
4 tsp grated lime zest
4 fresh lime leaves
4 tsp shrimp paste (available from Asian greengrocers)
12 tsp hot paprika
8 tsp ground turmeric
2 tsp cumin seeds
8 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 large leek, trimmed, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed to a paste
1 large red chilli, trimmed, finely chopped
2 tbsp Thai red curry paste (see above)
4 fresh lime leaves
2 carrots, peeled, roughly chopped
400g/14oz canned chopped tomatoes
400g/14oz coconut milk
250ml/9fl oz vegetable stock
I small cauliflower, trimmed, cut into florets
½ small butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed, flesh cut into 2.5cm/1in pieces
175g/7oz snake or French beans, trimmed
1 x 225g/8½oz can bamboo shoots, drained
bunch fresh coriander, chopped
handful fresh beansprouts, to serve
For the sticky rice, before starting to make the curry, soak the sticky rice in cold water for at least 20 minutes, or up to 3 hours.
For the Thai red curry paste, blend all of the Thai red curry paste ingredients to a smooth paste in a food processor.
For the curry, heat one tablespoon of the vegetable oil in a large wok over a high heat. When the oil is smoking, add the leek, garlic and chilli and stir-fry for 3-5 minutes, or until softened but not browned.
Add the two tablespoons of curry paste and fry for 2-3 minutes, stirring well.
Add the lime leaves, carrots and chopped tomatoes, then pour in the coconut milk and vegetable stock, stirring well to combine. Bring the mixture to the boil, then reduce the heat until simmering and continue to simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.
Add the cauliflower florets, butternut squash, French beans and bamboo shoots and continue to simmer for 12-15 minutes, or until the butternut squash is tender and the sauce has thickened slightly and reduced in volume.
Meanwhile, to cook the sticky rice, drain the soaked rice and rinse thoroughly. Punch a few holes in a sheet of baking paper and line a metal or bamboo steamer with it. Add the drained rice to the steamer, cover tightly and suspend the steamer over a pan of boiling water for 20 minutes. (Do not allow the bottom of the steamer to touch the surface of the water.)
When the vegetables in the curry are tender and the sauce has thickened, stir in the chopped coriander.
To serve, spoon the sticky rice into bowls, ladle over the vegetable curry and garnish with a few beansprouts.
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