Friday, March 9, 2012

Nettle Green Curry

This was more or less an experiment. I wanted to see how the flavor of stinging nettles might accompany a traditional Thai green curry. I modified a typical recipe for green curry paste to my own liking and then added boiled chopped nettles a little at a time to the food processor until I could taste a change in the overall profile. At that point I added a little more nettle and called it good.

The result was a green curry with an earthier, woodsier flavor. You can adjust this earthiness to your own palate by playing with the proportions of nettles, basil, and cilantro. The paste is incredibly easy to make, and it tastes so much fresher, brighter, and greener than a store-bought paste. All you need is a food processor or blender (or a mortar and pestle if you have the time and stamina).

Nettle Green Curry Paste

1 cup stinging nettles, boiled, drained & chopped
1/2 cup basil, chopped
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1 stalk lemongrass, chopped
1 kaffir lime leaf, chopped
1 shallot, peeled
4 large cloves garlic
1 large thumb ginger, peeled and sliced
1 jalapeƱo pepper, sliced
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground white pepper
2 tsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp shrimp paste (or salt)
2 - 3 tbsp lime juice
3 - 4 tbsp fish sauce
6 tbsp coconut milk

Add more coconut milk to the paste in the food processor if it's too dry. For the finished curry I used a small saucepan to cook a few heaping spoonfuls of the paste in a tablespoon of peanut oil for a minute to unleash the flavors, then slowly stirred in less than a cup of coconut milk until desired consistency and added a few more splashes of fish sauce and a sprinkling of brown sugar. Meanwhile I broiled a fillet of local sablefish for 10 minutes, which got plated on a bed of rice. The curry was deliberately thick so that it could be dolloped on the broiled fish with a garnish of thinly sliced red bell pepper, green onion, and cilantro on top. Crushed peanuts completed the dish. You can adjust the texture, spiciness, and sweetness of the curry to whatever you're cooking. The paste should keep for a week in the refrigerator, or longer if frozen.


Shelly said...

Sounds and looks incredible! It will be the first on my menu as soon as there are nettles to harvest here in VA --- thanks for sharing!

jill said...

Looks yummy. I had a terrific nettle pesto pizza at Carmelita's on Greenwood last Thursday. It was NOT pretty but the combo of flavors with a blood orange glaze, wild mushrooms, and a crown of argula was memorable.

BTW saw some stinging nettles peeking up from the forest floor this afternoon at Carkeek. To think I used to live in fear of their sting when playing in the woods as a kid. Ouch!

Lizbeth said...

Sounds yummy! The nettles are in full sting here on Bainbridge. Had my first soup of the season last week.