Choo Chee Curry Paste
This was the last curry paste we made in the six-day course I was part of in Thailand recently ( see older blogs for more details). It’s apparently an adaptation from the red curry paste family.
In fact, I had never heard of it before, earlier in the week we had covered all the usual more commonly known pastes and curries – red, green, Massaman, Tom Yum…..
as I love pretty much any dish involving fresh fish I was pretty psyched!
This did not disappoint!
It calls for fresh tumeric and what is known as aromatic ginger or finger ginger ( Krachai) – again must be fresh – dried or pickled won’t do! I imagine if you have only dried, just soak in room temperature water first for at least 20 mins and it would suffice.
Let me tell you if you like a bit of heat, this really was super delicious and one could easily replace the fish for tofu for a vegetarian option. This curry paste was recommended for seafood/ tofu only, and I figured you could also baste a bit on NZ green lipped mussels and grill with a little cheese….or use it in a stirfry with other seafood and fresh vegetables and a bit of homemade stock.
And like most homemade curry pastes, you can turn down the heat by using less of the hot chillies – the colour will be lighter, as will the pow!
1 large dried red chilli – cut into small slices with scissors and soaked in warm water until soft – about 20 mins. Let drain then pat dry.
6 dried red hot chillies – here is where you can reduce for your own heat levels – for mine I used 4. The others used 6 and theirs was !!!!!!!!! spicy.
1 T lemongrass finely chopped
1 t galangal finely chopped
1 t fresh tumeric finely chopped or 1/2 t tumeric powder ( fresh is BEST!)
1 t fresh aromatic ginger ( Krachai) finely chopped – optional
1 T shallots finely chopped
1 T garlic finely chopped
1 t shrimp paste – could omit for vegetarian paste of course
1/4 t salt
Put the soaked and drained chilli peices and hot chillies and salt into a mortar and pound until smooth.
Add the galangal, tumeric, lemongrassand aromatic ginger and pound some more until smooth, then add the shallots and garlic and repeat.
Finally add the shrimp paste and mix well.
Then, use this delicious paste in the following way.
CHOO CHEE PLA
( “Noise” of stir fry Fish)
180 grams of white fish fillet ( sea bass, red snapper, tuna or tofu)
thats about 1 cup – cut into bit- size pieces
2 T choo chee curry paste
1/3 C sweet basil
1 C coconut cream
2 fresh kaffir lime leaves – stem removed and finely sliced
1-2 t fish sauce or to taste
1/2 t cane sugar if desired
1/4 t white pepper powder
2 T soy bean or rice bran oil for cooking
sweet basil and fresh large red chili for garnish
Heat your wok over medium and add oil.
Add the curry paste and stir until frangrant, add the coconut cream, fish sauce, sugar pepper and fish. Don’t overly mix the fish about, just let it sit there so as to avoid it breaking up. Mix just a little. Cook for about 2 minutes and serve hot garnished with sweet basil and fresh red chilli slices.
Generally, potatoes and heavy vegetables are not used in this curry. I think perhaps green beans or asparagus could be a nice, light addition, and as mentioned tofu could be the fish replacement.