Thai Green Curry with Chicken Recipe (Gaeng Kiew Waan Gai)
The first time I cooked a bowl of curry was the first time I had tasted a bowl of curry. When eating Thai food at home and, well, in Thailand, I had always avoided curries. I assumed they were too hot. I assumed they were too spicy. I assumed, I guess, that I wouldn’t like the flavor. I’d instead opt, always, for a big plate of noodles or a stir fry. Give me pad thai. Give me pad see-ew. Give me cashew chicken. But never curry.
My first time traveling in Chiang Mai, Thailand, I took a Thai cooking class. At that class we learned to make many different Thai foods across many different courses. And one of those courses was curries. We could choose whichever of three curry recipes we wanted to make: green curry, yellow curry, or jungle curry. I chose the Thai green curry with chicken recipe (Gaeng Kiew Waan Gai) because, I suppose, it sounded the least offensive. I think I equated, in my curry-virgin mind, the red jungle curry with heat and the yellow with sourness. Green sounded rather neutral.
Cooking green curry involved spending a seemingly endless time grinding seeds and spices with a mortar and pestle until they merged together into a thick, olive-toned paste. That paste was then boiled with coconut cream and coconut milk to form the base for this Thai green curry with chicken and eggplant and onion and basil. The curry was creamy and spicy and salty and a little bit sweet. And, while it may have been the first curry I had ever made, had ever tasted, it was certainly not the last.