CATFISH THAI'S GREEN CURRY OF PORK, CORN, THAI EGGPLANT & BASIL
Fresh, authentic Thai ingredients and a slow layered process were the key learnings I took away with me after observing Ballarat's master of Thai cuisine prepare the most amazing green curry I have ever tasted at last week's Jiggety-Jig farmers market. Damien Jones from Catfish Thai took some time out from his busy restaurant, to demonstrate his process of creating a most delightful and aromatic green curry of pork, corn, thai eggplant and basil.
Cooking from scratch is an ideal way to make a dish truly tasty and nutritious, but this man takes the concept to a whole new level. One might be easily overwhelmed by so many ingredients, but Damien is a vision of calm as he undertakes the preparation of his ingredients serenely and methodically he transforms his ingredients as he layers the flavours to create a sublime green curry. He sources his exotic fresh ingredients from the Melbourne markets very early each morning, large red chillis, tiny green Thai chillis, garlic, lemon grass, shallots, galangal, red turmeric, coriander roots, apple eggplants, pea eggplants, baby corn , cocnuts and Thai basil. The shrimp paste and fish sauce are premium versions sourced from an Asian grocer and everything else, the cream (from fresh coconuts), stock and herbs are fresh. Damien prefers fresh herbs as they taste better and are far more aromatic than the dried variants.
A tip I will share having watched this food magician prepare this recipe, is to take your time to ensure the paste is well ground in the mortar and pestle. I do tend to throw my ingredients into a mortar and pestle, give them a quick mash and then plonk the slurry into the pan feeling quite pleased with myself for embarking an epicurean work of edible art made with fresh ingredients. Something Damien has taught me is that the secret to an awesome curry paste is to grind the ingredients with the pestle in a downward motion to ensure they strike against the mortar to break down. Sloshing your ingredients around in a slurry will not transform them into the desired state required to make a truly remarkable curry. This takes time. Do it slowly and deliberately, the extra time and effort you take with your ingredients in the mortar and pestle will produce an amazing paste, allowing you to observe the subtle transformation of the fresh ingredients you are preparing.
If you have the time and inclination I highly recommend sourcing the fresh ingredients and undertaking Damien's green curry recipe, you will not be disappointed. It's the perfect dish to master for a special occasion to impress anyone who enjoys quality cuisine.