Healing Foods, Installment 1

Anytime I get a cold or stuffy nose, there are certain food that I swear help me feel better, faster. Like many people, chicken soup always makes me feel warm and closer to 100%, but I also get a crazy hankering for spicy and garlicky food, so curries and stir-frys are always welcome when I am sickies. One that I find myself craving is a Green Curry, which can be made in both vegetarian and meaty varieties. There is no real rule to how you make this curry, except for the two base flavor components, which are green curry paste and coconut milk.

Green curry paste is a mixture of chilis, herbs (cilantro being a main one), lemongrass, spices, lime, ginger, garlic, and a little oil that you can make at home, if you are adventurous and have access to all of the ingredients. I usually find it easier to purchase pre-made varieties in the ethic food aisle or at Asian markets. It is powerful stuff sometimes, and keeps for a good long time. You just need to experiment with it to discover how much you like to use to flavor dishes.

Coconut milk, in this instance, is almost a must because of the way it carries the flavors of the curry paste throughout the dish. Please feel free to use the light version, as it really does not compromise the flavor, but try using the full-fat version for a special occasion or for company; the richness is a treat.

Once you have the curry paste and coconut milk, the rest is up to you. You should feel free to add more garlic and ginger to the dish, and certainly more chilis, if you like spicy food. The recipe is pretty basic and lends itself to customization, based on what you like or your mood. I’ll cover the basics of stirfrys and curries in another post, but you’ll see that this is just a variation on a theme.


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