Thai Curries are known the world over. You visit any Thai restaurant anywhere in the world and you can be guaranteed that a red, green or yellow curry, or possibly all, will be featured on the menu. However, there is another curry which can be found in nearly every Thai restaurant in Thailand, be it an up market outlet or a basic street outlet, which is hardly featured on Thai restaurants menus anywhere else in the world, for the simple reason that it’s far too hot for the westerner’s palate.
The mouth burning Jungle curry (gaeng pa) originates from the jungles of the northern region of Thailand, hence its name, and unlike the usual tourist favourites such as red and green curies it is a watery rather than being creamy, the reason being that the coconut milk, commonly used in red and green curries, is replaced with water. The reason for this being that the area from where the curry originates doesn’t grow coconuts.
I’ve already mention that Jungle curry is hot and you really should only give it a try if you have a stomach and mouth of steel. I can eat spicy food and have enjoyed a jungle curry on numerous occasions. However, there was one occasion when I stupidly asked for it phet (spicy), what a mistake, I assumed it would be the usual jungle hot but this was absolutely unbearable and even I, a chilli lover at heart, couldn’t eat it. So if you do want to give jungle curry a try, it’s recommended you simply ask for a jungle curry, although it will be hot, the other spices used will taste more prominent due to the use of water in the dish.
So if you think you can eat it hot, then you’re ready for the jungle curry.
Want to give it a try at home, here’s a simple recipe for you:
– 2 tablespoons cooking oil
– 600 grams pork, cut into well pieces
– 2 tablespoons jungle curry paste
– 50 grams string bean, cut into 1″ long
– 10 grams fresh peppercorn
– 2 cups or water
– 2 tablespoons fish sauce
– 1/4 teaspoon salt
– 5 kaffir lime leaves torn
– 4 or 5 chili peppers, sliced
– 1/2 cup holy basil
1. Heat oil in a wok over medium heat, add jungle curry paste and stir until aromatic. Then add pork and stir until nearly done.
2. Add peppercorns, string beans, baby corn and 1 cup of water. Stir and wait until boiling.
3. Add 1 cup of waterand season with fish sauce, salt, chilis and kaffir lime leaves.
4. Wait until boiling again, add holy basil and stir until all ingredients mixed well. Remove from heat.
5. Transfer to a serving bowl. Serve immediately with hot steamed rice.