GREEN CURRY

In the heat of summer, the spicy, tangy, sweetness of green curry cools and satisfies my palate. 

greencurryyumGreen Curry or kaeng khiao wan as it’s traditionally called, is a Thai curry made from green curry paste which consists of delicious things like; green chilies, kaffir lime zest, cilantro, coriander, lemongrass, cumin, garlic and more. The exact combination of spices and herbs can vary from region to region. Once the paste is prepared, it is then mixed with coconut milk, fish sauce, basil, and a variety of protein and veggie; again depending on location.

I grew to love green curry as a summertime dish while traveling through Thailand. Initially, when someone suggested I try a hot curry to combat the heat of the day I thought they were crazy, but decided to give it a try. Amazingly, they were right, the spiciness of the curry elicited a cooling response in my body and I felt cooler and more adjusted to the heat. Then I started thinking about it and realized that many cultures that exist in hot climates have the spiciest food...hm... enter the detective hat. Eating spicy food elicits a gustatory facial sweating response, which also prompts the back of the neck and hairline to sweat. The sweat initiates a cooling response similar to placing a cool, wet cloth on the back of the neck. Fascinating!  Now back to the green curry....

greencurryingredientsFrom a culinary perspective, making authentic green curry from scratch can feel super daunting in the westernized kitchen as some of the ingredients are quite unfamiliar to the typical market. I highly recommend finding an Asian market close by and going on a sensory adventure. Not only will you more than likely find all of the needed ingredients you will also have the pleasure of seeing, smelling, touching exotic fruits and veggies that are not typically available in your grocery store.  If , however, you’re not up for grinding some green curry paste in your mortar and pestle, you can always purchase a jar of it and start with that. Just be mindful of the ingredients and look to avoid any flavor enhancing chemicals or additives. Once you prepare the basic curry sauce, you can add any number of veggies and protein. My current favorite is salmon with some broccoli, zucchini, peas and a couple of slices of avocado.

From a health perspective, traditional green curry is jam packed with healthful herbs and spices. Galangal is a root that is in the ginger family and has many of the same properties as ginger. Turmeric is anti-inflammatory. Cilantro is anti-microbial, anti-viral, anti-fungal and aids in decreasing cholesterol while also helping the body detox. The list goes on and on...

There is research on curry in general, which suggests that consuming curry based dishes can help lower cholesterol and blood pressure, reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, increase digestive balance, and decrease systemic inflammation and oxidative stress. What’s not to love!??