This recipe requires a bit of preparation, but it can all be done in advance. In fact, you can cook the curry the day before you plan to serve it, because the flavours will only get better with time. If time is tight you could buy a good-quality curry paste, such as Mae Ploy; you'll need about 60gm, plus a little extra fresh turmeric for colour. But shop-bought pastes tend to be quite salty, so be wary of over-seasoning the curry with fish sauce. The roti is adapted from a recipe in David Thompson's Thai Street Food. You'll need to prepare the roti dough a day ahead, but roll and cook it just before your guests arrive and warm it in the oven just before serving.
- 1 litre coconut cream (4 cups)
- 2 litres coconut milk (8 cups)
- 4 kg chicken thigh fillets, skin on, or small chicken pieces
- 1 butternut pumpkin (about 1kg), cut into 5cm pieces
- 135 gm shaved light palm sugar (½ cup)
- 125 ml fish sauce (½ cup)
- 150 gm tamarind pulp, mixed with 125ml hot water and strained through a fine sieve
- 20 kaffir lime leaves, torn
- To serve: Thai basil, lime wedges, roasted cashews, shaved red shallots and steamed jasmine rice
- 1 kg plain flour (6 2/3 cups)
- 600 gm coconut oil, melted and cooled to room temperature (see note)
- 80 gm margarine
- 2 tbsp coriander seeds, dry-roasted
- 12 cardamom pods, dry-roasted
- 1 tsp cumin seeds, dry-roasted
- 1 tsp white peppercorns
- 10 long red chillies, coarsely chopped
- 30 small dried red chillies, soaked in warm water for 30 minutes, drained
- 20 garlic cloves
- 12 red shallots
- 150 gm fresh turmeric (8cm piece)
- 30 gm (6cm piece galangal (30 gm ()
- Thinly peeled rind of ½ kaffir lime
- 2 tbsp shrimp paste, roasted (see note)
- 3 coriander roots, scraped
- 1For roti, combine flour, 3 tsp salt and 500ml water in a bowl and knead with your hands to form a soft dough, then turn onto a work surface and knead until smooth and elastic. Break into 20 balls and place in a single layer on a tray. Cover with coconut oil, dot with margarine and rest in a cool place (overnight). Working with one ball at a time, stretch the dough, pressing and pushing it with the palm of your hand, until transparent, then pick up the dough and allow it to stretch, pleat and twist itself under its own weight into a long piece. Roll the length of dough into a coil, then flatten the coil to a 20cm disc and transfer to a sheet of baking paper. Repeat with remaining dough and baking paper, stacking the roti as you go. Store in an airtight container until ready to cook. Heat a frying pan over medium heat, add 2 tsp of the coconut oil from the tray and cook roti one at a time, turning once, until golden (1-2 minutes each side).
- 2For curry paste, finely grind spices and 1 tbsp sea salt flakes in a mortar and pestle, then transfer to a food processor with remaining ingredients and process to a fine paste.
- 3Stir 400ml coconut cream in a large saucepan over high heat until oil separates from cream, then add curry paste and fry until fragrant (3-5 minutes). Add remaining coconut cream and milk, bring to the simmer, reduce heat to low-medium, add chicken and pumpkin and simmer until tender (20-40 minutes). Stir through sugar, fish sauce, tamarind liquid and lime leaves, adjusting seasoning to taste. Serve hot scattered with Thai basil, lime wedges, roasted cashews and red shallots, with warm steamed jasmine rice and warm roti to the side.
Note Coconut oil is available in jars from select delicatessens and health-food shops. To roast shrimp paste, wrap it in foil and roast at 180C until fragrant (15 minutes).
Drink Suggestion: Cold, fragrant pilsner. Drink suggestion by Max Allen