Thai food celebrates colors, textures, and flavors, balancing between salty, sweet, sour, and bitter in a dance that turned me into an addict long ago. Avocados fit beautifully into that dance. One of my favorite dishes to order when we go out for Thai food is green curry. But it’s also one of my favorite to make at home, because it is simple and can be customized to suit your mood and what is in season…like California Avocados!
I recently whipped up this version which celebrates the color green, featuring a variety of green summer vegetables. Zucchini adds a bit of nuttiness, kale adds a bit of chewy texture with a hint of bitterness that is toned down by the coconut curry mixture it is simmered in, green peas add a pop of juiciness, and avocado, added at the end, adds creamy sweetness.
I used to start my Thai curries by heating some oil in a pan, then adding my curry paste and cooking until it became fragrant, and then adding the coconut milk. A few years ago I learned a different technique when cooking from my friend Nancie McDermott’s books that I now prefer. You start by adding 1/3 cup of your coconut oil to your pan and cooking it until it thickens slightly and becomes fragrant. This step adds extra flavor that you don’t get doing it the other way! Then you add the curry paste and mix it into the coconut milk and cook that together for an additional 3 minutes. At this point your flavor base is ready and you can add the rest of your curry sauce ingredients, as well as any vegetables that require more cooking time, like the onion and kale in this recipe. Once those veggies are tender, then you can add the quick cooking veg to cook and then you’re done! Easy peasy right? I hope you try out this curry. It’s bright and flavorful and perfect for summer. This is a mild curry, so if you like a bit more heat, add a thinly sliced serrano pepper to the curry when you add the onion and kale! Just make sure you don’t forget the California avocado—it’s what makes this curry extra special.
California Avocado & Green Vegetable Thai Green Curry Recipe
Makes 4 to 5 servings Ingredients:
1 can (14 ounces) unsweetened coconut milk, divided
2 tablespoons green curry paste
1 yellow onion, chopped
½ bunch (about 2.5 ounces) lacinato (aka, dinosaur or Tuscan kale), ribs removed and discarded and leaves roughly chopped
½ cup vegetable stock
4 teaspoons coconut sugar or brown sugar
½ teaspoon soy sauce or gluten-free tamari
½ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 zucchini, sliced in half lengthwise, then sliced crosswise into ½-inch width slices
¾ cup frozen green peas
2 California avocados, chopped
¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
Steamed jasmine rice, to eat along side
- Shake the can of coconut milk vigorously to mix it together as much as possible before opening it. Measure out 1/3 cup of the milk into a medium saucepan or small wok and bring it to a gentle boil over medium heat. Cook, stirring it occasionally, until it has thickened slightly and is fragrant, about 3 minutes.
- Add the curry paste and cook, stirring to mix the paste into the coconut milk and start to heat the paste, about 3 minutes.
- Add the chopped onion and kale and stir gently to coat everything well in the curry. Add the remaining coconut milk, vegetable stock, sugar, soy sauce and salt and stir well. Bring the curry to a boil, then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer, stirring occasionally, until the onion and kale are tender and the curry thickens slightly, about 15 minutes.
- Stir in the zucchini and green peas, then let the curry return to a boil and cook everything for an additional minute, then remove the saucepan from the heat. Transfer the curry to individual bowls and top with chopped avocado, then sprinkle with the cilantro. Serve immediately with hot steamed jasmine rice.