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    Thai Curry - Cracking coconut cream or how to fry the curry paste?

    Hello
    I'm from Germany and I just LOVE the thai food. For years I'm trying to cook different recipes, especially thai curries, and I really want to get it perfectly done. However, I'm having problems understanding one thing:

    The thai curries I ate in Thailand or Thai Restaurants, usually have these "bubbles" of fat in it, meaning, the curry sauce doesn't look homogeneous, but in two parts: The sauce and fat (oil).

    In many books they say, I have to cook coconut cream (not milk) on low heat till it starts to separate. This is also called "cracking the coconut cream", in Thai it should be called กะทิแตกมัน I heard.

    However, this is difficult because our coconut cream has stabilizers and does not separate, so I started to make coconutcream from fresh coconuts, and it works much better. But I'm still not sure, when is the perfect moment to put in the paste. Should there be no solid parts of coconut left but only oil, or should there be just bubbles in the coconutcream?

    I also heard, that many people learnt that in Thailand, people use vegetable oil to fry the paste and then add the coconut cream. Others simply use oil and fry the paste, then put the meat, and in the end the coconut milk/cream.

    How is it really done?
    Thanks for any information regarding this cooking process

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    Re: Thai Curry - Cracking coconut cream or how to fry the curry paste?

    The reason we 'crack' the coconut cream is to get the oil out and that makes the curry colorful, also the oil preserves the spice flavor..so the curry smells nicely

    The coconut cream and milk, only difference is the amount of water when they make the milk. So the cream is thicker and doesnt sepaprate. I believe you can use either to cook your curry, with the cream I would add water.

    To your question, you can do either of the 3 ways you said. The idea is to fry curry paste in the oil. In coconut milk, the top layer is rich with coconut oil, in coconut cream it has one layer because all of it is rich in the oil. Whatever you use, crack the cream and then add the papste untill you like. There is no rule lol if you do longer you will get a lot of oil and your curry will look colorful. Also depends on the type of curry you cook, not all need to do that.

    Traditionally, Thais squeeze coconut milk from shredded coconut, 2-3 times. We normally sepaprate the first one, as that is the cream, then may gather the second and third in a pot. Boil it with rare stir to crack the oil. and this is what we take to fry the curry paste. I think the coconut cream is made from 4:1 coconut and water, so it is very thick, personally the whole thing for curry is too thick, I wouldnt like it.

    Have fun and show us your cooking pics

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    Re: Thai Curry - Cracking coconut cream or how to fry the curry paste?

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    Re: Thai Curry - Cracking coconut cream or how to fry the curry paste?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rori View Post
    Have fun and show us your cooking pics
    Hi Rori, and thank you very much for your interesting answer!

    Yesterday, I tried to make a red curry, and I'm again not very happy with the result

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    Ingredients:
    - 12 dried red chillies (not in the picture)
    - 40g garlic
    - 20g shallots
    - 1tbsp coriander root
    - 2tbsp galangal
    - 2tsps kaffir lime peel
    - 2tbsps white peppercorns
    - 1tbsp coriander seeds
    - 1tbsp cumin seeds
    - 1tbsp shrimp paste

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    I heard you have to start from the hardest ingredients, but first grind chillies (which softened in water first) with salt.

    However, I still have pieces of chillie in the paste, I just can't grind it to a homogenous paste. Is that a problem?

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    That's the paste in the end.

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    Now the coconut... extracting the cream

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    Probably I didn't let it simmer for long enough, right?

    I let it simmer for 1-2 minutes, then I stir in 2-3 tbsps of the paste, let it fry for 1-2 minutes, then I added the chicken and some palm sugar, for 2-3 minutes, then 4dl coconut milk (from can), the long beans and egg plant.

    Next I added nam pra prik (fish sauce, chillie and lime juice), kaffir lime leaves, holy basil and let it simmer till the vegetables are ready.

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    The final result. Not how it should be =(

    What am I doing wrong? I suppose I have to let the coconut cream crack much more, right? Anything else?

    Thank you very very much for any help!

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    Re: Thai Curry - Cracking coconut cream or how to fry the curry paste?

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    Re: Thai Curry - Cracking coconut cream or how to fry the curry paste?

    Netik, that looks like a lot of fun
    Honestly I never make my own curry paste..ooops!! lol But I have seen mom, and granny or aunties made it. Thai cooking charms (when men look for a wife) got to come from the sounds of mortar and pestle pounding when making the paste...lol got to be loud and consistent!!

    Although these days people turn to electric grinder to make the paste, faster and not tiring, the result gives us smoothy paste, I still love the home made one..like yours ^__^
    May I ask, how much water you had to make the coconut cream? What we do here, for the whole coconut, after shredding it, we add water to the shredded coconut and squeeze it. We do 3-4 times, the last squeeze we get very watery one (called 'tail'), then we stop squeezing. The first squeeze (called 'head'), we keep it, maybe for a cup for topping the cooked curry. The 'body' - that is what we use for action. Start with boil it, with more or less stir (up to preference)- stir often will give nicer texture of the milk. My granny preferred this way. Then rest the milk, take the top part to fry the paste..like what you did. Need to stir for longer till you see the oil floating, keep adding the top part of the coconut milk if the fry gets too thick. You may see in my pics how it looks. Since you had the whole coconut fruit, you did not need another can. You can use the rest of the milk body to cook your curry.
    Enjoy ^^

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    Re: Thai Curry - Cracking coconut cream or how to fry the curry paste?

    Thanks a lot Rori. I did not use any water for the cream, it's a juicer machine which extracts all the juice from the coconut meat, so I get like 2.5 dl or coconut cream of it.

    but next time I will make it like you said...I'm always not sure how much water I need to cover the coconut meat before I press it out. How much water do you use for 1 coconut? and you don't boil this water and use a blender? Cause that's how I made it so far. It's always much work, but yeah I will try it again

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    Re: Thai Curry - Cracking coconut cream or how to fry the curry paste?

    Cooking by heart is my philosophy
    Hmm for that big coconut, I would use 3-4 cups? I never use the juicer, only hand squeeze lol with metal sieve, at our fresh markets we can buy the shredded coconut and ask them to crush the milk for us, or these days buy sterilised one :(
    For the juicer, I think coconut:water 1:1, or modify it as you like. You may use warm water for best result.
    Will see your colorful curry

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    Re: Thai Curry - Cracking coconut cream or how to fry the curry paste?

    Okay..on a totally off topic............

    I am new here. I'm not currently in Thailand but would like to know more from your experiences living there (assuming you are in Thailand). Anyway, my husband and I are planning to go back this 2nd eid festival wherein we will have 9 days vacation...our first time wasn't that long coz I went there for a training and stayed only for 4 days but for some weird reasons I love Bangkok to the extent of thinking to move there... so how's your life there? And can some tell me how to post a new topic...i'm having hard time navigating

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    Re: Thai Curry - Cracking coconut cream or how to fry the curry paste?

    Quote Originally Posted by MaryRoseGH View Post
    Okay..on a totally off topic............

    I am new here. I'm not currently in Thailand but would like to know more from your experiences living there (assuming you are in Thailand). Anyway, my husband and I are planning to go back this 2nd eid festival wherein we will have 9 days vacation...our first time wasn't that long coz I went there for a training and stayed only for 4 days but for some weird reasons I love Bangkok to the extent of thinking to move there... so how's your life there? And can some tell me how to post a new topic...i'm having hard time navigating
    Let me take this opportunity to welcome you to the forums. I can't help getting amused with your comment that you " love Bangkok for some weird reasons." LOL That rang a familiar bell. Bangkok is also my top favorite place in Thailand, despite its being notorious for its humungus traffic jams, thick smogs, scary rip-offs--the very reasons even Bangkok residents claim they would rather live somewhere else if they had a choice. But then different strokes for different folks.

    To post a new thread, select a section in the forum relevant to your topic . Let's say you chose Bangkok Guidebook- click on that (http://www.thailandqa.com/forum/foru...gkok-Guidebook). On top left click on "Post New Thread" to start a new topic.

    About this current topic, it is interesting to learn the finer points of 'cracking' the coconut cream used in curry. To me that's already catapulting it to the level of artistry. Thanks for the inputs! ;-)

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