Pongo's Thai Green Curry

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Pongo's Thai Green Curry

Postby Pongo » Thu 31 Jan, 2013 9:31 pm

Hi Folks. I thought it about time I share one of my go to hiking meals. This is miles ahead of anything you'd buy in a camping store and is about as close to authentic thai green curry as you'll get on the trail. As with all of my food, everything is dehydrated so weight is kept to a minimum. It is a 2-pot meal.

This meal involves preparing a curry paste / powder as a base which forms the majority of the flavour of the meal. The paste involves a multitude of ingredients and its preparation is described separately. I prepared a couple of litres of paste (which involved multiplying the below ingredients by 8) so have a handy supply in the cupboard.

This took some time to work out, so where the work is originally mine 'all rights reserved' and all that. Sources have been provided where relevant.


Preparation


Preparing The Curry Powder


This recipe is taken from: http://thaifood.about.com/od/thaicurryp ... ypaste.htm

I’ve removed a few ingredients from the link above to make the paste a bit more dehy friendly. Namely the original recipe has brown sugar and coconut milk, both of which can be added as powers after dehydrating if you wish. Try to use a naturally brewed soy sauce, I've found that the more additives something has, the harder it is to dehydrate.

I have also added kafir lime leaves to the paste. If you can’t find fresh lime leaves, buy dried and add 1 or 2 to the pot when rehydrating – They’re not typically eaten however and can add to your carry out waste.

Also I used whole cumin seeds and whole white pepper, toasted them in a pan and then ground them in a mortar and pestle before adding them to the paste.


Ingredients

1 stalk lemongrass, minced
1-3 green chilies, sliced (Thai green chilies OR jalapeno – bog standard chillies also work fine) – 3 chillies will get you a fairly hot curry.
1 shallot, sliced
4-5 cloves garlic
1 thumb-size piece of galangal OR ginger, thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped fresh coriander/cilantro leaves & stems
1/2 cup fresh basil
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground white pepper (available in most supermarket spice aisles)
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
3 Tbsp. fish sauce
1 tsp. shrimp paste (available at Asian stores) I substituted soy sauce in here
2 Tbsp. lime juice
6 (give or take) Fresh kafir lime leaves, stem and spine removed


1. Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until a paste is formed. If the mix isn’t catching, add water to it as it will dehy right out later. Do not add and oils etc…
2. Spoon paste into dehydrator trays and flatten out.
3. Dehydrate at the temperature setting your dehydrator has for vegetables, for me this was around 56-58 degrees
4. The paste will dry right out and with some coaxing can be removed as a single piece from the tray.
5. Break into pieces and blend in a blender or grind out in a mortar and pestle until a fine sandy power forms. You now have curry powder!

I'm not sure how to post a pic without it being enormous, so here is a link to an image of the powder: http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa15 ... d19b5c.jpg

Preparing the other ingredients


1. Separately dehydrate your desired meat and vegetables as you usually would. I use minced chicken, poo... mushrooms, zucchini and spring onions.
2. Buy some dehydrated coconut milk from your locals coles or woollies
3. Buy some basmati rice


Getting ready for the trail

At Home:

1. Add curry powder (1-2 heaped tablespoons), dehydrated chicken and vegtables to a zip lock bag.
2. In a small zip lock bag portion out coconut milk powder. In theory you could combine steps 1 and 2, however as I don’t have portion control down pat yet I’ve got this as two steps.
3. In another zip lock portion out desired amount of basmati rice.

The meal w/o rice: http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa15 ... 2fd19c.jpg

On the Trail:

1. Boil enough water (plus about an extra 20%) to cover the chicken/curry mix
2. Add the mix to the water, stir, put a lid on it and wrap in a tea cosy / beanie etc… to rehydrate (As with most rehydration the longer you leave it the better, aim for 30-45 minutes).
3. When you're about 15-20 minutes away from eating, prepare the rice using an absorption method. Set aside
4. Stir the coconut powder to the curry mix (again you may be able to eliminate this step)
5. Add the mix to your rice and enjoy!
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Re: Pongo's Thai Green Curry

Postby cjhfield » Sun 18 Oct, 2015 7:41 am

Pongo, I presume you cook the chicken before dehydrating. Why not add the spice to the chicken? Is it because you think it won't dehydrate as well?

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Re: Pongo's Thai Green Curry

Postby bernieq » Fri 20 Nov, 2015 4:56 pm

Chicken green curry (and red curry, too) are staples of my home-cooked dehy repertoire. A couple of things I do differently are :
Cook and dehydrate the rice - it cooks quicker on the trail and uses less gas
Cook the mince chicken with coconut milk and dehydrate - tastes better than adding desiccated coconut on the trail (if cooked and reduced so it's not too sloppy, it dehydrates well)

Chris, you can add the spices before dehydrating but a lot of flavour is lost. Adding the spice mix on the trail produces stronger flavors.
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Re: Pongo's Thai Green Curry

Postby cjhfield » Fri 20 Nov, 2015 7:44 pm

Thanks Bernieq, all very useful.

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Re: Pongo's Thai Green Curry

Postby ofuros » Sat 21 Nov, 2015 3:47 am

Sounds good Pongo, thanks for sharing. 8)
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Re: Pongo's Thai Green Curry

Postby Drew » Sun 20 Dec, 2015 10:51 am

What method do you use to cook the mince chicken before dehydrating? Just fried in a small amount of oil?
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Re: Pongo's Thai Green Curry

Postby Tortoise » Sun 20 Dec, 2015 12:39 pm

bernieq wrote:Chicken green curry (and red curry, too) are staples of my home-cooked dehy repertoire. A couple of things I do differently are :
Cook and dehydrate the rice - it cooks quicker on the trail and uses less gas
Cook the mince chicken with coconut milk and dehydrate - tastes better than adding desiccated coconut on the trail (if cooked and reduced so it's not too sloppy, it dehydrates well)

Pongo uses coconut milk powder, which is what I use, not desiccated coconut, so you get the full flavour. My philosophy in making things simpler is not to dry anything i can easily buy that's already dried. With one load of beef and chicken mince on my 5-tray dehydrator, I get the makings of LOTS of meals - using soup bases (e.g. cuppa soups), a whole range of dried veggies (from a health food shop), extra spices or dried curry paste (I haven't yet been able to get a combination of spices that tastes as good as that).
Bring everything other than the cuppa soup to the boil, sit 10 mins. Bring back to the boil, stir in soup, stand for a couple of minutes. Almost no washing up, tasty enough for me - tastier than freeze dried meals imo, and oodles cheaper. :D

Sometimes I cook and dry brown rice (rehydrates quickly, with extra nutrition and taste), but I often just pick cuppa soups with noodles, and add heaps of dried veg including tomato flakes, or use rice vermicelli from the supermarket shelf - just add boiling water and stand. I often just throw it in with the mince and veggies come dinner time. You could use dehyd rice or pre-prepared vermicelli with Pongo's recipe.
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Re: Pongo's Thai Green Curry

Postby Tortoise » Sun 20 Dec, 2015 12:43 pm

Drew wrote:What method do you use to cook the mince chicken before dehydrating? Just fried in a small amount of oil?

At the suggestion of another forum member, I've taken to just simmering the chicken mince in water. I boiled off most of the water, and used paper towels to pat the mince dry before i put it on the tray. I would have lost a little flavour, but not much. I lost a fair bit of the fat, instead of adding some, and it ended up staying as 'little' mince i.e. I didn't have lumps I needed to break up for quicker/more even drying.

Worked so well I do that with beef mince now too.
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Re: Pongo's Thai Green Curry

Postby Drew » Tue 22 Dec, 2015 3:19 pm

Thanks Tortoise. I might add this to the New Year's walk menu.
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Re: Pongo's Thai Green Curry

Postby Pongo » Sat 02 Jan, 2016 9:40 pm

Hey folks, thanks for the interest in the recipie :)

I've played around with chicken a bit and have found the follow yields the closest approximation to fresh cooked chicken mince on the trail:

* Use a cheaper mince, which is normally dervied from a fattier thigh cut - I wouldn't use this at home as the odor of frying thigh just doesn't agree with me but obviously this is different cooking so different approaches are needed and I push through these things.
* Add a splash of water to a cold wok (or pan) break your mince into it and turn on a medium heat.
* Break the mince up with a spatula as you go
* As it begins to cook the mince will leach juices into the wok so adding extra water shouldn't be necessary
* Once the mince seals add 1/2 - 1 tsp of powdered chicken stock, a good crack of pepper and salt and some home made garlic powder (made from your dehydrator of course!).
* Cook the mince until tender and cooked but don't over do it, just cooked is sufficient, you just want to go over board, just kill off the bacteria, cook it through - it's about to have the hell cooked out of it in the dehydrator any ways.
* Drain off the broth that will have formed. If in doubt, cook a bit more and drain again. I mix mine in with the dogs food and she goes apeo for it.
* Dehydrate until dried (about 8 hours for memory) - again don't over do it otherwise the meat won't bounce back as well when rehydrating.

Things I've found - the cheap mince brings with it a better flavour. The stock, garlic, salt and pepper cook some flavour back into the meat. Overdrying your meat is a recipie for chewy meals.


Also there was a question as to why I don't do spices with the meat - they tend to soak into the meat and don't permeate the dish the way you would expect with normal cooking. So the question is, do you want your meat to taste like the spice or the whole dish?

I've also found any dry ingredient acts as an emulsifier and meat done this way contributes to the soupyness of the food (but you can get cream into chicken this way I've found - still soupy though). Separate preparation makes for better consistency imo.
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Re: Pongo's Thai Green Curry

Postby DanShell » Tue 05 Jan, 2016 1:28 pm

This is possibly going to come across as the worlds silliest question but when dehydrating a curry paste for instance how do you spread it across your trays when the trays are full of holes??

Do I use some baking paper or something?
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Re: Pongo's Thai Green Curry

Postby corvus » Tue 05 Jan, 2016 3:25 pm

DanShell wrote:This is possibly going to come across as the worlds silliest question but when dehydrating a curry paste for instance how do you spread it across your trays when the trays are full of holes??

Do I use some baking paper or something?


Yes Dan use Baking paper or buy a solid sheet if they make one for your Machine.
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Re: Pongo's Thai Green Curry

Postby DanShell » Tue 05 Jan, 2016 4:33 pm

Thanks, thought as much.
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Re: Pongo's Thai Green Curry

Postby Drew » Wed 06 Jan, 2016 4:54 pm

Thanks Pongo. I didn't end up trying this for my New Years walk but will definitely come back to it at some stage.
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Re: Pongo's Thai Green Curry

Postby DanShell » Fri 15 Jan, 2016 4:47 pm

Pongo, we just rehydrated a batch and I must say this is the best dehydrated meal I have ever tried. Thanks very much for sharing.

Image

I didn't get a pic of it rehydrated because I was too busy enjoying. It needed a bit of salt for my liking but that's a personal thing.
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Re: Pongo's Thai Green Curry

Postby Pongo » Sun 31 Jan, 2016 12:10 pm

Thanks for the feedback DanShell! Wrapped to hear you enjoyed it.

If you're looking for more salt, consider carefully increasing the shrimp paste. Of course standard salt is easy to add after the fact and won't spoil the broth so to speak.

Now I guess I should finally get to work on making that dehy paella I've always wanted...!
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Re: Pongo's Thai Green Curry

Postby Drew » Sat 06 Feb, 2016 8:09 pm

I'm just bagging a batch of this now. I roughly followed the quantities in your recipe for the curry powder but I have no idea how much curry this should make. I was about to put it all in for 6 serves but thought I'd better check in case that's way too much powder for 6 serves! I think I used about 600gm chicken.

Cheers
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Pongo's Thai Green Curry

Postby DanShell » Sat 06 Feb, 2016 8:36 pm

Drew, pongo is obviously the best person to answer you but in my case I used it over 5 serves with around 900g of chicken and I found it worked well for me. I like a large main meal and I don't mind a bit of heat to my meals although I didn't find this too hot.
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Re: Pongo's Thai Green Curry

Postby Drew » Sat 06 Feb, 2016 9:20 pm

Thanks Dan. No rush so I'll just leave some powder aside and can add more later if I need. Sounds like it should be about right for 6 serves though.
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Re: Pongo's Thai Green Curry

Postby Pongo » Wed 17 Feb, 2016 8:58 pm

Good questions!

I generally allow 3 rounded tablespoons for 2 serves, go mounded (like you're making a milo like no one is watching - defy gravity) if you want it hot (or add more chillies to the mix - or sliced dehy chilles to the bag after).

As you folk will have worked out, the powder has kick, and I have overdone it in the past. When in doubt, put the powder in a separate ziplock and add in as you go to boost the heat.

In terms of meat, I've always struggled to eat as much at home as I would in the bush, so I generally end up putting in about what would have been 150g of meat (pre dehy), but I do this by eye and it's typically a handful for 1-2 serves. Bulk out your proteins with poo... mushrooms and if you're really keen maybe some tofu (which I haven't dried before but it's on the list).

Wrapped to know people are trying this dish, hope it works well for you, make em jealous on the trail 8)
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Re: Pongo's Thai Green Curry

Postby Drew » Thu 18 Feb, 2016 11:00 am

Well I ended up whacking it all in so we'll just have to cross our fingers and hope it's not too hot! I was meaning to dehydrate some mushrooms to add in - thanks for reminding me. This is for eating on the Overland at Easter, so you'll have to wait a while for the verdict. Cheers!
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Re: Pongo's Thai Green Curry

Postby DanShell » Sun 21 Feb, 2016 3:08 pm

Field tested this recipe on the weekend and yes it was even better in the bush than it was at home :) Should have grabbed a photo but I was too busy telling everyone how good it was.
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Re: Pongo's Thai Green Curry

Postby Rodders1948 » Sun 10 Apr, 2016 8:31 am

Pongo your recipe sounds great. Is it possible to dehydrate cooked rice?
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Re: Pongo's Thai Green Curry

Postby corvus » Sun 10 Apr, 2016 11:46 pm

[quote="Rodders1948"]Pongo your recipe sounds great. Is it possible to dehydrate cooked rice?[/quote
Cooked rice dehydrates nicely you don't lose a lot of weight but it re cooks up much quicker.
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Re: Pongo's Thai Green Curry

Postby Drew » Mon 11 Apr, 2016 12:13 pm

We had this curry on two nights on the Overland and it was delicious. I'll definitely be making it again but I think I'll ditch the chicken and just do lots of mushrooms and veggies. The chicken just doesn't rehydrate well for me - even with a whole afternoon of cold rehydration on one occasion it was still quite chewy. Great flavour though. Would be good with vermicelli as well as rice.
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