HomeRecipesMain DishNo Nightshade Green Curry Paste

No Nightshade Green Curry Paste

If you even dabbled in Asian cooking before you discovered your nightshade sensitivity, you probably know about red and green spice pastes, oftentimes called chili pastes. That latter name is aptly descriptive, because typically what makes the pastes red and green is nightshade peppers. Therefore, off limits for the nightshade sensitive.

The loss is doubly painful because these handy little spice packs are an absolute amazing way to create quick and tasty dishes with whatever assortment of veggies and protein you have on hand. They are fantastic cooking tools.

As a result, every now and then I look at a vegetable ingredient and think oh, that might work to help create a chili paste. Usually it doesn’t, but a couple of years ago I realized that garlic scapes might provide a solid, tasty, and savory green base for a green curry paste.

I’ve played with this recipe off and on over the last few years, and there’s no question in my mind that I’m going to modify it further as the opportunity presents. But as long as there might still be garlic scapes in your local market I thought I would share it in case someone else wants to play with it as well.

Combined with a can of coconut milk this creates a nice and mild and nearly-Thai flavor. You could try adding more horseradish at the end to elevate the kick, but this is tasty and authentically flavorful as is.

I’m sure for some people some of these ingredients are going to be brand new, and require a trip to a local Asian market. Lemongrass and galanga are both available in powdered form, but I’d caution you stay fresh. I have not tried making this with dried powder, and don’t intend to if I can avoid it. Since the modus operandi of spice paste is to capture live flavors, I think using these ingredients in powder form somewhat defeats the purpose. But if it’s all you’ve got, give it a try. Let us know in the comments how it works.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons green peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 8 whole garlic scapes, minus the heads
  • 1 tablespoon fresh galangal
  • 1.5 inches horseradish root
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, leaves and stalks
  • 2 lemongrass stalks
  • zest and juice of one lime
  • 2 shallots
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons shrimp paste
  • liquid as needed

INSTRUCTIONS

1Toast coriander and cumin in a skillet or a toaster oven. After it’s cooled, grind with the peppercorns. Toast the shrimp paste as well.

2Pound or process the fresh ingredients into a paste. If doing this by hand, it’s worth your while to chop everything as finely as possible. If using a food processor you can roughly chop the fresh items for best blender action.

3In traditional green curry paste hot green peppers provide both a flavor kick and a significant quantity of the green matter. That’s where the garlic scapes come in, only they don’t contain as much moisture as peppers. Supplement with a neutral oil if you need more liquid to make the food processor function optimally.

4To cook with meat use about a quarter cup per pound of meat. Mix so the paste is spread fairly uniformly, and allow to marinate for an hour or three. While there is salt in the paste, a little extra salt won’t go amiss here. Just don’t use the usual amount you might for this quantity of meat. Saute the meat, throw in any veggies you desire, then add a can of coconut milk and simmer until done.

5To cook with veggies, just add the past when you would normally add the spices in a curry. Add a can of coconut milk and simmer until done.

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