I do like Thai food, I have never been disappointed in it either at a restaurant or at a friends home for dinner. I like that it is not too spicy, (Aaagh pass the fire extiguisher!) and that you can still taste the ingredients and not just "hot". Sadly the nearest Thai restaurant is a long way from me so I resolved to cook my own. I have often worked as a cook on various boats so sometimes I feel all cooked out, but I made an exception for Thai cookery and even bought a book. I was a bit dismayed by the long length of (where I am ) hard to find ingredients and so put it on hold until a couple of years ago I found the solution in a jar of Bart Green Thai Curry Paste.
Small and Mighty!
The glass jar contains just 90g of a rich, green fragrant paste, (Just pausing to wipe some off the keyboard!) It is easily recognisable by it´s silver top and silver and black label and will be found in the spices section. You can see the colour through the glass, sort of mucky green but it tastes better than it looks, wait until you try it! On the back of the label is always a scrumptious recipe and a list of ingredients which in this case is essential to reproduce as that is why we are buying it!
Ingredients; Green Chillies, Water, Vegetable Oil, Onion, Lemon Grass, Coriander, Lime Juice, Fish Sauce, Coriander Leaf, Garlic, Lime Leaf, Spirit Vinegar, Ginger, Salt, Shrimp Powder, Lactic Acid, Acetic Acid, Sugar, Citric Acid, Potassium Sorbate, Guar Gum.
Contains Fish and Shrimp
Look at all those things you would have had to buy!
How I use it.
Although there is a recipe on the back, in this case for Thai style Salmon en Croute, they do not tell you how to generally use the paste, it is so easy. Here is Chicken Thai as cooked by Splishsplash.
First slice the chicken breast and seal in some hot oil in a fairly deep frying pan.
Add ( For two) one teaspoon of the paste and let it fry for two mins, the lovely smell of hot spices will hit your nose immediately .
Add about 250ml of coconut milk or coconut cream dissolved in hot water.
Add a veg or two of your choice, I micro green beans or broccoli, put on the lid and cook gently for 20mins
Season to taste and serve with rice.
Wait for the compliments.
Its great! tasty and easy, start off with a little of the paste as you can always add more if you wish and if by chance (as I did once), you add too much, serve a bowl of plain yoghurt with a little lemon juice mixed in to take the heat out.
It is also very versatile, I add it to homemade turkey burgers and spread a little on fish steaks, even add a dash to my beef stews. It´s good value too as it keeps for 6 weeks in the fridge once opened as unlike other brands that have a shorter life. My jar which I bought a couple of weeks ago has a best before date of 02 2013 just in case you are stocking up and going" Far, Far Away".
I have tried other brands but always come back to Bart, for me it´s just the best.
5 stars from me. but please put how to use generally on the jar.
Price around 2pounds for 90g a little goes a long way. Available in most good supermarkets and also avail on-line from www.bartspices.com
For recipe ideas visit www,bartspices.com and have a look at their exotic web site, or write to Bart Spices Ltd, Bristol BS3 4AD for a free recipe book.
Try it soon!
Thanks for reading, also posted on Ciao under Splishsplash
I saw a jar of this paste on sale in my local Julian Graves which always seems to stock the Bart products. Having tried some of their other items and been impressed I decided to give this a go as a recent trip to Thailand had awakaned an obsession with the cuisine.
The jar I bought was priced at £1.49 for a 90g jar which, considering you will get a fair few portions out of the jar is not too bad at all. As a guide I managed to make 3 seperate curries from this jar and found this to be a suitable strength but you make this to your own taste so you may find it goes further or not so far for you.
In any event the premise here is to basically add a can of coconut milk to a dollop of the paste, heat until it starts to bubble and then whack in whatever you like.
I make this with tofu or quorn generally as my other half is veggie and it works well with both. I also use a lower fat or 'light' version of the coconut milk to try and keep a handle on the calories a bit. I have never found a problem with the consistency whilst using this lower fat coconut milk, the only problem I have is that occasionally they do not have the light version in stock at my local supermarket.
I have made this once with chicken and when using actual meat I would always recommend that you actually seal the meat in the paste before adding the coconut milk as this seems to work better at intensifying the flavour for some reason and was the way I saw them do it while we were there. I believe that because tofu is more porous it does not require the same level of intense seasoning.
The quality of this paste is, in my opinion, one of the best I have tried. It also smells right and what I mean by this is that on opening the jar I was struck by how similar it smelled to a fresh packet we had actually bought back from a Thai supermarket in Bangkok. Other products I have tried in this country have not come quite so close to that authentic smell.
The paste contains all the ingredients you would expect, including coriander, lemongrass and chilli plus the requisite key ingredients of shrimp paste and fish sauce. It should be pointed out that anyone with an allergy to shellfish should avoid this product as it does contain some.
As an aid to thai cooking I would highly recommend this product if you can find it, I believe Bart actually do have an online shop which is worth checking out if you cannot find this on shelves near you.
I am a huge fan of Bart spice pots, i bought lots of different types when they were on special offer once and have never looked back since. The jars are small, so very little waste. Rather than some other Thai Curry pastes I have bought in the past and have had green festering goo building up at the back of the fridge. Its`a 90g glass jar and makes at least 2-3 servings. I got it at a bargain price of 55p!! But usual price is £1.59, so not bad at all.
All you do is cook off some chicken, beef, prawns or veg, add 3-6 teaspoons according to how hot you like your curry, then add a can of coconut milk. Cook down, taste, then add more paste if you want....simple! Splosh it on a load of basmati rice....and dinner!!!
Not a low calorie option I admit, but other than trying to make your own paste from scratch, its amazing. An aromatic blend of green chillies, onion, lemon grass, fish sauce, garlic, ginger and coriander (few other bits here and there) The packaging gives other options of recipes, this one has a thai salmon en croute.....strange, but worth a crack if that floats your boat!!!
I have a whole combination of Thai varieties of Barts Sauces in my larder including Massaman Thai, yellow thai and Tamarind sauce. My favorite is massaman...truely scummy.
Ever since a trip to a Thai restaurant in Oxford (Chiang Mai) I have been looking for ways to recreate some of the dishes at home. I quite fancy making my own Thai curry pastes but currently am a bit under-equipped in my rental flat's kitchen so some sacrifices have to occasionally be made (normally when it comes to anything that requires a food processor!). However in this little paste from Bart I think I have found a pretty good compromise.
My understanding is that an authentic paste would contain:
Kaffir lime rind
I'm not sure how the quantities compare but Bart's paste seems to come pretty close (Green Chilli (32%), Water, Vegetable Oil, Onion, Lemon Grass (5%), Coriander, Lime Juice (3.5%), Fish Sauce (Anchovy, Water, Salt, Sugar), Coriander Leaf, Garlic, Lime Leaf (3%), Spirit Vinegar, Ginger, Salt, Shrimp Powder, Lactic Acid, Acetic Acid, Sugar, Citric Acid, Preservative: Potassium Sorbate, Stabiliser: Guar Gum.)
For a Thai green curry you can either use the paste with coconut milk or coconut cream and I have found I prefer the results with the cream as it's a slightly thicker sauce. If you use the Bart Coconut Cream then I find about half the jar of paste and one carton of cream makes up the right spiciness for me (this makes it really quite spicy so those who prefer it less hot should add less paste or more coconut cream).
To start I cook some chicken, turkey, pork or prawns and along with it fry a medium sliced onion, one sliced red pepper, one orange pepper and one yellow pepper then add the paste and cream. This makes enough sauce for between 4-6 meals/people. Recently I also added (unauthentically!) some left over beansprouts, which tasted lovely too.
You can also use this paste to flavour other dishes (see Bart website or jar) such as Salmon en Croute.
It's a very simple to use paste, you just need to experiment a little to get the right level of spiciness. The nice thing about this paste is it's full of flavour and not just hotness so even if you use only a little for a mild curry you'll still get plenty of taste.
The jar will store for about 18 months unopened so is a good store cupboard standby and once open the rest needs to be used within 6 weeks. However I have had very good results when freezing the made up curry in batches for a later date.
Where to buy:
Sometimes I find Tesco don't stock it or hide it away in a random place (and my local one definitely doesn't stock the coconut cream) so the most reliable place I've found to buy it is Waitrose.
All in all an easy to use product that produces delicious results!