Thai curry is one of the world’s perfect foods—sweet and spicy, redolent of a rich cultural history in its mood-altering exotic pungency. For a time, when there was only one Thai restaurant in town, we addicts had no choice but to fork over half a day’s wages to get our fix. Later came an explosion of more moderately priced Thai eateries.
Still, few can afford to eat out every night. The only reasonable option for curry freaks is preparing the dish ourselves. And producing a serviceable Thai curry in your own kitchen isn’t really all that complicated. The secret is curry paste. Sure, you can make your own, using large quantities of galangal, cumin, coriander and turmeric—perhaps taking out a loan via America’s friendly banking system. Alternately, you can stand in the specialty aisle of a chain supermarket, trying to figure out how to budget a good curry or two out of one of those tiny, expensive jars.
Or, you could visit a local Asian market. By far, these have the best prices and selection. What’s stopping you? Worries. Will you be able to find what you need among the bewildering array of strangely labeled products, or will you walk away empty-handed? Will you be welcomed among the regulars, or shunned and ridiculed as an Asian-market newbie?
These worries can be put to rest immediately. All you need to do is wend your way to Southeast Market on 900 South. Take your time; don’t rush things. Trust your own ingenuity. And, if you run into problems, the staff is very friendly.
Once you get home, cut up some boneless chicken breasts and sauté with onions, bell peppers, garlic and whatever interesting, exotic veggies you found at the market. Add a hefty amount of curry paste. Pour in a can of coconut milk. Simmer with Thai basil. Serve with rice—and a great feeling of satisfaction.
423 E. 900 South