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  1. #1

    Default Accessible Indian and Thai curry recipes

    Please help!
    I want to make yummy curries at home (since itd be impractical to eat them as often as I want in restaurants (daily, usually twice)).
    I browse the web for panang, for tikka masala and chicken biriyani.... and the recipes usually involve ingredients Ive never heard of (except on other recipe sites).
    Fish sauce? Seriously? Do I have to keep a bottle of rotted, liquified fish decomposition in my kitchen?
    Garam Masala? What one do I get? Amazon sells them (unlike my local grocery store) from between $5 and $20.
    Ive done the (wildly inconsistent) jar o simmer sauce (about $7 per meal). Ive tried a bunch of the Seasoning Packets (Think Lawrys Sloppy Joe seasoning but rebranded to look asian).

    Are there recipes out there that an average american housewife will recognize as her favorite dishes from the restaurants? I dont want super authentic... just something I can cook for dinner without it being a special occassion.
    OH and Id name my next kid after anyone who can provide a reasonable fascimilie of tom kah gai, that coconut lemongrass soup (with chicken).
    Homeschooling DS13, DS6.


    My spelling was fine, then my brain left me.

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  3. #2


    I can provide zero help, but would love to know too!

  4. #3


    Um, I'm probably no help. My dh LOVES to cook and has all kinds of ethnic foods in his repertoire. However, we ARE the ones that have fish sauce, palm sugar, grow our own Thai, Italian, and holy basil, umpteen kinds of mustard, lemon grass, and an entire kitchen cabinet (all three shelves) jammed with spices.

    I'll take a look at some of his curry recipes, though, and see what I can come up with.

    Homeschooled two kids for 11 years, now trying to pay it forward

    Daughter -- a University of Iowa graduate: BA in English with Creative Writing, BA in Journalism, and a minor in Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies

    Son -- a Purdue University graduate: BS in Computer Science, minor in math, geology, anthropology, and history

  5. #4


    I use the jars. And store bought naan. Very authentic, I know.

    Years ago, before kids, we were regulars at an Indian restaurant about a mile from our house. And I mean regulars. We went there for years and were on a first name basis with the servers and owners. Knowing how much we loved the food, one of the servers actually gave us an Indian cookbook.

    The cookbook was in English but it was very authentic and very, very detailed. I think I tried one or two dishes, but they were so involved, and I ended up substituting all sorts of things (like ghee?), and skipping steps to avoid having to spend two days on a meal, so my end result wasn't terribly accurate.

    So now I cook with the jars.

    I know none of that was very helpful, but I did make curry last night with two jars of Taste of India (or something like that) sauce, chicken, cauliflower, rice, and naan. My 8 year old and I approved. My husband said it needed more cream, but he likes Indian food that fills you up for two days.

    In a recipe search, I would search for Chicken Tikka Masala - that's one of the most common curry dishes. It's also called Murgh Tikka Masala. My spellings could be off, but hopefully something will come up. Chicken Vindaloo is another one, but it is a really spicy dish. I find it almost inedible but my husband likes it. He also chooses 'extra spicy' when we have Thai food.
    Spending my days learning with DD 10 and DS 8.

  6. #5
    Senior Member Arrived ejsmom's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011


    We love Indian food here. I don't think I could replicate what we get at the restaurant we frequent, but a "good enough" version for nights when we need a quick meal is a jarred sauce by the brand Seeds of Change I get at a local upscale grocer. Maybe you can find it near you, or amazon carries it. It will quell the craving for Indian food with some chopped up chicken meat, veggies, and I enrich it with butter (I don't usually have ghee on hand.) It's not restaurant quality, but the price is far more reasonable. It is probably as good as I would make it myself, even with a fully loaded spice cabinet. I sometimes add a bit more of whatever spice I seem to be in the mood for.

    I have made kheer at home. It's not difficult, but is time consuming. It was not much different than what we eat out. I am not a fan of raisins so I leave those out and top with chopped pistachios. Rosewater for some reason is difficult to find at times, but does make a noticeable difference. I generally use recipes from blogs and Allrecipes and make a recipe 4 or 5 times, adjusting the amounts/ingredients from the various sources until I get a recipe the way I like it.

    I hope someone posts a great easy recipe for curry!
    homeschooling one DS, age 13.

  7. #6
    Senior Member Enlightened Artmama's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2015


    Two of the moms from our CSA started a business making spices. Great stuff if you are looking for an authentic mixed spice to use. They have recipes on the web site too. Check them out here: Spice Tree Organics

  8. #7


    Maybe search for some youtube videos that show some tricks of the trade. Have you tried that?

    Not much help here, but now I'm hungry. Thanks a lot
    Homeschooling two sons (14 and 16) from day one. Atheist.
    Eclectic, Slackschooler covering 8th and 10th grades this year.

  9. #8
    Senior Member Arrived Avalon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011


    I make lots of curries and I usually use ginger, cumin, coriander, turmeric, and sometimes cinnamon. I've always been able to find them at the grocery store. Coconut milk and curry paste are not usually hard to find, and make a fabulous soup or curry, too. Fish sauce keeps forever in the fridge. Honest.

    Making a really authentic biryani or pho soup is much harder (they're the foods I'm currently obsessed with). I work at an immigration centre, and a lot of people there get their spices from their home countries, or they know a local friend who makes mixes for them. I'm jealous.

  10. #9


    Short answer: no. Longer answer: what spices are you talking about specifically? I saw fish sauce (can be replaced with soy, I personally think it tastes terrible, though) and garam masala (I make my own. It's pretty easy and tastes a million times better). I make my own curry paste as well, it's really not hard and you can make enough for several batches of curry for about the price of one jar of premade stuff. I use the recipes from True Thai by Victor Sodsook and love all of them. Here's his recipe for Tom Kha Kai:

    3 cups Chicken Stock
    8 large slices (about 5 1/2 oz) unpeeled ginger (preferably Siamese)
    1 large stalk lemon grass, tough outer leaves discarded, trimmed to 12 inches and angle-cut into 2 pieces
    12 fresh Kaffir lime leaves OR thin strips of peel from 1 lime
    2 cans (14 oz each) unsweetened coconut milk
    1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
    1 1/2 - 2 Tbs chili-tamarind paste
    1/4 c fresh lemon juice
    2 1/2 Tbs coconut palm sugar OR golden brown sugar
    2 1/2 Tbs Thai fish sauce
    1/2 lb mushrooms, sliced
    5 small Thai chilis, stemmed and lightly crushed

    Put stock, ginger, and lemon grass in soup pot. If using Kaffir lime leaves, tear each leaf in half and add to pot. If using lime peel, add to pot. Gradually bring the stock to a boil over med-high heat. Boil for 1 minute, stir in coconut milk, and return to a boil. Stir in chicken and return to a boil. Add chili-tamarind paste, lemon juice, sugar, and fish sauce. Stir until the chili-tamarind paste and sugar are dissolved and blended. Add the mushrooms and simmer until just tender, about 1 minute. Float the chilis on top and turn off heat. Serve immediately.
    Kiddo - 7

  11. #10


    And because I can't sleep (and love geeking over food) here's his panang recipe. This is for the curry paste itself, to be used on anything you want:

    1 pkg (3 oz) dried red new mexico chilis
    1 Tbs + 1 tsp whole coriander seeds
    2 Tbs shrimp paste wrapped neatly in a double layer of aluminum foil OR 3 Tbs creamy peanut butter
    2 fresh Kaffir limes OR 1 small lime
    10 fresh Kaffir lime leaves OR 1/2 tsp grated lime zest
    2 1/2 Tbs chopped cilantro, including stems
    1 large stalk lemon grass, tough outer leaves discarded, lower stalk trimmed to 3 inches and finely sliced
    2 Tbs finely chopped, peeled fresh Siamese or common ginger
    1/3 c chopped garlic
    1/3 c chopped shallots

    Stem chilis and shake out most pf the seeds. Cut chilis in half lengthwise and remove any tough, dried ribs. Cut crosswise into 3/4-inch pieces and put them in a bowl. Cover with water and soak for 30 minutes.

    Meanwhile, dry roast the coriander seeds in a small skillet over medium heat for 3-5 minutes, until toasty and aromatic, shaking the pan often to prevent burning. Transfer coriander to a small bowl and set aside to cool.

    (Skip this step if using peanut butter.) Set skillet back over medium heat. Place the foil wrapped shrimp paste in skillet and cook for 5 minutes, until aromatic, turning packet over once or twice. Remove packet from skillet and set aside to cool.

    Put the roasted coriander in a large heavy mortar and grind to a powder. Transfer to the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Peel Kaffir limes. Mince the peel and set aside.

    If using the Kaffir lime leaves, stack them and cut them into fine slivers.

    Combine lime peel, lime leves, cilantro, lemon grass, and ginger in the mortar and pound for a minute to break down fibers. transfer crushed mixture to food processor. Unwrap the shrimp paste and add to food processor, or if using peanut butter, add to food processor.

    Drain chilis and add to food processor, reserving soaking liquid.

    Process ingredients until rich, moist paste forms, stopping occassionaly to scrap down the sides of the bowl. Add a few tablespoons of chili-soaking liquid now and them, if needed, to ease grinding.

    This paste will store in an airtight container in the fridge for 1 month, or in the freezer for 3 months. Makes 1 2/3 cups.
    Kiddo - 7

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Accessible Indian and Thai curry recipes