I sometimes have to create a new dish for my clients and this is one of those dishes that I have decided to put together as a small appetizer. My clients have been asking for more complex dishes, loads of flavors that are beautifully presented, so I am always challenged to get innovative and try new ideas or recipes in the kitchen. This is one that has been extremely successful for me.
The Thai pancakes come from an Ottolenghi recipe, The pancakes are spicy and packed with flavors. Most folks are used to sweet pancakes, this savory pancake is just beautiful. It is originally served with with herbed butter that makes it decadent. The outstanding green curry from Vong, this curry is my go to green curry recipe. The flavors are beautiful, subtle and rich with the wonderful freshness and lightness of cilantro. You can make this curry with anything, meat, chicken, tofu or a mix of vegetables. The poached shrimp is from my own experience in the kitchen. The shrimp are lightly poached with mirin for a touch of sweetness and wine or sake and lemongrass for a hint of flavor, the shrimp are light and delicate.
This dish is spicy from the pancake that is balanced by the delicate and flavorful green curry and topped by the delicate shrimp. They come together beautifully on the palate. NOTE: For a vegetarian version, leave out the fish sauce and substitute tofu for the shrimp.
For the pancakes:
Makes 8-12 pancakes.
1 bunch of spinach
2-3 tablespoons of soft herbs, chopped – parsley, coriander or dill (optional)
6 spring onions finely chopped
1 cup of self raising flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 eggs (seperated)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground chilli (according to taste)
1 cup milk
Butter or olive oil for frying
Remove stems from spinach and wilt leaves in pan with a splash of water. Drain leaves, let cool, squeeze out as much moisture as possible. Chop finely.
Put dry ingredients – flour, cumin, salt, baking powder, ground chilli in large mixing bowl and whisk together. Add egg yolks and milk whisk until smooth. Mix in spinach, spring onions and fresh herbs if using.
Whisk egg whites to soft peaks and gently fold through batter.
Heat cast iron frying pan, grease pan with butter or olive oil and ladle about 1/4 of batter onto the pan cook until golden brown on both sides. Set aside. These pancakes can be made ahead and set aside.
For the green curry:
Makes 2 cups volume
1 lemongrass stalks, trimmed and chopped
1/2 teaspoon cumin seed, toasted
1/2 cup fresh cilantro stems (Save leaves for later use)
1/2 tablespoon chopped fresh galangal
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 fresh green finger chiles, seeded and minced, or to taste
1 fresh green Thai chiles, seeded and minced
2 shallots, chopped
1 Kaffir lime leaves, chopped
A few drops nam pla (Thai fish sauce)
1 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons oil
1 can coconut milk
Salt to taste
1 bunch cilantro leaves only
To make the curry paste: Put the ingredients in a blender. Add as little water as possible, just enough to allow the ingredients to slide down the sides of the blender and get pureed. Blend until the consistency of a fine paste, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
Add the oil to a non-stick saucepan and add the paste. Cook on medium heat till the paste turns a darker shade of green and the paste smells aromatic. Add the coconut milk and bring to a gentle simmer, NEVER boil this curry, and cook for 20 minutes making sure the curry does not get too dry. At this point you should have a curry that has the consistency of thickened cream. Add salt, taste and adjust seasonings.
In a small saucepan, add 1/4 cup water and bring to a boil. Add the cilantro and cook for 20 seconds. Strain the cilantro and cool under cold water. This step is critical, if you cook the cilantro too much it turns an ugly green-grey. Add to the coconut curry and mix in. The curry is ready.
To poach the shrimp:
12-24 shrimp based on size and how many you want to serve per head.
1/2 cup sake or dry white wine
1 cup water
1/2 lb cleaned shrimp
A pinch of salt
Simmer together for 6-10 minutes depending on the size of the shrimp. Please do not overcook them and make them tough. Remove and cool. Always store under the cooking liquid til needed to prevent the shrimp from drying out.
Scallions, thinly sliced (optional)
Place a warmed pancake (microwave is fine, about 10 seconds per pancake). Top with the heated curry and heated shrimp placed on top of the curry. Garnish with your choice of micro greens, a few slivers of scallions, or cilantro.