Thai Green Tomato Curry

My kitchen is full of green tomatoes, rescued from the greenhouse just ahead of an attack of blight. Sadly, we’re not very creative with the way we use them in this country. My mother’s chutney recipe is the best I’ve eaten but there are only so many cheese and chutney sarnies and cold cuts you can eat in a year. So I’ve been looking further afield for inspiration.

Fried green tomatoes are terrific, one of the great culinary inventions of the American south, especially with a stinging garlic mayo or a dollop of harissa. Joy of Cooking’s version, with a cornmeal crust and plenty of thyme, parsley and paprika, is very good.

Eat while watching Fried Green Tomatoes At The Whistlestop Cafe, a film with one of the best revenge lines ever (“I’m older and I have better insurance”), some meaty roles for women and, in an unexpected and rather gruesome way, for one of the male protagonists.

Switching back to Europe, green tomatoes are also good as a pizza topping: try the usual tomato sauce and grated mozzarella, topped with sliced green tomatoes and a good scatter of fresh chilli.

I think my current favourite, though, is this Thai-style veggie curry. The lemony flavour of the green tomatoes works so well with the aromatic, creamy sauce. I’ve added sweet, earthy butternut squash to balance the citrusy flavours, but sweet potato would work too. As ever, the choice is yours.

Thai Green Tomato Curry

  • Servings: 2-3 as a main
  • Print

Ingredients for the curry paste (based on one from Jamie Oliver):

4 cloves of garlic

2 shallots

1 thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger

2 lemongrass stems

4 medium-hot green chillies (Birds’ Eye type)

1 tspn ground cumin

1/2 bunch of fresh coriander, including the stalks

2 tbs fish sauce

Plus:

2 tbsp oil

1 x 400g tin of coconut milk

200 ml boiling water

1 tspn vegetable bouillon powder

500g green tomatoes

300g butternut squash

To serve:

Fresh coriander

Lime wedges

Method:

Pre-heat the oven to 200C/400F/ Gas Mark 6. Peel the squash, halve it, de-seed it and cut it into thick slices. Place in a single layer in a roasting tin, drizzle with oil, season with salt and pepper and cook in the oven for 15- 20 minutes until just tender. When cool enough to handle, cut into bite-sized pieces, saving a couple of crescents for garnish. Set aside.

Quarter the tomatoes, squeezing out and discarding some of the seeds or they’ll make the sauce watery. Put to one side.

Peel the garlic, shallots and ginger. Remove the tough outer leaves of the lemongrass and discard. De-seed the chillies if you like, or leave them in.

Chop everything finely and add to a food processor along with the cumin and half of the coriander. Whizz until everything is very finely chopped, scraping down the sides as necessary, then add the fish sauce and process again.

Heat a tablespoon of oil in a pan on a low to medium heat and cook the paste for five or six minutes, stirring occasionally.

Pour in the coconut milk, then add the boiling water. Sprinkle in the bouillon powder and stir. Gently bring to a boil, then reduce to heat and simmer for 10 minutes until slightly reduced and thickened.

Add the tomatoes and cook gently until they are tender but still have some bite … you want them to hold their shape. Fold in the chunks of butternut squash and simmer gently until they’re heated through and the sauce amalgamates nicely. Stir in the rest of the coriander, roughly chopped, saving a few sprigs for garnish.

Serve with steamed rice and lime wedges, and perhaps a tomato and chilli raita.

6 thoughts on “Thai Green Tomato Curry

  1. My family argues over jars of green tomato pickles made to my Mum’s recipe, there never seems to be enough to last a year. I love fried green tomatoes, the movie and to eat. I’d never have thought to make a Thai green curry with them, very creative..

  2. thanks: this is a vegetable I really do not know how to deal with (not that I have the chance here in London). To be honest: I must have eaten tons of these when I was kid: my mum used to make green tomato pickle and I just loved them… then they went off my culinary radar. If Ihad the choice though, I think I would plunge straight into your mum’s lovely chutney 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.