Phuket has long been known as a dazzling island paradise and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Thailand. If you want to experience all the faces of Thailand's tourism in one small microcosm, Phuket is the place to do it. There you will find Australian backpackers, Swedish honeymooners, ageing American hippies, Chinese tour groups and boisterous Indian families all rubbing elbows on the crowded road that runs past Patong beach. Wander a little further and you will also find stunning sunsets, beach vistas that take your breath away, crystal clear waters, and manicured luxury resorts. Mix this in with Thailand's legendary hospitality and cuisine, and every one has a reason to visit!
Patong's famous Bangla road area, with its wild nightlife, raucous bars, dubious looking massage parlours and transgender cabarets, comes as a bit of a shock to the first time visitor.
However, just a couple of minutes away is the beach, which is still an oasis of calm and a great place to watch the sunset while strolling on the sand and dipping your toes in the water. There are also many beach shacks serving fruits, juices and other drinks to cool you off.
Phuket has many really good restaurants, some of them situated right by the beach, offering phenomenal views. To watch the sun dipping into the water and listen to the waves crash on the beach, while eating delicious Thai food is a memorable experience indeed.
Ban Rim Pa, a restaurant situated partway up a cliff, overlooking the beautiful beach is one such place. Their lemongrass fish accompanied with a mango salad was just amazing. Another restaurant Pan Yah is right on the beach and specializes in seafood. Their seafood salad and shrimp in Thai chili sauce still lives in my memories!
My all time favourite dish though, is green curry. I love it's fresh flavours, creamy sauce and pretty colours. Chicken is just one of the ingredients you can put in it. Tofu, vegetables or fish are also good. And if you slather the curry paste on a hunk of salmon, throw it on the grill and serve it in a lettuce wrap, you've got an unusual, healthy and delicious way to enjoy it!
We tried green curry in so many ways in Phuket. One of my favourites was deep fried tofu and crisp vegetables bathed in the spicy green curry sauce.
Another unusual way it was served was with spinach and fish as shown in the picture below. The spinach added a nice silkiness to the texture while the chunks of fish were tender and flavourful in the creamy sauce. Spooned over coconut rice, it was pure heaven!
Since returning from Thailand, I have made sure to have green curry on my menu at least once a week. It helps keep the memories of our trip stay fresh!
Green curry paste is super easy to make at home and so much more flavourful than anything you can buy in a jar. It will last for a week in the refrigerator or you can freeze it instead. I like to freeze it in half cup measures in a ziploc bag so I can pull one out whenever I get a curry craving!
Green curry paste can also be used as a marinade for grilled chicken skewers or fish. You can serve this curry with Swordfish satay skewers and coconut rice.
Green Curry Chicken
For green curry paste:
1/2 cup each, packed: fresh coriander leaves and stems, Thai basil leaves
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
4 cloves garlic
1 inch piece ginger or galangal
4-6 Thai or other hot chilies
2 tbsp each: Thai curry powder, water
Salt to taste
1 tbsp each: sugar, fish sauce, lime juice
For chicken curry:
2 tbsp oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 can (400ml) unsweetened coconut milk
1 lb (450 gm) boneless skinless chicken breast, thinly sliced
1/2 cup each: zucchini (sliced into thin half rounds), green beans (halved), canned baby corn (halved)
lime wedges, peanuts, sliced red chilies, basil leaves for garnish
To make the curry paste, combine all ingredients in blender and blend to a smooth paste. Transfer to a bowl and reserve.
To make curry, warm oil in deep skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook until lightly brown and softened, about 5 min.
Add 1/4 cup of reserved green curry paste and cook 1 min until it is fragrant. Add coconut milk, stir to mix and cook until it starts to bubble, about 4 min.
Add chicken and vegetables, cover skillet and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat to low and cook covered until chicken is tender and vegetables are crisp tender, about 10 min.
Taste sauce and add another tablespoon of the curry paste or a dash of curry powder if desired. Serve garnished with lime wedges, peanuts, chilies and basil leaves.