I love curry! For the longest time, like many Americans, I thought curry meant the yellow-colored powder from India. I now know that “curry powder” is only one of many foods called curry.
When I was first introduced to Thai food, I fell in love with phad Thai. I was more than a little anxious about trying one of the many options on the menu that had the description “curry”. Red, Green, Masaman, and Panang curries were listed with extensive ingredient lists. When I noticed that fresh basil was listed as a key ingredient for the green curry, I was in. Traditionally, the basil for this dish is Thai basil—if you cannot find that though you can use sweet Italian basil.
I now know that “curry” actually refers to many different blends of herbs and spices that are popular in Southeast Asia. If you want to make your own curry paste, you can, but I have found that on a busy work night I often prefer the convenience of pre-made paste instead of grinding my own fresh green chilis, garlic, wild ginger, shallots, lemon grass, kaffir lime, sugar, galagal, coriander, cumin, cardamon, and turmeric. If you want to make a vegan version of this dish, you can substitute soy sauce for the fish sauce.