Fresh lime and green pea curry

When deciding to have a curry for lunch, I need to choose the style that would suit my current mood the most. And although I am a big fan of slightly spicy and creamy curries and sauces, recently I have been craving for the fresh, citrusy and a bit sour versions of this dish. In Thai cuisine, kaffir leaves, lemongrass, lots of coriander and coconut milk are used to achieve those aromas. And I wouldn’t be myself if I didn’t try to create my own simplified version based on the flavour and aroma of the lime. A large amount of the lime zest adds that pleasant freshness that goes very well with garlic and ginger. All in all, I must admit that I am surprised that you can prepare such a tasty dish so quickly and with so few ingredients.

  • one lime (zest & juice)
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • A piece of ginger (about the same size as 4 garlic cloves)
  • A good pinch of salt
  • 3 tbsp of neutral frying oil
  • 1 tsp of turmeric
  • a pinch of chilli (preferably a large pinch!)
  • optional: 1 tsp of ground coriander seeds or 1 tsp of ground cumin or a handful of finely chopped fresh coriander stems
  • a can of coconut milk (high in coconut, at least 70%)
  • a pack of frozen peas (450-500g)
  • salt to taste (I recommend 1 tsp)

1. Rinse the lime with boiling water, cut it in half, squeeze out all the juice, and then peel the zest off with a knife or grate it (try to get as much zest as possible – you can even peel larger slices off). Peel the garlic and cut a piece of ginger into small pieces.

2. Put the ingredients of the aromatic paste (lime, garlic & ginger) in a blender along with a large pinch of salt. Blend for a minute or two until the pieces are very fine.

3. In a deep frying pan or pot, heat the oil and add the blended lime paste. Fry on low heat for about 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Add the extra spices: turmeric, a bit of chilli and (highly recommended) the powdered coriander or finely chopped fresh coriander stems. Fry for an additional minute or two, and then add the coconut milk and mix everything thoroughly.

5. Cook it for 5-6 minutes, add the frozen peas, and let them simmer in the sauce just for a few minutes. It is important not to overcook them at this stage: they will keep their texture and colour when cooked for a short period of time.

6. Season with salt and lime juice to taste (add gradually & try it). Serve with rice or with fluffy wheat bread. It tastes good if you add some fresh coriander or finely chopped chives.