about me

    Emily Malone

    culinary arts grad. nutrition facts lover. vegetarian chef. marathon runner. country music maniac. failed dog trainer. barre fanatic. loving mama.

    Contact Emily

    For general inquires, contact: EmilyBMalone@gmail.com.

    For partnerships, contact: dailygarnishads@mediakix.com.

    Looking forward to chatting with you!


    What’s Cooking?

    Personal Bests

    5K - 23:28

    10K - 52:35

    15K - 1:38:14

    1/2 Marathon - 1:57:39

    Marathon - 3:50:58

    A Look Back.

Taking on Classic Thai Green Curry.

Thanks to all of you who voted for me to advance to the next round of Project Food Blog!  For challenge #2, we have been asked to tackle a classic dish from another culture.  Pick an ethnic classic that is outside your comfort zone or are not as familiar with, and try to keep the dish as authentic as the real deal.

When I initially read the challenge rules, I had a flood of ideas come to mind.  As vegetarians, we LOVE ethnic food, as they tend to be the most vegetarian friendly and accommodating.  It would have been easy to pick some of my favorite ethnic cuisines that I make at home all of the time – Mediterranean, Chinese, Italian, etc.  But I really wanted to embrace the challenge of stepping outside of my comfort zone, so I tried to pick something a little less predictable.

Many times the reason I choose to eat out at ethnic restaurants is because I want to eat something that I don’t think I could make for myself.  Through this blog, the message I always try to deliver through my food is that “cooking should always be fun, and never be scary.”  So on that note I decided to face my own fears, and embrace an ethnic cuisine that I have never attempted before.

After extensive Googling and research, my culinary challenge took me to the Asian aisle of Whole Foods, where I picked up all the makings of…

Thai Green Curry with Tofu over Rice Noodles

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My original plan was to actually head to an authentic Asian market, but after driving around in circles for 45 minutes unable to find Asia Bazaar, I changed my game plan.  And in the end, I’m glad I did.  I was able to make a totally authentic, true to the original ethnic dish – and at the same time show you guys that doing so was possible from my local grocery store.

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I looked at a lot of different recipes for traditional Thai green curry, and most of them included a combination of coconut milk, lemongrass, green curry paste, and vegetables.  I picked up this green curry paste at the grocery store, but something about using a prepared ingredient kind of felt like cheating to me. 

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I had seen a few other recipes that included directions for actually making your OWN green curry paste, and that’s what I ultimately decided to do.  After all, the challenge was to tackle a classic, and I feel fairly certain that traditional Thai cooks don’t scoop their green curry paste from a jar.  I followed this recipe almost exactly, buying several new-to-me ingredients like kaffir lime leaves…

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And a stalk of lemongrass…

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I got started on my homemade green curry paste, and followed these instructions on how to prepare the lemongrass, since this was my first time.  The smell was INCREDIBLE!

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Preparing it was actually very similar to using green onions – I removed the woody outer layers and then thinly sliced the softer inside, about 2/3 of the way up the stalk.

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Next up – SPICES!  A hefty dose of coriander…

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Along with a few tablespoons of soy sauce (since I didn’t have vegetarian fish sauce).

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A bit of brown sugar to add some sweetness…

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All into my mini food processor, along with lime leaves, shallots, chilies, garlic, ginger, and fresh basil. 

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I mixed it well, and thinned it out a bit with coconut milk while it was processing.  The final product was colorful and PACKED with Thai flavor.

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In order to see if my homemade green curry paste (on the right) was a success, I did a side by side comparison with the jarred paste (on the left).  The color was almost exactly spot on.

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And I have to admit, I was kind of blown away by how similar the taste was – I was really proud of myself for capturing such unique flavors!  The recipe that I used called for using the entire batch of the homemade paste, versus typically just using 1 tbsp of the jarred paste.  So while the jarred paste was much more concentrated, the flavors and spices were almost exact.

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I’m really glad that in the end, I decided to really make this dish from scratch, instead of using the safety net of a pre-made ingredient.  But it’s also nice to know that the pre-made option is available when time and ingredients are limited.

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With my paste ready to go, I started to assemble my dish.  I cubed up a block of tofu and shook it in a bowl along with salt, pepper, cumin, and coriander. 

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And then got it nice and crispy using my traditional sauteed tofu technique.  I don’t know why I’ve never thought to add dry spices to the raw tofu before cooking – it was incredible. 

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Can I just step away from this recipe for one minute to tell you that the minute my tofu hit the pan, Casey turned around and says, “Oh my God, the dogs are gone.”  While we were busy cooking and prepping, the boys had slipped out the back gate and had been gone for who knows how long.  With tofu browning in screaming hot oil on the stove, I went flying out the back door in my apron and slippers, sprinting down every side street screaming for my dogs.

It was already dark out and they were nowhere to be found.  I’ve quite honestly never been that scared.  Several blocks away, a man walking home told us he had seen two dogs a few streets back, and we both took off.  Headed in full sprint (still wearing an apron, and thinking about my kitchen most likely burning down), I finally found them about ten city blocks from our house, fifteen minutes later.  Believe it or not, they were still together, and of course having the time of their lives.  I caught up with Casey and we dragged them the entire way home by their collars – BAD dogs.  I came home to a kitchen full of smoke, blackened tofu, and the need to start over. 

But at least my dogs were home safe and sound, and the house had not burned down.  Quite the ordeal in the midst of my Thai cooking experiment!  Here’s me, dripping in sweat after my marathon sprint around the neighborhood, and Indy, happy as a clam after his great escape.

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Back to my cooking, I sliced some red bell pepper (and eggplant), and sauteed them in a little coconut oil until browned.

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Added all of the homemade green curry paste…

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Let the paste cook in with the vegetables for just a minute or two…

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And then added a can of coconut milk to start the actual cooking of the sauce.

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I let the sauce simmer for about ten minutes, and at the end, added snow peas and shredded carrot – just enough to heat them up but not let them lose their crunch.  While the sauce simmered, I also cooked a package of Thai rice noodles in boiling water.

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Before serving, I tossed the tofu back in the sauce, finished it with a dash of salt, and then we were ready to EAT!

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I spooned the vegetables, tofu, and green curry sauce over the rice noodles, and topped it with a few fresh bean sprouts and leaves of basil.

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The result was absolutely amazing, and I honestly couldn’t believe that we made such a flavorful and complicated dish in our very own kitchen.

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It was also nice that, having prepared the dish from scratch myself, I knew there were no added excess oils or non-vegetarian ingredients (like fish sauce) that I wouldn’t have wanted. 

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Tackling Thai green curry proved to me that you really can make anything at home, if you do the right research and don’t let yourself feel intimidated.

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Because after all, cooking should always be fun, never be scary, and if you follow those rules, it should inevitably be delicious.

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You can vote for me here!!

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81 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Paj     at 12:07 pm

I’m so sorry for your scare with the dogs, I can relate. Any chance they were on their way to a park or somewhere you walk them regularly? So cute that they were still together.

Your food looks beautiful, but unfortunately there is a flavor in most Thai food that I don’t really enjoy, but I’m also not sure what it is exactly.


Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

Unfortunately no. Just out for a joy ride, which very likely could have gotten them killed. Our area is pretty busy!


Kate @ Savour Fare     at 12:17 pm

Great minds think alike — I made green curry too. I considered making a vegan version, but I already had fish sauce in the house. This looks great!


Melissa @ HerGreenLife     at 2:35 pm

I must admit that working with lemongrass intimidates me. We’ve tried several times with zero success. After reading your description, I’m wondering if the “fresh” lemongrass we bought was not so fresh after all. Once we peeled away the dry, woody layers, there was nothing left — definitely NOT like your picture. I guess I’ll have to hunt down a better source and try again. Thanks for the inspiration!


Bill     at 2:52 pm

Nice work Emily. Looks awesome. You got my vote :)


Kerr     at 3:26 pm

I am very impressed. The dish looks amazing!

So glad your dogs were OK. I know that feeling, it is the worst!


Suzanne     at 3:36 pm

You definitely got my vote. I would love to try and recreate this and would be grateful if you would post the full recipe. Your step by step pictures are wonderful!


Catherine @ Life 2.0     at 5:34 pm

I love that you made your own curry paste! I’ve used that exact same store bought curry paste before and while it is really yummie, there is just something to making your own! I can’t wait to try and make this, the seasoned tofu sounds amazing!


Marta     at 9:04 pm

hi Emily! I HAD to vote for this entry. I don’t usually like signing up for stuff in order to participate but you had me laughing my ass off with your dog antics and thoroughly impressed me with the homemade curry paste. I know that feeling: WHERE IS THE DOG? And right in the middle of hot oil + tofu, they sure do know when to act up! And you redeemed yourself with the paste, my heart sank when I first saw the pic with the jarred stuff. So glad you went for it and I’ll definitely try your recipe :)


Brandy     at 9:37 pm

I was literally sick to my stomach reading about your dogs’ adventure. I’m so, so, so glad you found them safe and sound. And I LOVE the pictures of them on the couch with your hubby while he was sick.


Lisa (bakebikeblog)     at 9:42 pm

Wow – this looks amazing!!!


Marie     at 10:57 pm

Weird, I just got all your posts in a row; I was wondering if something was up? Sorry you guys were sick…hoping you feel back to normal now. Definitely something going around. My husband and twins are battling Strep throat right now. :(

Your dish looks sooo good!!! Glad you found your dogs! Just voted for you! ;)


misy miller     at 7:29 pm

Well done!

I have had that jar of curry in the fridge for a while and I am excited I now have an idea how to use it…cause alas..I am not as adventurous a you!

Glad you found the pups! Bonus points for cooking under duress!


Danielle@Runs With Spatulas     at 9:31 pm

Great post! Glad you got the dogs back! Good luck with Round 2!


Jacob's Kitchen     at 10:44 pm

Great post! Looks delicious. Green curry is one of the world’s great foods, and you have certainly done it justice. I have never seen kaffir lime leaves packaged that way. It’s genius. I always have to buy mine frozen, or special ordered in the mail. I voted for you!

Good luck! =)

You can check out my PFB post at : http://www.foodbuzz.com/project_food_blog/challenges/2/view/864


Emily @ The Front Burner Blog Reply:

Thanks for the vote!!


Need to Make: September Edition | Tiny Green Kitchen     at 11:34 pm

[…] Mushroom Stroganoff Allotment 2 Kitchen: Vegan Mushroom and Spinach Roly Poly The Front Burner: Thai Green Curry + Spaghetti Squash and Vegan Mushroom Cream Sauce A Healthy Purpose: Mango Basil Smoothie, Ginger […]

lauren     at 4:45 pm

I know that sick-to-your-stomach feeling. We had a foster who escaped once. Couldn’t find her anywhere and then we get a phone call from a greensman on the golf course by our house, saying he’d found our “huntin’ dog – she’s a pretty one” :)


Slowly Recovering (with the help of good food!) « Peanut Butter Runner     at 9:24 pm

[…] posted Thai Green Curry as her entry for round two of Project Food Blog (vote for her!) and I haven’t been able to […]

Mod     at 8:55 am

Wow, I was very impressed by you as I wouldn’t bother to make curry paste by myself. I always buy already made. Maybe I have to think about it. It seems that you made this food for the first time. If you don’t mind, I’d like to give you some tips. Fly the curry paste with veg oil at low heat for a few minutes first, then pour coconut milk, bring it boil, then vegetable, and finished by seasoning. Next time (if you like) try this method I bet you will get a authentic Thai curry dish. Good luck ka


Curry Hurry « Brittany's Blog     at 8:35 am

[…] I attempted the Front Burner’s Thai Green Curry recipe.  Pretty happy with it, except it needed more spice.  I’ll add more curry paste next […]

Bonnie     at 1:17 pm

My daughter loves your website and recipes and sent the link to me. I would love to make this Thai Green Curry! I can not find the recipe! Am I missing something! I love your website! Keep up the good work.


Marcus     at 10:38 pm

Hi there, just wanted to tell you, I loved this post.
It was inspiring. Keep on posting! Marcus Ringing
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Daily Garnish » Blog Archive » The Great Escape.     at 3:05 pm

[…] learned from past mistakes and they haven’t actually gotten out in several years.  In fact, the last time they escaped was way back when we were living in Alexandria!  I had no sense of what direction they might […]

Ali     at 4:59 pm

Just as a heads up, when I use the jarred Thai Kitchen paste, I use about 3/4 of the jar, not just one tablespoon!


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