Kaeng Par/ Thai Jungle Curry. It's Hot!!

Of all the Thai curries Kaeng Par, affectionately dubbed Jungle Curry on most Western  restaurant menus, is the hottest and most assertive. Hailing from the northern provinces where coconuts are not an agricultural staple, this fiery concoction offers none of the fruit's cool richness to offset the heat but does allow its deep and pungent flavors center stage. Pork is the favored meat for kaeng par curry but Cafe Drake HRV made ours vegetarian with a wealth of produce from our stocked fridge - carrots, onions, green bell peppers, cabbage and long beans. The recipe is simple if you follow the brief instructions on the can of paste. We always use the trusted Maesri brand for green, red, Massaman etc curries and a wide selection can be found even at larger supermarkets.

Rice noodles are a convenient, no-fuss way of taming some of the Jungle's ferocity! Rice, wheat noodles, you're gonna need something to soak up the heat.

A cooling counterpoint to the fiery, sharp jungle curry flavors was a salad of chilled silken tofu and tomatoes, dressed with a miso-tahini sauce and rau ram leaves. We adore this dressing and glob it on everything from brown rice to steamed vegetables to toasted cornbread! Here's how to make it: Put into a blender about 3/4 cup tahini along with 4-5 T. white miso, 2/3 cup apple cider vinegar and 1/4 cup grainy dark mustard. Blend until well mixed and thin with water to desired consistency. Add salt and black pepper to taste.

Cooking is much more fun with a pretty girl watching!

Leftovers with yet another fire extinguishing component to battle the jungle curry's savage fury - sprout and green leaf lettuce salad with creamy tofu-tahini dressing.


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