Neil Perry's curry paste classics

Neil Perry
Green curry of chicken breast and bamboo shoots; you can replace the chicken with fish.
Green curry of chicken breast and bamboo shoots; you can replace the chicken with fish. Photo: William Meppem

You can replace the chicken in the green curry with fish or whatever meat you like and just simmer gently till cooked.

Making your own curry paste from scratch is worth the effort, but these recipes are just as easily made with good-quality, store-bought pastes.


2 tbsp vegetable oil

3 tbsp green curry paste

2 tbsp fish sauce

1 tbsp caster sugar

3 kaffir lime leaves, crushed

2 cups water


200g raw chicken breast, thinly sliced

2 tbsp pea eggplants, or 6 Thai eggplants, halved

6 cherry tomatoes, halved

100g tinned bamboo shoots, washed and shredded

6 fresh holy basil leaves

Serves 4 as part of a shared Asian banquet

In a medium pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add curry paste and fry, stirring for a few minutes until paste is fragrant.

Add fish sauce, caster sugar, kaffir lime leaves and water, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add chicken, eggplant and tomato and simmer gently. The chicken will only take a few moments to cook.

Fold through bamboo shoots and spoon into a bowl. Top with basil leaves, and serve with steamed jasmine rice.



300g redfish or other cheap white-fleshed fish

3 tbsp red curry paste

1 egg

1 tbsp fish sauce

1 tsp caster sugar

5 kaffir lime leaves, shredded finely

2 snake beans, cut into fine rounds

4 cups vegetable oil, for deep frying

cucumber relish

3 tbsp coconut vinegar

3 tbsp caster sugar

4 tbsp water

sea salt

1 small cucumber, cut in half lengthways, then cut into 1/2cm half moons

4 red shallots, each cut into 6 pieces

1 cm piece ginger, julienned

1 long fresh red chilli, split, seeds removed, julienned

2 tbsp fresh coriander, leaves washed and dried, plus extra to garnish

Serves 4 as an entrée or as part of a shared Asian banquet

To make relish, combine vinegar, sugar, water and salt in a small pan. Bring to boil and stir until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat. It will taste sweet and sour. Combine remaining ingredients in a bowl and pour over liquid.

Place fish, curry paste, egg, fish sauce and caster sugar in a food processor and blend well. To give fish cakes their texture, scoop mix up and throw it back into bowl several times until sticky; this is an important part of process. Add lime leaves and beans.

Mould mixture into disks measuring 5cm by 1cm thick. In a wok, heat oil to medium heat and deep-fry cakes for about 4-5 minutes or until golden.

Serve fish cakes immediately with relish on side, garnished with extra coriander leaves.


• Turn the fish cakes into a more substantial entrée by placing baby cos leaves on the plate, adding the fish cakes, pouring the relish over as a dressing, and adding ground roast rice on the top.


Often associated with heady flavour and oily texture, Gewürztraminer can make for tricky menu matches. However, the 2012 Pewsey Vale Gewürztraminer ($19), from South Australia's Eden Valley, is lean, pure - racy, even. It's perfect with the mild green curry.

Photography by William Meppem. Styling by Hannah Meppem. Food preparation by Kirsten Jenkins.