Neil Perry's green curry of roast celeriac

Neil Perry
This green curry also works well with roast pumpkin and sweet potato in place of celeriac.
This green curry also works well with roast pumpkin and sweet potato in place of celeriac. Photo: William Meppem

This is such a fragrant and delicious curry. If you're short of time, make life simple by buying a quality curry paste. I also love this curry with roast pumpkin and sweet potato. You can make it vegan by replacing the fish sauce with mushroom soy by Healthy Boy (available at supermarkets) and skipping the shrimp paste.

Ingredients

1 medium head celeriac, washed

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

sea salt

2 tbsp salted butter

For the curry paste

5 coriander seeds

5 cumin seeds

5 white peppercorns

6 green bird's eye chillies, chopped

3 long green chillies, seeded and chopped

2 hearts lemongrass, chopped

2 tbsp chopped galangal (from a well-stocked supermarket)

10 red eschalots, chopped

5 garlic cloves, chopped

3 coriander roots, scraped and chopped

1 tbsp chopped turmeric

grated zest of 1 makrut lime

1 tsp Thai shrimp paste, wrapped in foil and grilled until fragrant

For the curry

1 cup coconut cream

¼ cup vegetable oil

½ cup green curry paste (as above, or bought)

6 makrut lime leaves

4 tbsp fish sauce

1 tbsp palm sugar

2 cups coconut milk

3 long red chillies, split and seeded

12 sweet Thai basil leaves

Method

1. To make the paste, lightly pan-roast the coriander, cumin and peppercorns, then grind to powder either in a coffee or spice grinder or by pounding in a mortar. Pound all the other ingredients using a mortar and pestle. Pass the ground and pounded ingredients twice through a mincer or process in a blender until smooth, adding a little water or oil if necessary. Or keep pounding until a fine paste is produced (no need to add water or oil if you're pounding).

2. Preheat your oven to 190C fan-forced (210C conventional). Dry the celeriac and place it in the centre of a piece of foil about 25cm square. Drizzle with oil, sprinkle with salt and smear with butter. Seal in the foil, place on a tray and bake for about 2 hours.

3. For the curry, place a heavy-based frying pan over a high heat and bring the cream and oil to the boil, stirring continuously so the mixture doesn't burn. When the cream "splits" (the oil separates from the solids), add the curry paste. Crush the lime leaves in your hand, add to the pan and fry until the aromas rise and the paste is sizzling fiercely. This will take 10-15 minutes (use your nose).

4. Add the fish sauce and cook for 1 minute. Then introduce the palm sugar and coconut milk and bring to the boil. Add chillies and simmer gently for about 4 minutes before stirring through the basil.

5. Place the celeriac on a board and slice on an angle into 2cm pieces. Place in a bowl and spoon over the curry. Serve with rice.

Find more of Neil Perry's recipes in the Good Food New Classics cookbook.

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