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Sunday, October 24, 2004

IMBB9: Thai curry terrine (Hor-mok Talay Op)


This latest edition of Is My Blog Burning, hosted by another SF Food Blogger Derrick of Obsession with Food, is all about terrines. Though I am very fond of terrines, I have never really made one myself. So it took me a while to decide what to make for this. First I thought I would try the famous Pâté de Campagne recipe from the famous Parisian bistro La Régalade. I even remembered to bring home some piments d'Espalette en poudre – which was called for in the recipe – from my last trip to Paris.

But then I thought I really should do something different, and thought of a terrine I made for a Thai dinner party a while back. So that's what I ended up with. Not a Terrine in the classical sense, but Thai curry that is baked in a terrine. This is a slightly interpreted version of the classic Hor-mok, a custard-like steamed curry which is traditionally made with fish, and steamed in individual little cups made of banana leaf. Because it's a pain to find fresh banana leafs in America, not to mention trying to fashion them into little cups, I always just make mine in the pretty Le Creuset terrine.

There are endless variations of the Thai Hormok, made with fish, wild mushrooms, seafood, or even minced pork. I love to make mine with whatever seafood looks good that day at the market. This time, I found beautiful day boat scallops and crabmeat at Bryan's on California St., so I decided to use them. The curry itself is made with the same basic ingredients as normal red curry, starting with curry paste and coconut milk, and some fish sauce. I add some eggs and a bit of flour to the curry paste/coconut milk mixture to help it to set into a more custard-like consistency instead of the normal soupy curry.

This is also a really good recipe for a party, as you could prepare everything up to a day ahead and just bake the terrine just before dinner. It looks quite impressive, although it's actually rather easy to make, not to mention delicious on top of freshly steamed rice. The texture will be a little too loose to be a beautifully layered terrine, but the taste will not disappoint anyone. Try it and let me know what you think.

Hormoktalay3Hor-mok Talay Op Curry Terrine with scallops and crabmeat.
120-150 g Red Curry Paste
3.5 cups Coconut milk
4 large Eggs
2 cups of Thai basil
¾ cups of Kaffir lime leaves, chiffonade
8 tbsp flour fish sauce to taste
500 g. scallops
500 g. crabmeat (you can use other seafood, or even wild mushroom, in place of the scallops and crabmeat)
1 or two large red chillies for garnish.

1. Prepare a bain marie by taking a large baking sheet, fill it with about 1 inch of water, and put in the oven. Heat the oven to 400 F.

2. In a large bowl, add 120 g. of red curry paste to 3 cups of coconut milk, mix well and taste for spiciness. Add more paste if needed, up to 150 g.

3. Add a splash of two of fish sauce. Depending on the brand of curry paste you use, the saltiness will vary so you will need to taste this. If you use homemade curry paste without added salt, then you will need more fish sauce here.

4. Add 6 tbsp. of flour and mix very well, then the eggs. Stir in the chiffonade lime leaves, leaving just a handful on the side for garnish. Mix everything very well. (At this point you could taste the mixture by cooking a few table spoon of it in the microwave for about a minute. Adjust the seasoning as needed.)

5. Line the bottom of a 4/12 inch Le Creuset Pâté terrine with the Thai basil 6. Layer the scallops at the bottom of the terrine, then add the curry/coconut milk mixture. Fill the terrine to about half way, then add the crabmeat, then the rest of the curry mixture.

7. Bake the terrine, with the lid on, in the prepared bain marie for about 1 hour.

8. While the terrine is baking, whisk the remaining 1 cup of coconut milk with the rest of the flour (2 tablespoons). Heat the mixture until barely boiling, set aside.

9. Check the terrine after 45 minutes by shaking the terrine a little, the middle should move just a little, and should not look too liquid. Let it bake a little longer if the mixture still look too loose. If in doubt, bake a little longer, add more hot water to the bain marie if necessary. As long as they bain marie still has water, the terrine will not get too dry.

10. When the terrine looks ready, pour the coconut milk/flour mixture on top, spread well, and let bake (with the lid off) for another 10 minutes.

11. Take the terrine out of the oven, sprinkle to top with the remaining chiffonade lime leaves and chiffonade red chillies for garnish.

12. Let rest at least 20 minutes before serving. Serve with steamed Jasmine rice.


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