La Chatte Gitane (or The Gypsy Cat) was the name we chose for our cottage in France. We chose it while on the road, moving home, from Ireland to France with 2 dogs and 7 cats in the car.
This blog began its insignificant life as a recipe book for friends and family who would ask me repeatedly for a recipe of this, that and the other.
Since then it has taken many different directions, like gypsies tend to do. Sometimes making a U-turn and revisiting familiar roads and taking a break when necessary.
You'll find recipes here, but also musings about the places we've called home, the gardens that we've established, not always successfully, the homes we've improved and the environments we've lived in. Currently, that is back in Ireland.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Malaysian Curry Paste - Vegetarian Version

That's what I'll call it for now. But it could be from anywhere in Southeast Asia, I suspect.
We are honored to have a lovely young woman from Malaysia staying here as a volunteer. Her name is Wen and even though she has been traveling a good part of the globe for 5 years or so, I feel it is my duty as a host to make our volunteers at home. So, I 'try' to cook something from their homeland from time to time.
Now, I am not a seasoned cook in Asian cuisine.  Oh, I do make Indian curries and kormas and other Indian inspired dishes. And bami goreng is also in my repertoire. Obviously all given the 'Patricia treatment' depending on the ingredients I have in the pantry and spice drawer.
Trawling the internet for a Malaysian curry I came across many recipes that called for 'a jar of Malaysian curry paste'. Yeah, well, that wasn't on the cards living where we live.  I prefer to cook from scratch anyways.
Off to google Malaysian curry paste recipes, then. I was in luck, if only I had some galangal and lemongrass. I didn't have any shrimp paste either, but that was okay, since Wen is a vegetarian.
Looking a bit further I also found recipes for Laksa paste. this paste contains more ingredients  and would give a slightly intenser, albeit different flavour.

Here is my concoction, made with a gathering of internet info.


  • 1 medium size onion, peeled & cut into large pieces
  • 6 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1 1/2 chilli, red or yellow, medium heat - I used red serenade chilli. By all means, use a hotter variety if you so wish. Wen is from Chinese descent and doesn't take to overly spicy food.
  • a good chomp of ginger, peeled and sliced
  • handful of cashew nuts
  • 6 fresh or dried kaffir lime leaves
  • 1 heaped teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 heaped teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 level teaspoon paprika
  • 1 level teaspoon turmeric
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons of peanut oil
The ingredients I didn't have were galangal & lemongrass. I just used more ginger to substitute the first. The lemongrass would have given it a whole different dimension and I advice you to add 1 stalk, white only, chopped.

Chuck it all in the food processor and blend till you have smooth paste.
I used half of the paste for a coconut milk based vegetable curry and froze the other half for future use.

Wen asked me for the recipe ! She might be just polite, but I believe her when she says the flavours are authentic. She mainly uses jarred pastes and they are way to spicy for her and certainly for her German boyfriend. It is also difficult to find a vegetarian option without the shrimp paste in it.
I believe her, also because she had the leftovers for lunch. Haha.

There, Wen, this is a recipe for you.

Thanks for reading.
Patricia xxx...x

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