Red curry with crispy pork belly + noodles

I love pork belly and have it often in a really spicy sour salad, or in this lovely soft noodle dish.

And today I thought I'd make a red curry with it ... I didn't actually mean to have this with noodles, but I'd somehow - outrageously somehow - run out of rice!

I didn't even know that was a THING, to not have rice just always there in the cupboard!


Cook the pork belly first (as much as you like - I had two slices per person) as that will take longest.

I drizzle my pork belly slices with a little light soy sauce and then cook until crispy and gorgeous - it usually takes longer than I think, anywhere from 40 - 60 minutes - and I turn them every 15 minutes or so. 

Once cooked, remove from heat and cut into chunks. I also remove some of the fat at this point as I just don't want it all, but that's just personal preference and entirely up to you. 

For a crispy pork belly Thai red curry for two, you'll also need:

rice or noodles, so cook the rice so it's ready to go, or prepare the noodles according to pack instructions

cooking oil (I use a spray oil)

a good dessertspoon of good red curry paste

1/2 - 1 tin coconut milk (I really do think full fat is better than 'light' versions)

whatever vegetables you choose, or happen to have! I had broccoli and asparagus - and I do like adding a few halved cherry tomatoes to this too

1 tsp sugar

a slosh of fish sauce

the juice of a lime

Thai sweet basil leaves if you can get them (don't use Mediterranean basil, it's totally different)

a few slices of red chilli to garnish, if liked

Rachel Redlaw crispy pork belly Thai red curry
Rachel Redlaw crispy pork belly Thai red curry
Rachel Redlaw crispy pork belly Thai red curry

OK, so we've got our pork belly cooked and chopped, and our rice keeping warm in a pan with a lid on it, or - like me - soaked noodles ready to add at the end.

Next, just put a non-stick frying pan over a heat, add a few sprays of cooking oil, and then go in with the red curry paste.

Stir this just for a few seconds really, enough to start releasing the fragrance, and then pour in the coconut milk (how much is how thin or creamy you like the consistency - personally I go for half a tin for two).

When it comes to a simmer, throw in the vegetables and simmer for five or six minutes.

Rachel Redlaw crispy pork belly Thai red curry
Rachel Redlaw crispy pork belly Thai red curry
Rachel Redlaw crispy pork belly Thai red curry

Then add the pork belly pieces and the noodles (if using), stir to combine well and add the sugar, a good slosh of fish sauce and squeeze in the lime juice.

Cook for another minute and then remove from heat, stirring in the Thai basil if you have it.

Rachel Redlaw crispy pork belly Thai red curry
Rachel Redlaw crispy pork belly Thai red curry
Rachel Redlaw crispy pork belly Thai red curry

It would have looked nicer with the green basil, so I tried to pretty mine up a bit with a couple of slices of red chilli.

That didn't really work but what this lacks in prettiness it certainly makes up for in the most comforting deliciousness and combination of textures and flavours!


Borneo coconut chicken curry

I have been SO looking forward to making this curry!

The recipe was given to me by Shaun Naen, a chef originally from Borneo.  It's a dish his mother taught him when he lived at home - and a special dish she would make for occasions such as a birthday or Chinese New Year. 

Since I left home, I miss my mother and her cooking very much. When I first cooked this it reminded me so much of home I felt quite overwhelmed’
— Shaun Naen

I made it today for the first time and it's going to be a special occasion dish in this house from now on too.

Because I wanted to make it as it should be I did cook the full amount (it only JUST squeezed into my biggest pan!) but it would be easy to scale down to make a smaller amount.

I love that it's a bit different in that you get a whole chicken piece in each portion rather than being it chopped up.  

It's also exactly the sort of dish I want people to share with me - there's something lovely and warm in having personal dishes shared - family favourites; dishes that mean something; food that has real memory and love behind it. 

So, let's go.  

Let's go make a great-big-celebration-special-occasion-for-all-the-family coconut chicken curry.

For eight people, you'll need:

Borneo coconut chicken curry Rachel Walder

1 white onion (or a few shallots)

2 inches of fresh ginger

5 cloves garlic

5 red chillies (I wasn't sure whether they were big mild ones of birds eye - so used four bigger ones and one birds eye chilli just 'because'.  So use what you like!)

4-5 tablespoons rapeseed/cooking oil

5 tablespoons hot curry powder

2 teaspoons ground coriander

2 teaspoons ground cumin

3 tablespoons ground turmeric

1 whole chicken, cut into eight (I got my butcher to do this as wasn't confident - but I'll try myself next time)

Borneo coconut chicken curry Rachel Walder

600 ml coconut milk

2 big potatoes, peeled and cut into chunky cubes, then blanched (cooked in boiling water for 2-3 minutes)

Borneo coconut chicken curry Rachel Walder

10 cardamom pods

2 cinnamon sticks or cassia bark

15 curry leaves (OK, now these I just couldn't find - so I used kaffir lime leaves plus a couple of bay leaves.  It's not quite correct, but it was still really good!)

4 star anis

2 lemongrass stalks, outer layer peeled off and then bruised

2 tablespoons garam masala

seasoning to taste

a big handful of coriander leaves, chopped

a few slices of red chilli, to garnish

cooked rice, to serve

Peel the onion and chop roughly into a few pieces.  Peel the ginger and chop into chunks.  Peel the garlic, and take the stalks off the ends of the chillies and cut in half. 

Borneo coconut chicken curry Rachel Walder

Put them all into the food processor and blitz to make a coarse paste.

mixed curry paste.jpg

Heat the oil in a wok (my wok wasn't big enough so I used my biggest pan and that was only just big enough!) ... and when hot add:

- the paste from the food processor

- curry powder, ground coriander, cumin and turmeric

Borneo coconut chicken curry Rachel Walder
Borneo coconut chicken curry Rachel Walder

... and fry for a little, stirring all the time.  

When it comes together (and smells amazing) add the chicken pieces and the coconut milk.

Borneo coconut chicken curry Rachel Walder

Stir and then add in the potato cubes.

Stir again and add the cardamom, cinnamon/cassia, curry leaves, star anis and lemongrass.

Borneo coconut chicken curry Rachel Walder

Simmer until the chicken is tender and cooked through - about half an hour. 

Borneo coconut chicken curry Rachel Walder

Then add the garam masala and a little water if needed.

Season well - I needed quite a bit of salt in mine and a pinch of black pepper.  Stir again and simmer for a couple of minutes more.

Serve with fresh chopped coriander and coconut rice or boiled rice.

Borneo coconut chicken curry Rachel Walder


(And let me know what you think). 

Definitely a special occasion dish in this house now too. 


Friday night fakeaway: chicken jalfrezi

Cooking just for myself is such a treat.

I can have ANYTHING I want and no-one else to consider ... and what I want is a curry.

But I'm being more conscious about what I eat at the moment so I'm certainly not ordering a takeaway - besides, I like cooking too much to do that.  

So I'm returning to what is now a favourite recipe - a really easy, delicious and spicy chicken jalfrezi using the Hairy Bikers  'fakeaway' recipe from their excellent cookbook, The Hairy Dieters.

Note: I didn't scale down exactly pro rata so it's my spicy version ... 

This genuinely has all the taste - and more - of a standard recipe, but with far fewer calories.

I'm not calorie counting on my Tiniest Thai diet, but this recipe fits in with all the principles of TTT and I love it!

Here's how I made my spicy curry for one (and if you make it for more, no one would EVER know it was 'diet' food!).

You'll need:

3  long green chillies

1 skinless chicken breast

cooking oil 

I garlic clove, finely chopped

2 tomatoes, chopped

2 scant/level tsp ground cumin 

2 scant/leveltsp garam masala

1/2 tsp turmeric (I found I'd run out so just left it out)

1 tsp caster or white sugar

1/2 tsp sea salt 

a couple of sloshes of cold water (maybe 100-150 ml)

1 tbspn natural yogurt

1/4 onion, cut into a few wedges

about 1/3 green pepper, cut into chunks

1 tomato, cut into quarters or eighths

1 tsp cornflour

a little water, maybe 1/2-1 tbspn 

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder chicken jalfrezi

And here's how you make it.  

Finely chop 2 of the chillies, and then with the third, cut off the stalk and make a slit down the whole chilli from stalk to tip without opening or removing the seeds.

I then add the garlic, tomatoes and spices to the chopped chillies so it's all ready to throw in the pan.

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder chicken jalfrezi

 Cut the chicken breast into bite-sized chunks.

Heat about a tbspn of oil in a pan over a high heat.

Add the garlic, chopped chillies, chopped tomatoes, cumin, garam masala, turmeric, sugar and salt, then stir-fry for 3–4 minutes until the vegetables soften.

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder chicken jalfrezi

Don’t let the garlic or spices burn or they will add a bitter flavour to the sauce. Add a splash of water if you need to - it doesn't make any difference overall!

Next, add the chicken pieces and whole chilli and cook for 3 minutes, turning the chicken regularly.

Pour over the water, stir in the yoghurt and reduce the heat only slightly – you want the sauce to simmer.

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder chicken jalfrezi

Cook for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally until the chicken is tender and cooked through and the sauce has reduced by about a third. (The yoghurt may separate to begin with but will disappear into the sauce.)

While the chicken is cooking, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a clean pan and stir-fry the onion and pepper over a high heat for 3–4 minutes until lightly browned.

Add the tomato and fry for 2–3 minutes more, stirring until the vegetables are just tender.

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder chicken jalfrezi

Mix the cornflour with the tablespoon of water to form a smooth paste.

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder chicken jalfrezi

When the chicken is cooked, stir in the cornflour mixture and simmer for a few seconds until the sauce thickens, stirring constantly.

Remove from the heat, add the hot stir-fried vegetables and toss together - then serve with rice and maybe a carrot salad.

Rachel Redlaw chicken jalfrezi

And then the Hairy Bikers say: 'Just in case you were wondering – don’t eat the whole chillies!'.

I have to disagree.

Eat the whole chilli and be happy, that's what I say!



Easter curry

This is forever after going to be known to me as Easter curry.  I do like having specific dishes for events so this is another to add to my list ... for instance, at Chinese New Year I make this barbecue pork, and for Pancake Day it's now a tradition to have crispy duck pancakes.  We usually have lamb for Easter lunch in my family anyway so it's just a tiny move on to making that a lamb curry.

My brother-in-law makes exceptionally good curries - he's been making them for years from scratch so has many, many hours of spice toasting and grinding practice under his belt, as well as an inspiring curry cookbook library.  Cookbooks are probably my favourite reading material and every time I visit it seems there are yet more gorgeous curry books to gorge on.  And curry too of course.

Our Easter curry was cooked outside using a Kadai fire bowl, which I LOVE. Love cooking outdoors anyway but curry outdoors, over the firebowl? THE BEST.

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder Easter curry

We started with these delicious onion bhajis - I'll post the recipe when I make them ...

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder Easter curry

and then on to the main event, Easter Curry.

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder Easter curry

Or as it was previously known, Mr Singh's slow-cooked lamb curry with cloves and cardamom from Rick Stein's India book.

It was SO GOOD.

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder Easter curry

Oh, and then we had pavlova, made by my step-mum (also an excellent cook!).  YUM.

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder pavlova

So ... on Easter Monday I decided to make Easter curry for myself, but didn't have lamb.  I made it with chicken and it was still good, but I have to admit not quite as good as with lamb, and the Kardai cooking method adds something special too I'm sure.

Here's the recipe from Rick Stein, with pictures and variations by me.

Serves 4-6 (mine served 2)

1/2 tsp cardamom seeds (from about 8 green pods - I used five)

4-6 cloves (I used three)

3 medium onions (I used one and a half)

200g tomatoes (I used two tomatoes)

10 cloves garlic (yes, I used five!)

4 cm ginger (I just cut a small piece)

75ml vegetable oil (I just poured some in)

100ml thick Greek-style yogurt (again, I just poured in what looked right)

700g boneless lamb shoulder, trimmed of excess fat, cut into 4cm pieces (or if you want to make my version a couple of chicken breasts)

1 tsp salt (yup, half a teaspoon)

1 tsp garam masala (half)

1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder (half a teaspoon of ordinary chilli powder for me)

1 tablespoon single cream (I just poured in a bit)

Grind the cardamom and cloves into a powder (I used a pestle and mortar); set aside.

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder Easter curry

In stages, using a mini food processor (or a full sized one, or a blender would do I'm sure) and rinsing out in between, roughly chop the onions then blend to a puree with a little water; roughly chop then puree the tomatoes; roughly chop then blend the garlic and ginger with a tablespoon of water to a slack paste (I used the pestle and mortar again here).

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder Easter curry

Heat the oil in a heavy-based casserole pan over a medium heat and gently fry the onion paste for 10-15 minutes until golden (10 mins was enough for my smaller amounts), then add the ginger and garlic and fry for three minutes.

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder Easter curry

Stir in the yogurt, then add the meat and salt and cook over a low-medium heat for 20-30 mins until browned.

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder Easter curry

Stir in the garam masala and chilli powder, and after about 30 seconds pour over enough water to just cover the meat.  Simmer, covered, for 40 minutes (30 minutes was enough for me).

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder Easter curry

Stir the cream and pureed tomatoes into the lamb (chicken), followed by the cardamom and clove mix.

To seal the pan, first cover with foil, then a lid (I just used a lid).  Cook over the lowest heat for 30-40 mins (again I think my smaller chicken version only needed 20 mins) until the lamb is tender.

Serve with chapatis (or rice).

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder Easter curry

And DON'T wait until next Easter to make Easter curry - it's just too good!


This year I followed the recipe as above for the smaller portion - for two people - but used a couple of lamb leg steaks, trimming the fat and cutting into chunks.

I didn't have any single cream so just added another spoon of yogurt at that stage.

Loved it (will def be making again before NEXT Easter this time!).

Rachel Redlaw Easter Curry
Rachel Redlaw Easter Curry
Rachel Redlaw Easter Curry


Easy authentic gang keow wan gai - Thai green curry chicken

Ok, so first ... authentic? Yes, because I learnt to cook Thai curries exactly they way they were cooked and served and as customers enjoyed them and paid for them - in a Thai restaurant in Thailand cooked by Thai cooks!

So yes, they did use ready-made pastes. Granted, we bought the pastes from the market, a big scoop from a pile of paste into a bag, but a good paste is a good paste so just get the best you can.

Anyway, onto the curry … I'm using chicken (gai) but of course you can use any meat, or prawns, or fish balls or tofu - anything you like.

You'll still make a good dinner without it, but ideally you do need to find a little jar of  Thai sweet basil or horapha.  I think I got mine in Waitrose and other supermarkets probably sell it too.

So please join me in making a midweek easy-peasy delicious and authentic green curry for one.  One very hungry and greedy one though - so obviously do adjust the amounts so it's right for you.

You'll need:

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Redlaw Thai Green Curry

cooked rice to serve, so make this first

cooking oil

half - one chicken breast depending on hunger, greediness and size of chicken breast, sliced into small pieces

a large walnut-sized blob of curry paste (around a heaped tablespoon)

half a tin of coconut milk (preferably full fat; go on, just fast tomorrow if you have to)

0.75 teaspoon jarred Thai sweet basil or a handful of Thai sweet basil leaves

some green veg, chopped. I used broccoli and green beans; to be totally authentic you need to track down some Thai aubergines and peas ...

1 - 1.5 teaspoon sugar

1 - 1.5 teaspoon fish sauce or to taste

another 0.25 - 0.5 teaspoon jarred Thai sweet basil

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder Thai Green Curry

Heat your wok or pan and add cooking oil.

When hot add the sliced meat and the curry paste and cook, stirring until the meat is sealed.

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder Thai Green Curry

Add the coconut milk and the first amount of Thai sweet basil (3/4 of the handful if using fresh basil) and bring to the boil.

Throw in the green veg, reduce the heat and boil on a low boil for five or six minutes.

The Tiniest Thai Rachel Walder Thai Green Curry

Add the sugar and fish sauce and cook for another minute.

Add the final amount of Thai sweet basil, stir in then remove from heat.

Pack the rice into a small plastic bowl and turn onto a plate and add the curry around or serve in a separate bowl.

And that's it!

Green curry chicken .JPG

I'll post a 'from-scratch' curry paste another day but for now I hope you make and enjoy what is actually a restaurant recipe!

Let me know if you made this and if you liked it ...