“I grew up in Thailand when I was a child, [the street] This is where most meals take place and you can’t really beat the atmosphere,” says chef Kingsley Heron. He is currently recreating some of those childhood memories in a very different atmosphere, serving a “very aromatic” traditional southern Thai yellow curry in the dimly lit basement bar at the George on Collins. “It really brings me back to eating street food with my dad on the Soi of Sukhumvit.”
After working in fine dining establishments around the world like Attica, the famous French laundry in California, as well as restaurants in London and Bangkok, Heron was looking for a change of scenery when he moved to The George. “Classic French cuisine is quite rigid, they don’t like to deviate from what they’re doing,” says Heron. The George’s menu is heavily influenced by Southeast Asia, although Heron slowly weaves those flavors together with French technique. “The idea of being able to do something specifically French and South Asian fusion is a new angle,” says Heron.
This yellow curry is on the more traditional side of the menu. “What sets it apart from other curry pastes like a green curry or a red curry is that it’s very gentle heat, but you also have to roast the paste itself first,” he says. .
Another crucial step in the recipe is to “split” the coconut cream. “It’s a secret technique for Thai people…you could do it without splitting it and you’d be like ‘Why doesn’t mine taste as good as street food?'” Heron says. Essentially, you add the coconut cream to a hot skillet and stir it until you get a cottage cheese-like texture. “When you can start stacking and scratching, that’s when it’s time to add everything else,” Heron says.
Kingsley Heron Yellow Curry Tempeh
For 6 to 8 people
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 1h20
1 medium red onion
100g peeled garlic
100g coriander root
90g large dried chilli
25g of fennel
20g fresh turmeric
20g of ginger
5 red peppers
2 stalks of lemongrass
Half block of palm sugar
1 liter coconut cream
2 liters of coconut milk
Salt to taste
Roasted sweet potato:
1 large sweet potato
Neutral oil for coating
Pinch of salt and pepper
Pinch of five Chinese spices
1 block of tempeh
Rice flour for coating
Neutral frying oil
Sweet Potato Crisps:
Neutral frying oil
1 small sweet potato, peeled into ribbons
1 cup canned chickpeas, drained and dried
Neutral coating oil
Picked Vietnamese mint
Save the coconut cream, blend all the other ingredients for the batter in a food processor or use a mortar and pestle.
Thinly spread the dough on a large baking sheet, roast at 190°C for 15-20 minutes until the dough caramelizes and is colored. Adjust the oven if necessary as the dough will dry out if left in the oven too long.
Cut the large sweet potato into large even sized chunks and toss with olive oil, salt, pepper and a pinch of Chinese five spice. Roast at 180°C for about 40 minutes depending on the size of the pieces.
Separately, in a large heavy-bottomed pan, add the coconut cream. Keep stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan until the cream breaks apart and looks like cottage cheese. Add the batter to the split cream and cook over medium heat until the oils are extracted from the batter.
Push the batter mixture to one side of the pan and add the palm sugar. Alternatively, add the palm sugar to a separate pan, cook until the sugar begins to caramelize, then mix with the rest of the batter. Add the dry herbs, cook 1-2 minutes, then add the coconut milk and simmer 15-20 minutes until the flavors blend. Salt to taste.
Cut the tempeh into equal sized blocks, sprinkle them with rice flour and fry until golden brown.
Peel the small sweet potato and continue peeling the potato flesh into ribbons.
Fry ribbons and chickpeas in oil until golden and crispy. Salt as soon as they are removed from the oil.
Assemble in a serving bowl and pour over the yellow curry. Garnish with fried sweet potato and crispy chickpeas. Finish with Vietnamese mint, julienne pepper and drizzle with coconut cream.
This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with The George.