Thai Green Curry With Prawns & Thai Green Garden Curry

by Susan Smith in , , , ,

Ever since I walked into the Royal Thai restaurant in Nottingham 20 years ago, I have been enchanted by Thai cuisine. Not so much the ‘farang' (Thai for Western foreigners of white descent!) version of Thai food, with our predilection for all things deep-fried - a sort of spring rolls with everything attitude - but the fresh and light, hot and spicy flavours brought together in a variety of harmonious dishes that seem to make every Thai meal a banquet.

Without dairy and hardly any emphasis on meat, Thai cooking is the embodiment of all the main flavour components - sweet, sour, spicy, salty and bitter - perfectly balanced in playful, imaginative dishes that are full of colour and texture. I’ll never forget the sheer joy and excitement of one gorgeous Thai girl called Tinkerbell (how endearing a nick-name is that?) as she ran out from the restaurant’s kitchen to proudly show us her first representation of a beautiful bird she’d painstakingly carved out of a carrot! 

Our first visit to the Royal Thai was an attempt to educate ourselves in anticipation of a month long business trip to Bangkok. At first they must have smiled at our naivety, but, prior to the journey we were generously afforded numerous ‘insider’ traveller’s tips and we quickly became one of their more regular customers…hungry for their companionship as much as the food! Subsequently, the amazingly beautiful, gracious and intelligent Thai girls running the business at that time welcomed us with open arms into the Thai community, and for many years it was as if we were part of their family. Sadly, the girl I most fell in love with died in a road traffic accident shortly after opening a second restaurant in Nottingham (formerly known as Siam Thani). Nang was the dearest of friends to me and the absolute epitome of all that I now associate with Thai people generally - kind, generous and incredibly friendly.

Now that we’re low-carb and Primal, it’s not so easy to eat out in Thai restaurants - you really do need lots of steamed rice to quieten down the chilli-heat - but for the home cook, authentic-tasting Thai food is simple and fast to prepare, and because you’re in control it doesn’t have to be the hottest of the hot. 

Prawns are synonymous with Thai cookery, but their popularity comes at a price. A violent, Asian slave trade exists to produce most of the prawns for sale in Western supermarkets, so please be careful that the prawns you buy are ethically and responsibly sourced. Choose organic king prawns from Waitrose or Honduran raw prawns from M&S. Thank you. Or you could forego the prawns altogether by opting for our vegan-friendly, equally flavoursome, Thai Green Garden Curry.

I’ve paired Primal Plate's tasty, just nicely spicy, warming green curry with pak-choi but Cauliflower Rice is good too. Vegans and vegetarians can simply substitute cherry tomatoes and asparagus tips for the prawns. Hand-carved vegetable flowers and birds are optional!

With food as delectable as this, no wonder Thailand is known as the “land of smiles”.

Thai Green Curry With Prawns (Serves 4) 

1 tbsp organic coconut oil

2 medium organic sweet red peppers, cored, de-seeded and cut into thin strips

4 medium/large organic spring onions, sliced diagonally into 5 or 6 pieces  

2 x 400ml tins organic coconut milk (full fat)

1 tbsp Marigold organic Swiss vegetable bouillon powder

4 tsp Thai green curry paste

1 tbsp organic tamari

450g raw peeled organic king prawns

200g frozen petits pois, defrosted  

½ tsp sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

20-30ml freshly-squeezed lime juice

2-3 drops organic liquid stevia

20g fresh coriander leaves, chopped

Thai Green Garden Curry

Simply follow the instructions given below - omitting the prawns and substituting with:

300g organic cherry tomatoes, halved

300g asparagus tips, trimmed and cut in to 5cm (2”) pieces

To Serve

2 x 235g packs pak choi, washed, prepared (*see below) and lightly steamed for 3 minutes. 

*If using very young pak choi they can be left whole or cut into halves or quarters. However, larger stems of pak choi will cook more evenly and are much easier to manage on the plate if you cut the leafy tops off their white stems. If the outer stems and leaves are still too large, split them in half down the middle. Place the white stems into the bottom of the steamer, then pile the green leaves on top and steam for 3 minutes with the pan lid on.



Fill and boil a kettle of water. Pre-heat 4 large serving dishes/bowls. 

For making the Thai Green Garden Curry: Pour some of the boiling water from the kettle in to a medium saucepan. Bring back to the boil, throw in the asparagus and cook for just 2 minutes (do not overcook them, they should still have some ‘bite’). Drain and refresh the blanched asparagus in cold water (or place under a cold running tap) to stop the cooking process and set their bright green colour. Drain again and set aside.

To quickly defrost the petits pois: Put the peas in a heatproof jug, pour over the boiling water then drain and set aside.

Melt the coconut oil over a medium/high heat in a large, deep sauté pan. Add the pepper strips and spring onions to the pan and stir-fry for about 2 minutes or until just beginning to soften. 

Add the bouillon powder and the green curry paste and continue to stir-fry for a further 30 seconds - try to avoid breathing in the fumes at this stage, they’re quite pungent!

Pour the coconut milk into the pan and bring the mixture to the boil whilst stirring constantly. Once it comes to the boil turn the heat down to medium, then add the tamari, half the lime juice and a single drop of liquid stevia. Taste. Add a pinch of sea salt and a good grinding of black pepper - plus an extra drop of stevia, if you think it needs it. 

Let the sauce gently bubble away over a medium heat for 5 minutes to allow it to reduce down slightly.

Meanwhile fill a steamer with the rest of the boiling water from the kettle. Place the pak choi in the top of the steamer and cook with the pan lid on for 3 minutes.

Whilst the pak choi is cooking, tip the prawns (or, if making Thai Green Garden Curry, the cherry tomatoes and blanched asparagus tips) and the petits pois into the curry sauce and cook for a further 2 minutes or until the prawns turn pink and are completely opaque - or if making the Thai Green Garden Curry, just until the tomatoes, asparagus and peas are warmed through. 

Take the pan off the heat and stir in half the chopped coriander. Check the seasoning again and adjust to taste - also add a little more lime juice and/or another drop of stevia, if needed.

Pile the cooked and drained pak choi in the centre of the four pre-warmed serving bowls. Carefully ladle the green curry over the top dividing the prawns and vegetables equally between each bowl.

Sprinkle over the rest of the coriander and serve immediately. 



N.B. To keep the Thai green curry fresh and vibrant you need to be careful not to over-boil it in the final two minutes of cooking time. Gently heat through until just below boiling point. If you over-cook it at this stage, you’ll end up with tough prawns, collapsed tomatoes and dirty-looking, more-khaki-than-green, vegetables. Not very nice!


Carbohydrate 21g Protein 25g - per serving (with prawns)

Carbohydrate 26g Protein 10g - per serving (with cherry tomatoes & asparagus)

Roasted Cauliflower & Mushroom Curry with Green Pea Fritters and Avocado Cream

by Susan Smith in , , , , ,

Continuing my quest to find Primal Pronto veggie-inspired meals, I discovered these delicious Green Pea Fritters at The Healthy Chef. Initially, I was just looking for an alternative to Primal Naan Bread and Cauliflower Rice to accompany a family supper of Roasted Cauliflower & Mushroom Curry because, as satisfying as Primal naan bread might sound, since posting the original naan bread recipe I subsequently found out that I need to re-invent it without tapioca flour, (which increases blood sugar even more than wheat flour) and zanthan gum. Yikes! Sorry for the oversight! Plus, cauliflower ‘rice’ and cauliflower curry have zero gastronomic appeal when eaten in combo, so I wanted something new and tasty, preferably vegetable-based, to make our curry meal more appetising. 

As it turned out, the Green Pea Fritters were such a hit that I’m including them as part of this week’s blog, so today, three recipe posts for the price of one! Whilst the Green Pea Fritters and Avocado Cream are a perfect stand-alone meal for a fast and simple supper or to serve with drinks, when brought together with Roasted Cauliflower & Mushroom Curry you have several wonderful things that make for a fresh, creative, vegetarian meal fit for entertaining friends. I think the whole thing looks mouthwatering on the plate and it tastes just as good - spicy, savoury, creamy and delicious!

The cauliflower and mushroom curry recipe is adapted from a recipe in Daniel Green’s book, The Paleo Diet but there is one notable exception - if you try to make this curry with “1 tablespoon of chilli powder (or more to taste)” as directed in the book, please do not even think of inviting me for supper! It may simply be a ‘typo’ (I think it should read 1 teaspoon of chilli!) but it would nevertheless be ruinous to the finished dish and most likely would get missed by an inexperienced cook slavishly following the recipe. Thank goodness for Primal Plate’s extensive testing and tasting of all blog featured recipes before posting! 

I have added tiger nut flour to the pea fritter recipe to enhance the sweetness of the peas and on this occasion left out the lemon zest in favour of fresh mint because a) fresh mint and peas are a classic and b) the avocado cream has a lemony ‘hit’ all of its own that more than compensates for its absence in the fritters. Plus, it saves the time and effort of grating a lemon!

The pea fritters are very quick and easy to make - it’s just a matter of mixing everything together in a bowl and dropping spoonfuls of the mixture into a hot frying pan (only a few at a time), pressing them flat with the help of a spatula and cooking (for less than a total of 10 minutes) until they’re golden brown on each side. Meanwhile the avocado and cream cheese can be quickly whizzed to a luscious pale green cream in a food processor or with a hand-held blender.  

The Roasted Cauliflower and Mushroom Curry is just as fuss-free and makes a great vegetarian low-carbohydrate option for followers of Paleo and Primal diets. 

Put it all together for warming, nourishing mouthfuls of extreme pleasure.  

Green Pea Fritters (Serves 4)


300g frozen peas, defrosted

2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley (about 10g without stalks)

1 tablespoon freshly chopped mint leaves

2 large organic free range eggs, lightly beaten

100g full-fat soft cheese, softened (I used Longley Farm)

25g organic tiger nut flour

15g organic coconut flour

1½ tsp sea salt and a generous grinding of black pepper

1 small organic lemon, finely grated zest only - optional

1tbsp olive oil, for frying

Handful of pea shoots, to garnish - optional



Crush the peas in a food processor using the pulse button. Make sure you keep the peas a coarse texture, this is not meant to be a puree.

Transfer the crushed peas to a bowl, add the parsley, mint, eggs, lemon zest (if using), tiger nut and coconut flours. The ground tiger nuts and coconut flour help to hold the mixture together during cooking. 

Season with the sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Taste and correct the seasoning if necessary. 

Soften the cream cheese by breaking it down with a fork then add to the pea fritter batter and combine well.

Heat a little olive oil in a large heavy-based non-stick frying pan over a low heat.

Add heaped tablespoons of the pea fritter mixture to the pan -  you should get about 16 bite-sized fritters. To avoid overcrowding the pan you may need to cook them in several batches. 

Cook the pea fritters over a medium heat for 5-6 minutes without disturbing them. When they are firm and golden on the underside, carefully turn them over with the aid of a flat-ended spatula. 

Continue to cook for a further 3-5 minutes or until the fritters are cooked through and golden brown on both sides. 

Immediately transfer to an oven proof dish (or serving platter if you’re handing them out with drinks) and then into a pre-heated hot oven until you’ve cooked the rest of the fritters and you’re ready to eat.


Avocado Cream (Serves 3-4)


1 large ripe avocado

½ lemon, juiced

100g full-fat soft cheese, softened by breaking down with a fork (or use Waitrose Duchy Organic Soft Cheese straight out of the tub).

Sea salt

Cayenne pepper



Peel, stone and mash the avocado with the lemon juice then mix together with the soft cheese, sea salt and cayenne pepper to taste until it is completely smooth and creamy - this is best done in a food processor or with a hand-held blender.  

Serve as a dip with Green Pea Fritters or crudités.


Roasted Cauliflower & Mushroom Curry (Serves 4)


1 medium head of cauliflower, broken into small bite-sized florets

1 large onion, finely chopped

3 tbsp olive oil

250g button mushrooms

1 x 2½ cm piece of fresh ginger, grated

1 tbsp ground coriander

1 tbsp ground cumin

1 tbsp garam masala

1 tsp chilli powder

1 tbsp Marigold organic vegetable bouillon powder

400ml full-fat organic  coconut milk

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

a large handful of fresh coriander, chopped - to garnish



Pre-heat the oven to 200℃ / 400℉ / Gas mark 7

In a large bowl, toss the cauliflower florets in 2 tablespoons of olive oil and season with freshly ground black pepper.

Tip onto a non-stick roasting tray and roast for 25 minutes, turning occasionally until the cauliflower is nicely browned. Remove from the oven and set aside.

In a wide, shallow pan set over a moderate heat, fry the onion in the remaining olive oil with the pan lid on for about 8 minutes, stirring from time to time, until softened and starting to brown.

Add the mushrooms and ginger and cook for another 1-2 minutes, stirring. Stir in the spices and bouillon powder and cook for another minute.

Add the coconut milk and season to taste. Bring to the boil then stir in the cauliflower.

Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan and cook for about 5 minutes. 

Ladle into warmed bowls and top with plenty of fresh coriander. 



I was in two minds about the Primal Pronto status of the Green Pea Fritters and Roasted Cauliflower & Mushroom Curry because both these recipes are so easy and fuss-free. In the end I decided that Primal Pronto should be defined as: a recipe with 5 or less main ingredients, or one that can be prepped, cooked and on the table within 45 minutes. The Roasted Cauliflower & Mushroom Curry didn’t quite make it on both counts (realistically it’s takes more like 50 minutes to make) but it is still wonderfully warming comfort food that’s simple to prepare. It’s also suitable for vegans.  

You can defrost the peas quickly by putting them in a heat proof jug and pouring boiling water over. Allow to stand for a few minutes, then drain well and proceed with the recipe. 

The uncooked pea fritter batter can be made well in advance and stored in the fridge overnight. The mixture will make approximately 16 small or 8 large fritters. I use a heaped tablespoon to make the bite-sized ones and a ¼ US cup for bigger ones.

Two large Green Pea Fritters per person served with a medium/soft boiled egg and a dollop of avocado cream is great for a fast and easy low-carb brunch or supper.

If you can’t get button mushrooms for the curry, use closed-cap mushrooms cut into halves or quarters instead.


Carbohydrate 14g Protein 11g - per serving (4 small or 2 large) of Green Pea Fritters

Carbohydrate 5g Protein 2g - per serving of Avocado Cream

Carbohydrate 22g Protein 8g - per serving of Roasted Cauliflower & Mushroom Curry

Primal Naan Bread

by Susan Smith in , , , ,

Following on from last week’s blog post, we’ve recently been going through a spicy phase at our house. We love curry, which is a good thing because for the past week we’ve been eating it most days whilst I tried to figure out how to make the perfect grain-free naan bread accompaniment. Happily (actually I am ecstatic!), Primal Plate has cracked the code for a grain-free naan bread that looks and tastes as close to an authentic Indian flatbread as you can get, without using traditional ingredients.

I had to go from memory when developing this recipe because with rice, legumes and grains all off-limits, I’ve not eaten out at an Indian restaurant or had an Indian ‘take-away’, for a very long time. I always remember the best naan being soft, chewy and subtly sweet, so my first thoughts turned to tiger nut flour, which I knew would give my naan a slight sweetness, without adding sugar. 

Traditionally, naan is made from plain wheat flour and leavened with yeast before baking. To get the taste, smell and texture of traditional naan it seemed important that the raising agent for my naan was also yeast, although I wasn’t certain whether this was a Paleo/Primal-approved ingredient or not. Consulting Mark’s Daily Apple, I discovered that if you drink wine or beer, the type of yeast used to make both is the same as the yeast used for bread making. And, assuming you’re not yeast sensitive, there are some nutritional benefits to eating it, especially if you avoid animal products. As a primal, vegetarian wine drinker, I concluded yeast was good to go! 

For the rest of the recipe I got my inspiration from the queen of Indian cuisine, Madhu Jaffrey. However, when refined wheat flour, the primary ingredient of naan bread isn’t an option, I had to find alternative ingredients and put them together in just the right amounts so that my naan bread would look and taste like the real deal.

To be honest, my first attempt included a high proportion of green banana flour (a brilliant source of resistant starch, which is one of the best foods to feed our good gut bacteria) but it turned out almost exactly like wholewheat pitta bread instead (another recipe for another day). For naan, I wanted it to be altogether softer and fluffier.

Substituting ground almonds for banana flour and changing the ratio of ingredients finally did the trick. The virtually no-need-to-knead dough rose better (doubled in size at the first proving), looked like I’d used plain flour rather than whole-wheat (more naan-like) and had the desired soft, fluffy texture I was looking for.

It was another ‘Eureka!” moment in my Primal cook’s career. I am still totally amazed that each new recipe I attempt to develop with the same handful of ingredients - albeit in differing amounts - can be transformed into an endless variety of grain-free, refined sugar-free cakes, breads, biscuits, scones and pancakes that look and taste no different to those made with conventional ingredients like wheat flour and sugar. 

If you're trying to lose weight and eat low-carb please be aware that these naan are extremely moreish! They’re lovely as an occasional treat, but don’t go overboard. Although a well known supermarket’s plain naan has 50% more grams of carbohydrate than Primal Plate’s naan bread, I have in fact gained 2 pounds this week, which I can only attribute to multiple testing of this recipe. It was worth it!

PRIMAL NAAN BREAD (Makes 3 decent-sized naan)


75ml hand hot milk            

1 tsp raw organic liquid honey                

5g (about 1 heaped tsp) dried active yeast

150g tapioca flour

20g coconut flour

30g tiger nut flour

1½ tsp baking powder                    

¾ tsp xanthan gum

50g ground almonds

½ tsp tsp sea salt    

1 tbsp olive oil + ¼ tsp for greasing            

50ml yogurt, beaten

1 medium egg, lightly beaten

1 tbsp butter or ghee, melted - for brushing        


Gently warm 75ml milk to ‘blood’ temperature with the honey. Put the milk/honey in a bowl. Add the yeast. Stir to mix. Set aside for 15-20 minutes or until the yeast has dissolved and the mixture is frothy.

Meanwhile, sift the tapioca, coconut, tiger nut flours, baking powder and xanthan gum into a large bowl. Add the ground almonds and sea salt and make a well in the centre. 

In a separate bowl, combine the beaten egg, olive oil and yogurt, then pour it into the well, along with the bubbling yeast mixture. Gradually bring the mixture together with a fork then gently knead with your hand for a few minutes until it forms a soft, smooth ball of dough.

Pour ¼ tsp oil into a medium/large bowl and roll the ball of dough in it. Cover the bowl with cling film and set aside for 1-1½ hours in a warmish place until doubled in size. (I heat my oven to 40℃, then switch it off and put the covered bowl of dough in the closed oven to prove).

Tip the proofed dough out of the bowl onto a work surface then briefly knead again. Divide the dough into three equal balls. Lightly cover with cling film and set aside whilst you melt the butter or ghee in a small saucepan over a low heat. 

Heat a heavy non-stick frying pan over a high heat for 5 minutes or so and put the oven on low. 

Meanwhile, gently flatten each of the balls between two sheets of cling film then lightly roll or press into a tear-shaped naan, about 25cm long and 13cm wide at its widest point and slightly thicker around the edge. Keep lightly covered until you’re ready to cook them. 

Put the naan into the hot frying pan (no oil is needed) and cook until it starts to puff up and is tinged brown in patches (about 1-2 minutes), then using a flat bladed spatula flip the naan over and cook the other side until that too is patched with brown (another 1-2 minutes). Turn it back over one final time and cook for about another 30 seconds or so until cooked through and there are no doughy bits remaining.

Brush the cooked naan with the melted butter or ghee and put in the warm oven whilst you make the other flatbread(s). Serve with curry. 


If the dough seems too sticky when you’re trying to knead it, add more tapioca flour - a very little at a time - only just enough so that the dough leaves the sides of the bowl and isn’t sticking to your fingers.

You may have guessed that I regularly cook for three people (hence a recipe for three naan). For a family of four or more, simply double the ingredients to make six. Alternatively, divide the existing dough recipe into four balls to make the finished naan smaller.  

We struggled trying to determine the best and simplest way to cook the naan - or at least that was our excuse to keep taste-testing them! As well as cooking them on top of the hob, they can be baked in a super-hot oven for 5 minutes. Firstly, pre-heat a heavy baking sheet in an oven set to its highest temperature. Literally, ’slap’ each prepared naan down onto the hot baking sheet. It will puff up. Bake for 2½ minutes then turn over and continue cooking for a further 2-2½ minutes. Wrap each naan in a clean tea-towel and keep warm whilst you make the rest in the same way. 

Naan bread cooked in the oven will turn out more evenly golden but not quite as soft and chewy as when cooked on top of the stove in a frying pan. We finally all agreed that the pan-cooked ones had the ‘edge’ i.e. looked and tasted the most authentic. 

Carbohydrate 52g  Protein 8g - per serving

Grain-free, gluten-free Primal Naan Bread is the perfect sharing bread to eat with curries and Indian food, shown here with Cauliflower & Mushroom Curry

Grain-free, gluten-free Primal Naan Bread is the perfect sharing bread to eat with curries and Indian food, shown here with Cauliflower & Mushroom Curry