Nigel Slater’s recipe for summer carrots, green curry sauce

An unusual spicy treat which tastes as colourful as it looks

For the green spice paste, remove the stalks from 3 green bird’s eye chillies and put them in a food processor together with 8 black peppercorns, 25g of coriander stalks and 2 large handfuls of leaves, 3 cloves of garlic, 2 fat sticks of lemongrass, the juice and zest of 1 lime and 4 tbsp of groundnut oil. Process to a rough and fragrant paste.

Bring a pan of water to the boil and salt it lightly. Scrub 250g of small, slim carrots and trim them of their stalks, then add them to the water and cook for 3 or 4 minutes until tender. Drain and set aside.

Fry the paste for 2 or 3 minutes, stirring regularly, then add 400ml of coconut milk and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and add 4 lime leaves and a little salt. Quarter 200g of tomatoes and add them to the coconut sauce, continue simmering for 5 minutes (you don’t want them to collapse), then add the carrots and a further handful of coriander leaves. Serve with rice. Enough for 2

The trick
Thai and Vietnamese-style green curries like this are more fragrant if you prevent them from boiling. Bring the coconut up to the boil, then immediately lower the heat to a simmer. Long, slow cooking will mute the fruity flavours of the lemongrass and lime leaves. The paste will keep for a day or two in the fridge, covered with a little oil.

The twist
Once the spice paste and coconut milk come together, add any soft, leafy seasonal vegetables to the pan. You could use long-stemmed broccoli instead of the more usual pak choi, or bushy green spinach. I would also stir in 2 tbsp of fish sauce.