Shelley’s recipes

Healthy family favourites from the Purchon household

It’s surprisingly easy to knock up a Thai curry from scratch, and it smells and tastes delicious. Lemongrass, peanut butter and coconut milk give this curry a really interesting flavour, and red rice (which I’d never even heard of) is a revelation.

My children have insisted that I come clean on a small matter. For the time being I have run out of healthy dishes our children love, so I am featuring a recipe which Russell and I love and the children merely tolerate. It is easy, healthy and full of flavour, so I hope that you’ll like it as much as the adults in our house. Please let me know, I always love hearing your comments.

It comes from a great book called The Doctor’s Kitchen, published in 2017 by British GP Rupy Aujla. Lemongrass has been shown to have anti-cancer effects in some small studies, and red rice is healthier than white rice. It is a higher fibre choice and contains anthocyanins, a flavonoid which is full of health benefits. I’d never even heard of it but I’m a convert. It has a nutty texture, but isn’t chewy like brown rice. Pak choi is an excellent source of Vitamin C, vitamin A (in the form of carotenoids), and manganese. You chuck it in just at the end of cooking so it maintains its freshness and its bite.

If you are wondering what those mange tout are doing in the bowl, so were my children (as if it’s not bad enough being made to eat tofu, without me throwing extra veg in there.) I had some satay mix left over from Jamie Oliver’s chicken skewers, so I steamed the mange tout and then stirred it in. It was lovely.

Lemongrass Thai Curry

Serves: 4

Cooking time: 40 minutes


  • 2 tbsp coconut oil (or olive oil)
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 stick lemongrass, bruised
  • A thumb sized piece of ginger, peeled and grated
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 500g chicken or tofu, in bite sized pieces.
  • 1 tin coconut milk
  • 1 heaped tsp peanut butter
  • Optional: 1 red chilli, split length ways and deseeded
  • 1 teaspoon of fish sauce.
  • Leaves from 3 Thai basil or regular basil sprigs, roughly chopped.
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 300g pak choi, roughly chopped
  • 300g red rice, cooked according to the packet instructions.


Get the rice on first because red rice takes a while to cook.

Melt the coconut oil in a pan over a medium high heat, add the onion, lemongrass, ginger and garlic and saute for a few minutes until golden. Add the chicken or tofu and saute for a further 4 minutes until browned.

Add the coconut milk, peanut butter, red chilli, fish sauce, basil, and soy sauce. Simmer for 11-12 minutes, then add the pak choi and cook for a further 2 minutes.

Serve with the red rice.

A word about tofu- It won’t brown when you fry it unless you’ve got all the water out. Some people press it under a chopping board for a while. Failing that, at least dab it dry with kitchen roll.

A word about fish sauce- It gives an authentic Thai flavour to the curry but it stinks to high heaven in the fridge. Solve this by cling-filming the bottle top before replacing the lid.

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