Thai Rabbit Curry

Posted By Stephen


Last year when we visited Kerri’s mum one weekend, she had bought a rabbit for us really cheaply. When she recently asked if we wanted another one, we of course said that no, we wanted two. So we picked them up this past weekend. As we have a tiny freezer, we left one there and brought the other home to eat this week.

Based on past experience, we figured that we should be able to get two dishes out of one rabbit. We had a good idea about what we were going to cook for one of them, but were struggling to think of what to do for the other. While I was paging through Thai Food looking for something to cook over the weekend, I happened across a rabbit curry recipe which seemed like an excellent idea.

Coincidentally, last night we had watched a Masterchef The Professionals episode on iPlayer and the contestants had been set the task of jointing a rabbit. I don’t think any of them managed to do exactly what Monica the mouthy sous chef had asked, but then they didn’t actually show any footage of her explaining what she wanted, so it was a bit confusing. Bad editing. Or maybe they left that bit out on purpose so that they could fit in a bit more shouting. I think most of them managed a passable attempt at removing the legs, which I managed too, and then they removed the fillets from the body which I don’t think is what she wanted because she had said that she wanted five pieces rather than six. Anyway, I went with the fillet removal because it seemed like it would be easier to mince the meat afterwards, which is what our recipe required. We don’t have a mincer, so I chopped it very finely with a knife, which took quite a while and didn’t mince it as fine as a mincer would have, but it was good enough.

This is a curry in which the paste is dissolved simply in boiling stock rather than being fried first. It is a simpler and less refined method than the fried curries, but is versatile and still produces a satisfying dish. They are popular in the northern region of Thailand. This particular curry can be adapted to include almost any meat or fish and any green or leafy vegetable, preferably one that is slightly bitter. As the main recipe included rabbit and we had rabbit, that is what we did.

For the paste:
6-12 dried long red chillies, deseeded, soaked and drained
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons chopped lemongrass
1 tablespoon scraped and chopped coriander root
1 teaspoon chopped red turmeric
2 tablespoons chopped krachai
2 tablespoons chopped red shallots
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 teaspoon shrimp paste

Make the paste in the usual way by pounding all the ingredients together in a mortar and pestle (or use a blender…). Start with the hardest, driest ingredient and a little salt, pound it until it is broken down, then add the next hardest ingredient, etc, ending with the softest one. This can be a long process and you’ll see by the little red bits of chilli floating in our soup that I didn’t quite get ours as fine as I should have.

Then for the curry:
3 cups stock (the recipe says it should ideally be made from the rabbit bones, but we didn’t have time to do that and used some home made chicken stock instead)
pinch of white sugar
2 tablespoons fish sauce (the recipe suggests using fermented fish sauce (nahm pla raa) if you can find it, which is more pungent than the regular fish sauce (nahm pla) but we couldn’t find any)
1 bunch Chinese broccoli, cut into 1cm lengths
1 cup minced rabbit meat

Bring the stock to the boil, then season with the sugar and most of the fish sauce. Dissolve 3 tablespoons of the paste into the stock. Add the broccoli and let it boil for several minutes until the colour begins to fade – the slight bitterness will improve the curry. (Obviously if using spinach or other leafy vegetable here instead then don’t cook as long) Add the meat, stirring to prevent it clumping and cook until it has just changed colour. Taste and season with the rest of the fish sauce if necessary, then leave it to stand for five minutes before serving.

It was really tasty, with the shrimp paste giving a lovely earthy flavour to it which mingled well with the heat from the chillis and the aromatics from the other ingredients in the paste. And all that flavour without any coconut milk, which means it probably had half the calories of yesterday’s dinner. I think we cooked our meat for longer than the recipe intended as it was slightly tough, but it was still easy to eat as it was in small pieces and gave an interesting texture to the dish.

Oct 13th, 2009

5 Comments to 'Thai Rabbit Curry'

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  1. LexEat said,

    How fascinating – I would never have thought to put rabbit in a curry.
    If you’re looking for another rabbit recipe, the weekend’s Observer food magazine has a stuffed rabbit recipe – the rabbit is stuffed with mince and other yumminess and wrapped in pancetta. Let me know if you want a copy.


  2. Lizzie said,

    This looks delicious; I’d have never associated rabbit with Thai food

  3. Stephen said,

    Yes we hadn’t really thought of it as a potential curry ingredient either. I thought of rabbit as more of a European animal, but I suppose there must be different species of rabbits all over the world.

    Lex we do have another whole rabbit to cook in the near future, so any interesting recipes would be brilliant, thanks!

  4. Wow I am so impressed by this – especially the fact that you jointed your own rabbit. Looks great.
    .-= gourmet chick´s last blog ..Yauatcha =-.

  5. LexEat said,

    Hi Stephen – I’ve scanned the rabbit recipe and can email it to you if you give me your address.
    .-= LexEat´s last blog ..Crisp pork belly =-.

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