I had a Thai green curry craving but it was pouring rain, I was hungry after a bike ride, and I was missing essential ingredients like lemongrass, galangal, and coconut milk… no luck.
What could I improvise out of nearly-empty cupboards to scratch that general itch (aromatics + heat + umami + fat) in under 30 minutes?
For a curry paste I minced and fried up: shallots, coconut oil, fresh turmeric root, some hot dried chili brought back from Singapore, tinned anchovies (loosely filling the role of shrimp paste / fish sauce), a little lemon zest, and some dried lemongrass and ginger.
I stirred a cup of boiled rice and a pile of fresh nettle leaves into the paste for about 5 minutes, and voila!
It was good. I think the anchovies really tied it together.