Pink Elephant Kitchen’s Thai specialty brings summer color to winter dishes.
Thai curry is an enigma. Many subtle ingredients that add up to a burst of exotic flavor can be difficult to replicate at home. Too much of this or too little of that can push those delicate notes over the edge.
While it could be considered cheating, we now have a local savior.
Back to the Basics
The family-run Pink Elephant Kitchen in Carson City sells handmade, frozen curry sauce conveniently measured and ready to add to a combination of protein and vegetables. All three curries (red, yellow, and green) are vegan and free of gluten, soy, dairy, MSG, and any preservatives.
The idea for the curries came from Pink Elephant co-owner Birdie Harthono and her desire to stay organized and rescue her taste buds.
“I love eating curries, but it’s hard to find the right curries,” Harthono says. “I am Thai, but I don’t like Thai spice. So I have to make my own.”
Harthono adds that making curry from scratch can be time-consuming, and it’s difficult to source all the ingredients locally.
“When I’m thinking of making curry, I’m always out of something like coconut milk, basil, or lemongrass, so I never get to eat them when I want to,” she says. “So if I’m going to make it, I usually have to make a lot and freeze it anyway.”
The basic ingredients for each of the three curries include organic coconut milk and coconut sugar, lemongrass, and kaffir lime. Organic garlic, shallots, and Siamese ginger come from Prema Farm in Loyalton, Calif. Additional ingredients such as yellow curry, chili, and paprika make up the three different curry flavors.
“The curries have the perfect flavor every time,” Harthono says.
Quick and Easy
Harthono adds that customers like the taste and convenience and use the frozen curries for parties.
“Customers also tell me that they never get a tummy ache after eating my curry sauce,” Harthono says. “I don’t know if it’s the oil or something that they’ve had before, but they are scared to eat Thai curry.”
The curries don’t always have to go over rice either.
“Traditionally, if you cook the yellow curry sauce, it goes with potatoes, carrots, and onions and your choice of protein over rice,” Harthono says. “But you can also make it with rice noodles. We call that khao soi and it’s a traditional dish from the northern part of Thailand.”
Harthono also recommends using the curries as a gravy over battered chicken or fish served with pasta or baked potato, and the green curry works great with tacos or breakfast burritos.
“You can play with them in so many different ways,” Harthono says.
Christina Nellemann loves Pink Elephant green curry with jasmine rice, zucchini, and fresh basil.
Bring Some Home
This winter, you can purchase Pink Elephant Kitchen products at its store, located at 1280 S. Carson St., Carson City. Its products also can be found at Great Basin Community Food Co-op and Riverside Farmers Market in Reno, Grass Roots Natural Foods and Meyers Mountain Market in South Lake Tahoe, and Tahoe Food Hub in Truckee. For details, visit Pinkelephantkitchen.com.