I'm trying to recreate a dish I had at Alinea a while ago. Their forum actually had a good start for this dish:

The garnishes on the surface are Hawaiian volcanic salt, cucumber, garlic chips, fresh banana, young coconut, red onion, lime segments with zest, toasted cashews, and red chili pudding. The glass circle contains a basil seed-lime vinaigrette.

We press the herbs in between two pieces of rice paper to form the centerpiece. Once the frame is assembled the server drapes the flag over the frame. We cure the pork belly with salt, sugar and aromatics. It is cooked sous vide until tender, seared and shredded. We make a curry sauce from coconut, ginger, mint, lemongrass, thai chilis, kaffir lime, cardamom, coriander, and lime juice. We mix the curry with the shredded pork belly to make the ragu spooned over tableside by the service staff.

My question is, given the list of ingredients for the coconut curry but no sense of how to make it, how should I go about preparing this curry? Should I just toss everything in a pot an simmer for a while? Should I toast the spices? Sautee the lemongrass?

  • 1
    The chefs at Alinea are very involved with the forums, I'd suggest asking there.
    – daniel
    Oct 16 '10 at 17:00
  • @Daniel, unfortunately, the forum won't let me register, saying they're not accepting new members (weird) and I have all the stuff to make this tomorrow (starting the sous vide tonight).
    – yossarian
    Oct 16 '10 at 18:11
  • I'm a member, I'll go ask for you.
    – daniel
    Oct 16 '10 at 19:00
  • And done alineamosaic.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=1010
    – daniel
    Oct 16 '10 at 19:03
  • 2
    If you get a good answer there, you should repost it here (or post a summary and a link).
    – Aaronut
    Oct 18 '10 at 15:22

I don't know if this is how it is done at Alinea, but considering that it is geared towards a modernist dish, not a traditional Thai curry, this is what I would do:

(1) Pound the lemongrass. Toast and then then grind the coriander. Bruise the kaffir lime leaf. Leave those to infuse in the lime juice for at least one hour and up to overnight.

(2) Remove the lemongrass and lime leaf. Combine the infused lime juice with all of the other ingredients, including the coconut milk without heating. Puree. Salt to taste. Strain very thoroughly. If needed, thicken slightly with xanthan gum or ultratex (as they don't require heating).

I suggest this because I know @gachatz's philosophy is to avoid diluting or muddying flavors, and I think this approach would keep them very fresh and distinct.

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