NZ Roadtrip: 6. Homeward bound and Thai red curry

Back in the car, each of us were engrossed in our thoughts. We had stood on a glacier and admired its stark beauty yet seen its destructive power resulting in the creation of the Sounds. Both were beautiful facets of Nature, both were life changing. Climate change is going to be even more catastrophic.

At Hokitika
The clock tower

It would take us 5 hours to drive to Christchurch from the FJ village. A couple of hours later, we pulled up into Hokitika, once a booming gold mining centre from where gold was carried out by ships. Today, it is known for its art galleries and jewellery made of pounamu, a kind of jade, that is crafted in studios there. It's a pretty little town beside the sea with wide, neat streets and a bell-tower in the middle of the crossroads. After coffee and sandwiches at Stumpers, we were on our way again.

On the Great Alpine Highway

The Great Alpine Highway connects Hokitika with Christchurch and we travelled on that route, watching alpine forests give way to temperate vegetation. The railway line and wide riverbeds lay on one side where at times, 3 streams flowed across the vast riverbed and at times they lay intertwined. Dense forests and gorges lay on the other. At places, steel meshes had been placed along the mountain slopes to prevent rockfalls which are quite common. Roads are checked to ensure they are motorable. The highest point is Arthur's Pass but just before that is the Otira Viaduct, a cantilevered bridge built over a gully. Scary!!

As we came down towards the Canterbury plains, we left the mountains behind and the terrain became flat and the roads wider. By late afternoon, we reached Christchurch. We stopped to top up the tank and give the car a wash. We had driven about 2800 kilometers over 11 days.

At the Airbnb

A few minutes later, we reached the house of our Airbnb host, Matt. It was a super neat, super tidy home that was full of sunshine, as promised. Once again, we had the whole house to ourselves.

Rendezvous on Barrington; pineapple fried rice; BBQ pork ribs; sprouts and stir-fry veg

We headed for a Thai dinner to Rendezvous on Barrington. Fortunately we had called ahead and the staff was kind enough to wait for us. Stand out dishes were the pineapple fried rice and BBQ pork ribs. Service was extremely good.

We went different ways the next morning. The family was going to North Island where my other nephew was waiting for them to continue their roadtrip while I had a long flight back to Singapore.

Kia ora South Island, stay beautiful always.

Thai red chicken curry

A bit of spice to end this series and it's a quick recipe for a Thai red chicken curry using ready made curry paste as individual ingredients are difficult to source in Chennai. Usually, bamboo shoots are added in the red curry but I'm using zucchini instead.

Thai red chicken curry 
500 gm boneless chicken strips
1 pack Thai red curry paste
300 gm thick coconut milk
1 medium zucchini, sliced
1 tablespoon palm sugar
1 tablespoon fish sauce
20 Thai basil leaves

Place 3 tablespoons of the coconut milk in a pan and heat till the oil separates.
SautÄ— the curry paste in the oil for about 5 minutes, add the chicken strips, cover and cook.
When half done, add the zucchini slices and cook.
Add half the coconut milk and a quarter cup water to the pan along with half the basil leaves.
Cook till the chicken is done, add in palm sugar and fish sauce, bring to a boil.
Lower the heat and add the remaining coconut milk and leaves.
Remove from heat just before it comes to a boil.
Adjust seasoning, serve with jasmine rice.


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