Thai Coconut Shrimp Curry by Chef John Ash

Serves 4

Prepared Thai curry pastes are easily found at Southeast Asian markets or on-line. My favorite brand is Mae Ploy from Thailand. I also like their coconut milk which is rich and creamy without the addition of thickeners. Note that curry pastes can differ in their intensity and heat so you might start by adding a little less the first time and adding more to taste. Add whatever vegetables you like to this curry.

For the curry sauce:

2 teaspoons yellow curry paste
Vegetable oil
2/3 cup chicken or shrimp stock
1-1/3 cups well stirred coconut milk
1 teaspoon fish sauce or to taste
2 teaspoons brown sugar or to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric, optional
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice or to taste

1 pound 16 – 20 size shrimps, peeled and deveined, preferably wild Gulf shrimp
1 cup stemmed and seeded red bell pepper, cut into 1 inch pieces
1-1/2 cups zucchini cut into attractive shapes
2 cups mushrooms or your choice sliced thickly
Cilantro sprigs for garnish

First make the curry sauce by adding curry paste to a heavy saucepan with a few drops of oil. Cook, stirring until fragrant for a minute or two. Add the stock, coconut milk, fish sauce and sugar and simmer for a few minutes to thicken a little bit. Whisk in turmeric if using (it makes for a pretty sauce). Taste and adjust the salt, sweet and hot flavors to your taste.

Just before serving add lime juice. Set aside. Can be made a day or two ahead and stored covered and refrigerated. Warm before using and adding the final lime juice.

Peel and devein shrimps. Save the shells if desired to make stock if desired*.

Add a little oil to a large sauté pan and sauté the bell pepper, zucchini and mushrooms for a minute or two to slightly soften them and get rid of their raw flavor. Add shrimps and sauté for another couple of minutes until they are almost cooked thru. The very center should still be slightly translucent.

Add curry sauce and bring to a simmer. Taste for seasoning and serve with rice or rice noodles topped with cilantro sprigs.

*You can make a flavorful shrimp stock for soups or sauces by simply taking green (uncooked) shells that you’ve stored in the freezer, sautéing them with a few drops of oil until they turn a bright pink and then adding them to simmering chicken stock. Simmer for 5 minutes s or so then strain, discarding the shells.

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