Coconut Red Curry Shrimp

23 Jul

Like most people who work downtown, DH has a favorite restaurant that’s his go-to place when clients or other VIPs are in town. So it wasn’t really shocking to me when he came home one night raving about a dish he’d had there and asking if I thought I could copy it at home.

What did surprise me was that it’s a coconut milk-based recipe. I didn’t know DH was a coconut milk kind of guy (We’ve only been together 17 years; how would I know that?). I’d never bought coconut milk, much less cooked with it or even entertained the thought.

I’ve been pondering this recipe for about two weeks, piecing together bits and pieces of recipes I found on the web, and then adding ingredients that the restaurant’s menu said were in the dish they serve. Last night, I finally got up the nerve to toss everything in a pan and see what came of it.

Nailed. It.

First time out, which was an awesome surprise–that never happens. DH said it was perfect, no revisions needed. We both loved it. It’s sweet with a background of curry (which isn’t hot, exactly, but is spicy), and was filling without being heavy. And the best part is that this literally came together in 10 minutes. The pan barely really warmed up before dinner was served.

As always, a few notes…

I served this over basmati rice. You can certainly use regular white or brown rice, but basmati has this delicious subtle perfume to it, and it’s worth the extra few pennies. The secret to good basmati rice is to rinse the grains really thoroughly before you add them to the pot of water on the stove. It’s really starchy and if you don’t rinse it (I put mine in a mesh sieve and run it under the tap for a few minutes, stirring every couple of seconds and giving it a good shake before I put it in the pot), you’ll end up with a sticky, clumpy pot of porridge instead of light and fluffy rice.

Some of the ingredients here sound exotic. I purposefully went to our smallest, most ill-stocked grocery store to shop for it, and I found everything there without any problem at all. The exception was the shrimp, which they had but I buy frozen at Trader Joe’s for about $8 per pound.

This re-heats beautifully. During the summer, I cook dinner in the morning and re-heat it at dinnertime to keep the house cooler. We nuked this at 50 percent power for about two minutes per plate, and it was wonderful–the shrimp stayed tender and the sauce didn’t yellow, which sometimes happens with milk-based dishes and the microwave. So that’s an option for you.

Here’s what we had for dinner last night. It was so good that I completely forgot to take a picture but trust me: it’s as nice on the eyes as on the taste buds. You could definitely serve this to company even though it couldn’t be quicker or easier.

Coconut Red Curry Shrimp

1 14-oz can unsweetened coconut milk (try your Thai or Chinese food section)

2 tsp Thai red curry paste (ditto–it’s not with the spices)

2 tbsp light brown sugar

2 tsp lime juice (about half a lime’s worth of juice)

3 or 4 leaves of bok choy, chopped (near the lettuce at the store)

1/2 cup of roasted red peppers (jarred), chopped

2 tbsp mango chutney (either the Thai/Chinese/Indian aisle or near the jellies)

1 lb shrimp (I used cooked, peeled, frozen shrimp, but raw are fine too)

A handful of basil leaves, sliced into ribbons

1 1/2 cups uncooked Basmati rice, well rinsed

Cook the rice in 2 3/4 cups of water (trust me–we’ll talk about rice another day) until light and fluffy.

In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, stir together the coconut milk, curry paste, brown sugar, mango chutney and lime juice until you start to see steam. Add bok choy and red peppers and let everything come to a simmer. Add the shrimp and either heat through (if you’re using cooked) or cook until they’re pink (but no farther–overcooked shrimp are yukky!). Stir in the basil and remove from heat. Serve over rice.

Could that be any easier??

Hope you all try this. It sounds really exotic, I know, with ingredients some of us don’t normally cook with, but boy, it’s good. This is absolutely becoming part of our regular dinner repetoire.

3 Responses to “Coconut Red Curry Shrimp”

  1. Kristen Sayan July 23, 2010 at 1:07 pm #

    Sounds delish! Does it have a very coconut taste?

    I am interested to hear your rice cooking techniques. I recently killed my rice cooker, and have been cooking it on the stove. I have yet to get it right. 🙂 It is either crunchy or a gloppy mess.

  2. Kim July 23, 2010 at 1:13 pm #

    Kristen, I taste the coconut but I’m not 100 percent sure you’d identify it if you hadn’t seen the recipe/name. The coconut and curry and chutney all meld together into something just delicious on their own.

    I’ll post about rice over the weekend! 🙂

  3. Meredith Mcgee Kelly July 23, 2010 at 5:26 pm #

    i WILL try. Can’t wait. Never thought to prepare dinner in the a.m. Easy to do in the summer since the kids sleep in. I’m going to try that as well. Thanks for sharing!!

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