Monday, February 16, 2009

green curry shrimp on coconut basmati rice

I'm going to let you in a secret, and I want you to keep it between just the two of us. I sometimes build up a fear of cooking the unknown. Especially if I'm cooking a new dish for friends or family. See, I want criticism when making new dishes and some people are just too darn nice to say anything even if they are choking it down. Thai food has created one of those fears, which is a shame because I enjoy it oh so very much. So here in all it's glory, my first crack at the can.

Lately I've come across some great examples (see Kevin and his delicious looking homemade curry paste or KimHo's recent lunch), which peaked my desire again. Top this all with a request last week to make a Thai style curry with shrimp and it was finally time to commit. After some 'research' it seemed like a pretty straight forward procedure. Choose a base, add curry paste, then some coconut milk/broth, throw in some vegetables and protein. Sounds too easy....

Safely stepping into the cuisine and not making my own paste from scratch, I had one decision to make during the last grocery trip - red or green curry paste. Green won the fight (but let me tell you, red can throw a mean punch or two) and accompanied me home on his victory tour.

So how did it turn out. Well, pretty damn good for a first attempt. I kept the heat to a minimum as requested so this is something I would change if making it just for myself or other heat minded dinners. But other than that, it came together relatively quick and was eaten up in record time - a true sign of success I think. Good thing, because I picked up a tub of the curry and it would have surely been food abuse if I chucked that away.


Anonymous said...

mmm looks good!

Chris said...

It was, and I swear my camera skills do not give the dish its due diligence.

Sarah said...

I'll give you some feedback! INVITE ME FOR SUPPER!!

KimHo said...

Although I will eat curry without any problems, preparing it... Well, it has challenges of it's own! My main problem has been the amount of curry powder/paste. It has always ended up being too strong or too bland (to the point you don't really taste the curry). For example, my mom prepares a chicken curry rice and she will throw in over half a bottle of Indian curry. It tastes great; however, when I tried the same, it came out extremely bitter. I guess you inspired me to give it a try again! Of course, aside from the Japanese style curry, which one should I am at? Hehehehehe.

Chris said...

Kim..I think the problem is trying to compare with Mom's cooking. There seems to be a rare 4th dimension that mom's can cook in at times!

I have had great success with Indian curry, albeit after I purchased a bunch of spices so as not to stick with the "curry bottle". This made my thai curry attempt that much easier (no spice mixing) and I think you should just have another go at it. I mean it's not like you can't go out and get yourself some of those steamed pork buns if the curry fails! :)

Grace Wong said...

Sorry this is so late ... I've been reading through *all* the local food blogs, and man, it sure takes a while to catch up ... :)

You should give Malaysian curry a try ... it's actually very simple. My mom used to make it *very* spicy, but I tend to crank back the heat in deference to my husband, who can't take it too hot ... :)

Chris said...

Hey Grace. Thanks for stopping by. Does the Malaysian curry come in a paste form like Thai curries or something I would mix together like and Indian masala curry?

Grace Wong said...

It comes as a powder ... actually, here's the recipe - it's my mom's old recipe, so I think it's safe to print, without having to worry about copyright ...

3 cans coconut milk (*not* the lite stuff)
8 cloves garlic
a 1" piece of ginger
one whole chicken, about 3-4 lbs
1 tbsp ground chili peppers (the dry stuff)
2 tbsp Malaysian curry powder
2 tbsp margarine or butter
1 bay leaf
8 shallots, sliced thinly
1 lime
1 tbsp salt

Grace Wong said...

Cut up the chicken into 12-15 pieces.

Pound the garlic and ginger together (I use my mom's old stone mortar and pestle). Add the ground chili peppers, curry powder and salt and continue to pound to create a paste (obviously, you can increase the heat by adding more of each). Add to the chicken pieces (you may have to add a bit of water to make it a bit smoother). Coat the chicken pieces well (I find using my hands to do this the simplest).

Add the butter or margarine to a large pot, then add the sliced shallots and bay leaf and fry until the shallots are well browned. Add the seasoned chicken pieces and brown on all sides. Add two cans of coconut milk and stir well. Cover and simmer for about a half-hour until chicken is tender.

When the chicken is tender and sauce is fairly thick, add the third can of coconut milk and a squeeze of lime juice. Season to taste and serve up on a nice bed of coconut rice.

In a word - yum!! :)

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