Shrimp in Yellow Curry

Before my son and his girlfriend return to Denver after spending the Christmas Holidays with family here in Western Massachusetts, they always make time to have dinner with Susan and me a few days after Christmas. They also come to our traditional Christmas Eve family get-together but this dinner is just for the four of us. I usually make their favorite, Chicken Piccata, but this year Susan suggested we make something different.

“They love shrimp, Bruce,” Susan said. “And spicy food. Why not make this Shrimp with Yellow Curry recipe from Mark Bittman.”

And I did and we all loved it!

Mark Bittman writes:

“Many Thai dishes are not unlike what we call curries, but although they may contain curry powder, they are more often based on a combination of herbs and aromatic vegetables, rather than dried spices. A typical curry might feature a mixture of garlic, shallots, chiles, lime leaf, sugar and galangal (or ginger). This simplified version leaves out the lime leaf and sugar, but benefits from the addition of a couple spoonfuls of fish sauce at the end of cooking. It is exotic and brightly-flavored, but blessedly easy to toss together on a weeknight.”

Featured in: The Minimalist; The Essence Of Thai Cooking

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
  • 1 cup minced onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced galangal or ginger (I used grated ginger.)
  • 1 teaspoon minced hot chili, or crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste (I used 1 jalapeno, seeded and cut into thin rounds and red pepper flakes.)
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder, or to taste
  • 1 cup fresh or canned coconut milk
  • 1 ½ to 2 pounds medium-to-large shrimp, peeled
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons nam pla (fish sauce), or to taste (I used fish sauce.)
  • ¼ cup minced cilantro or mint leaves (I used cilantro.)
  • 1 package, about 2 cups, pea pods (my addition)

Preparation

  1. Place the oil in a large, deep skillet and turn the heat to medium. Add the onion, garlic, ginger, and chilies, pea pods and cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are tender and the mixture pasty. Add the curry and cook, stirring, another minute.
  2. Add the coconut milk and raise the heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is nearly dry. Add the shrimp, a few pinches of salt and a little black pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until the shrimp release their liquid (the mixture will become quite moist again) and turn pink.
  3. Add half the nam pla, stir, then taste and add the rest if necessary. Garnish with cilantro and serve with white or sticky rice. (I used brown rice.)

 

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Chocolate Chipotle Christmas Cookies

I am busy making cookies for Christmas.

These are so delicious!

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
  • 3/4 teaspoons cinnamon, ground
  • 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoons black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1/4 teaspoons dried chipotle pepper, ground (can substitute one-eighth teaspoon cayenne or smoked paprika)
  • 6 ounces unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar, granulated
  • 1 egg
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup sugar crystals, (or granulated sugar)
  • parchment paper

Directions

Step 1

Preheat oven to 325°F.

Step 2

Cut out parchment to exactly fit the baking sheet.

Step 3

In a small bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, cinnamon, salt, black pepper and chipotle pepper.

Step 4

Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar for 3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until blended. Add the dry ingredients and beat on low speed just until incorporated (don’t over-mix).

Step 5

Shape the dough into a 12-inch log and wrap in parchment or plastic wrap. Put dough in freezer for 10 minutes to firm the dough. Put sugar crystals in a 9×13-inch baking dish. Roll the dough log in the sugar, pressing sugar into the dough to coat the log evenly.

Step 6

Cut the log into half-inch slices and bake on parchment-lined baking sheets until cookies are no longer soft to the touch, about 10 minutes. Let them rest on the baking sheet for about 1 minute to firm them, then transfer to a rack with a metal spatula.

Step 7

Cool completely, and serve cookies on a platter.

 

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Curried Butternut and Coconut Soup

The recipe called for carrots but I didn’t have any. So I used butternut. Delicious!

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • ½ medium onion, roughly chopped
  • ¾ pound carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch coins (I used 1/2 butternut.)
  • 1 teaspoon peeled, grated fresh ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin, to taste
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric, to taste
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander, to taste
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock (I used my homemade chicken stock.)
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • Juice from ½ lime (I used lemon juice.)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Cilantro if you have it

Preparation

  1. Heat the butter until the foam subsides. Add the diced chopped onions, sprinkle with salt, stir to coat with butter. Add the chopped carrots/butternut along with the spices. Stir and cook until softened, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the stock; there should be enough to cover the vegetables. Bring the pot to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and continue cooking until the carrots are cooked through, about 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. If you have an immersion blender, purée the soup in the pot. If not, wait until the soup cools slightly, and purée in a food processor. Add enough coconut milk (and a little more stock or water if necessary) to bring the soup to the consistency you want. Adjust the seasoning (depending on the stock you use, you may need more or less salt), and lime/lemon juice to taste. Garnish and serve.

Based on a recipe from Mark Bittman.

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