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.”
- 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)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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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