Today I got to spend all day visiting a dear friend and her beautiful 3-month-old baby. As part of what I like to call my “productive visit” (which involved not only hanging out and catching up, but also doing chores and helping her with the little prince), I offered to cook dinner for her, her husband and a friend who came along with me. I wanted to make something different but didn’t want it to be too complicated or time-consuming, so I combined a couple of recipes from here and there to make this very simple, very tasty dish. It may not be authentic Thai, but it sure was delicious! Do not be discouraged by what seems like a long list of ingredients, as the preparation is really quite simple, and if you can’t find some of these in your supermarket, just head to the nearest Chinatown.
*After I originally posted this I was able to attend an extraordinary Thai cooking class with Chef Heidi Fink, and so I have made a few revisions to this recipe which I hope will improve it, enjoy!
1 + 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons of red curry paste (I used the Mae Ploy brand)
1 can of coconut milk (only the very thick, creamy portion, which should yield about 1 cup)
1 tablespoon of soy sauce
3 tablespoons of brown sugar
1 tablespoon of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 stalk of lemongrass
1 small piece of galangal, whole peeled (optional)
4 or 5 kaffir lime leaves
1 can of sliced bamboo shoots
1 carrot, peeled, cut in half lengthwise and then sliced finely (optional)
1 bag (1 or 1.5 lbs.) of raw frozen prawns, no heads on, deveined and with the tail tip on
Fresh cilantro, chopped
In a large pot heat the oil over medium heat, add the curry paste and cook, stirring constantly, for about 30 seconds. Add 2 tablespoons of the reserved thick coconut milk, and continue to cook stirring until the oil separates from the coconut milk, something like this:
Add the rest of the coconut milk, soy sauce, brown sugar and ginger and place over medium heat, letting it simmer gently. Prepare the lemongrass: cut off the lower end (bulb), remove the outer leaves, then proceed to ‘bruise’ the stalk, which you can do by hitting it with a rolling-pin or a pot. Add the lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime leaves and lime juice to the pot and continue to simmer. Proceed to incorporate the sliced bamboo shoots, carrot and prawns, and simmer for a few minutes more until the prawns are cooked. Remove the lemongrass, galangal and kaffir lime leaves and discard. Add some chopped cilantro and serve in a bowl over jasmine rice, finish off with a sprinkle of chopped cilantro on top.