Thursday, April 9, 2009

Dinner Snapshot - Prawns in Red Curry

This is a very quick, simple meal if you have frozen curry paste on hand. Cooking a batch of curry paste takes time but is very rewarding. Just freeze the leftovers in ice cube trays...One cube of curry is equal to two tablespoons. Be sure to wear gloves when working with the chilis. Failure to do so can lead to skin burns. You can either shell and devein the prawns yourself (as we did) or you can buy a bag of prepped or fully cooked prawns at the grocer. If you prep the prawns yourself, be sure to save the shells and heads to make a stock for tom yum kung!

Red Curry Paste Ingredients and Directions:
3 tbs coriander seeds
2 tsp cumin seeds
12 Thai red peppers (cut down on the amount of peppers depending on how spicy you like your curry)
5 large shallots, chopped
5 garlic cloves, chopped
2 stalks lemongrass, cut in half then roughly chopped (remove the rough outer leaves, chop the small root bottom off, and discard the upper green portions)
1/2 inch piece of galangal, finely chopped (if using dry galangal, be sure to soak in hot water for several hours prior to chopping)
6 kaffir lime leaves, torn
2 tsp paprika
2 tbs tamarind water (either dilute tamarind paste in water or prepare the water yourself by soaking the fruit in water and then squeezing the pulp about)
3 tbs canola oil
1 tsp kosher salt

1. In a small skillet over medium heat, toast the cumin and coriander seeds until fragrant and light brown. Do not let them burn. Remove from heat and cool.
2. In the bowl of a food processor, grind the seeds until broken up. Add the rest of the ingredients, along with 5 tbs water, and process until smooth. If you can see the seeds, you need to process longer!
3. Heat a saucepan over a medium flame. When warmed, add the paste. Cook for five minutes, stirring frequently.
4. Add 1 cup water, reduce heat, cover the pan and simmer for 45-50 minutes. Stir occasionally, scraping the paste off of the bottom as you stir.
5. The paste is complete. Freeze any that you are not using immediately in ice cube trays.

Prawn Curry Ingredients and Directions:
1 lb prawns, shelled and deveined
3 cubes red curry
1 cup coconut milk
Jasmine rice, prepared according to rice cooker instructions

1. Heat a wok or large skillet over a medium high flame. Add the cubes of curry paste. Stir until the paste is melted.
2. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add the coconut milk and simmer for five minutes, stirring frequently. More coconut milk can be added if you find the curry too spicy.
3. Add the prawns and cook until pink and curled.
4. Serve over a bed of rice.

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