Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Shrimp Curry and a Love Affair

Summer is here. I have a lovely black phoebe which visits the bush outside the window of my home office. I love this little bird. He's bold as brass, and doesn't seem to give a rip if I'm outside working in my garden. He's on a mission, and nothing as crass as a human would stop him. He reminds me how simple life can be - aim for the berries. Eat. Perform feather maintenance. Is there a problem?
Summer is here and I've gotten a "new"/used camera body (yeah!! A Canon 40D!), and a "new" lens - a fast 17-55. Yeah, I know - still no macro lens. It will have to wait for now. But the pull towards creativity has gotten stronger, and my ancient Rebel was beginning to feel about the same as using dial-up.

Summer is here, and I'm using my oven less, my stovetop and grill more. Cherries are in the markets, and so are kaffir lime leaves - my latest culinary love. I'm putting them in dishes which could use a note of citrus, and these days I seem to want that note more and more - in my food and soon in a lovely drink recipe. (Stay tuned). My favorite Asian grocery store sells them in those styrofoam trays covered with plastic. I bring them home and freeze them.

Of course, I don't travel to the supermarket with only one item on the list. And I never come home with only the items on my list. I mean, what fun would that be, without room for serendipity? No. I cruise the aisles and wait for inspiration. This past week it came in the form of shrimp. Decent sized shrimp, raw, peeled and deveined and at an insanely reasonable price. How does $4.99/lb. sound? That's what I thought. Me too. Which is why I went for the bag of baby bok choy and some scallions. I had shitakes at home.

I found a couple of recipes on Epicurious for Thai curries that used seafood and kaffir lime leaves. I read them and then went into the kitchen and got to work. What follows is an adjusted recipe, as best as I can remember my own adjustments. I've never felt compelled to follow a recipe, and those of you who follow my blog certainly don't seem to have those constraints either.

Curry Sauce
  • 1 13.5- to 14.5-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
  • 12 whole green cardamom pods, crushed
  • 3 fresh kaffir lime leaves (3 double leaves)
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 5 green onions, finely chopped, dark green parts separated from white and pale green parts
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro, divided
  • 2 tablespoons (packed) brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons green Thai curry paste - or more to taste
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce (nam pla or nuoc nam)
  • 10 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
4 small bok choy, sliced lengthwise and then sliced across.

For curry sauce:
Combine all ingredients except shrimp in heavy medium saucepan. Bring to boil over medium-high heat, whisking to blend. Reduce heat to medium and simmer 1 minute. Remove from heat. Cover and let sauce stand at room temperature 10 minutes for flavors to blend. Strain. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Rewarm before serving.)

In a separate pan, saute the bok choy over high heat with a little oil for 2 minutes or so. Add to curry sauce and let it sit in the sauce while the flavors are blending.

Heat before serving and drop shrimp in, allowing them to cook until pink - 3-5 minutes, depending upon size.

Serve over steamed rice. I added cilantro to the rice after it had steamed but was still hot.


MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

You can find kaffir lime leaves!!! I thought I'd found curry leaves but then no.
Your black phoebe sounds lovely. Our cardinal seems to be gaining a bit of boldness in our yard and comes to the feeder while we're sitting outside on the porch, that's a big change.

The curry sauce sounds lovely.

Simply...Gluten-free said...

Oh, this sounds so good. Really need to stop reading blogs before I go to bed! Recipes like this just make me hungry :)

Unknown said...

Tanna - Yes, I can. And if they still have them in the store when I get back from Santa Cruz this weekend, I'd be happy to send you some if you'll email me your address.

Carol - Reading blogs before you go to bed? Girl, you need a good book! ;-)

Penny said...

A small wren has built a nest in one of my potted geraniums so I have had to give it up to nature. Do not want to disturb the babies. I love curry dishes and if I could find the kiffir lime leaves I would make this very recipe. Will check out my Fresh Market. Thanks.

anya said...

Kaffir lime leaves, I have never tasted them. God, I have to unlearn this terrible habit of mine of not trying kaffir lime leaves. Point.

Congrats on your new camera! Creativity non-stop!! :)

Ruth Daniels said...

Lovely post and I'm jealous of your gardening.

Rachael Narins said...

Congrats (again) on the new camera. And may I say...I was extra charmed that you referenced a bird in this post. Oh you Narins kids...its all birds all the time with you lot. :-)

MOST xoxo

Unknown said...

Ruth - Thanks so much!

Rachael - Well, the bird IS adorable!

Katie said...

Serendipity, indeed! I just found shrimp today for 1 euro per 100 gr...or, about 5 dollars a pound!

Katie said...

Forgot - I've heard of, but never seen or tasted, kaffir lime leaves... Lucky you!

Toni said...

Kate - Check out the Asian markets, if there are any near where you are. That's where you'd get kaffir lime leaves - an essential ingredient in Thai curries. (No, they're not spicy!)