Jan 30, 2010

Thai Curry Coconut Shrimp

When it comes to dinner, it doesn't take a whole lot to impress me. I don't need a three-page wine list or an origami napkin. Just give me a heaping plate of spicy Thai noodles and a comfy booth and I'm one happy camper. 

But I haven't always been so passionate about bean sprouts and curry. I think my husband says it best in his "The Onion"-esque faux news headline: "American survey concludes best Chinese food is Thai." That was me alright. I thought the two were interchangeable, cuisine wise, which left me frustrated as I could never find any sweet 'n sour chicken.

I remember asking a server once if I could get the pad Thai, only with fried chicken. And also, if they had any egg rolls around, because I didn't see them on the menu. She responded with a dirty look and a "We don't serve fried here. That's Chinese. This is Thai." I was embarrassed, but most of all, sad that I'd be eating chicken in its un-fried state.

But after a few tastes of the ultra spicy food, I came to love it, and Thai food is now one of my favorites of all time, totally trumping Chinese. Nothing beats the smooth, creamy taste of peanut butter and coconut milk mingling with the heat of curry.  

In fact, one of the first things my husband and I did when we moved to Michigan was scout out a good Thai place to call home. And that we did. Now any night of the week, for around 13 bucks, we can get our fill of chicken curry noodles, Curry duck and crab cheese, and still leave with three days worth of leftovers. It's amazing. I've even started experimenting with recipes online to recreate my usual order because I can't get enough.

But alas, while the peanut butter and coconut milk bring joy to my heart, they only bring inches to my thighs and guilt to my soul. So last week I searched for a Cooking Light Thai recipe that would offer some balance. Which brings me to today's post.

One thing about making Thai, I've discovered, is the simplicity. This dish in particular is all made in one pan, aside from the rice, and the prep is minimal – just a little onion and herb chopping. And there are only nine ingredients and six directions. Love it!



I started by sautéing the onion and curry together, adding in a little Thai chili sauce I use in another recipe. (We like it hot around here.) Then I added in the sugar, shrimp, coconut milk and fish sauce. 



Pre-cooked frozen shrimp and dried basil (store was out of fresh) saved me even more time, so in a matter of minutes my creation was ready to be tossed with fresh herbs and poured into our bowls over jasmine rice.  



As a light dish, it was great. As a Thai dish, it seemed to be missing something. I think it might have been the fat content. You can thank the light coconut milk for that, which is much thinner. So if you're determined to get that thick, creamy full-fat sauce, this won't quite produce it. But if you want Thai taste at a fraction of the fat and calories, this here is a winner.

It was pretty tasty. I think next time I may try to thicken the sauce a bit, add a little more curry and make sure I find fresh basil. And maybe add some full fat coconut milk, peanut butter, brown sugar and....just kidding. I'll try to keep it light. Unless of course I find a good recipe for egg rolls.


Thai Coconut Curry Shrimp
Cooking Light, September 2008

Yield: 2 servings (serving size: 1 cup)

Cookbook Note: Red curry paste conveys plenty of spicy heat, so a little goes a long way. Feel free to add a bit more to increase the heat, or omit the paste to tame the dish. The addition of slightly sweet coconut milk smooths out the flavors. Total time: 19 minutes.

1  teaspoon  canola oil
1/2  cup  chopped onion
1/4  teaspoon  red curry paste (such as Thai Kitchen) (I added a little more)
1  teaspoon  sugar
12  ounces  large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/3  cup  light coconut milk
2  teaspoons  fish sauce
1/4  cup  chopped green onions
1  tablespoon  chopped fresh basil

1. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and curry paste to pan, and sauté 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Stir in sugar; sauté 15 seconds. Add shrimp; sauté 3 minutes or until shrimp are done, stirring frequently. Stir in coconut milk and fish sauce; cook 30 seconds or until thoroughly heated. Remove from heat; stir in green onions and basil.

Nutritional Information: Calories: 255 (26% from fat), Fat: 7.4g (sat 2.6g,mono 1.8g,poly 1.9g), Protein: 36.1g, Carbohydrate: 10.2g, Fiber: 1.1g, Cholesterol: 259mg, Iron: 4.6mg, Sodium: 740mg, Calcium: 111mg.


Susie said...

Yummo!! Love your pictures:-)

Eileen said...

...you can't cook ;) ?... I see you...you're better than you let on! I do love cooking, but I don't cook as often as I should, because I love going to restaurants more! I know...bad...that's why I'm following you now! Great blog! :) {and your photos are great!}

{I found you on SITS!}

Feeling Fit With Dana said...

That looks really good. I'd have to use veggies instead, but YUM! Thanks for sharing. I LOVE Thai food too! Stopping by from SITS!

The girl with the flour in her hair said...

Oh wow! This looks so good. I am going to have to try it. And soon. It's making my stomach growl! Yum.

Great pictures!

Tina Lane said...

Yeah!!! I could pull this one off. Thanks for posting. I am still dealing with my disappointment over the lack of Asian ingredients in my Midwestern grocery store. But if you can do it in Michigan, than I can certainly get my act together in Ohio.

Small Burst said...

Love food blogs. This is good stuff!!

Betsy said...

Can't wait to try this, too. Your website is an inspiration. I'll be back often!

April said...

Love this recipe, and with my training, it's something I can eat...YEAH!!!

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