I am totally a creature of habit when it comes to international dining. I know what I like, I like it because it’s delicious, and I’m hesitant to try something new because it might be good, but what if it’s not AS good as my standard choice? This is my predicament when it comes to Thai food. I have yet to have a dish at a Thai restaurant that I don’t like, but it’s so hard to order something new when I’m always craving the dish I ordered last.
I chose this dish on a whim a few months ago and I’m obsessed. Seriously. I’ve made it at least a dozen times in the last three months and I’m pretty sure Alex is on the verge of asking me to give this recipe up for a little while. We tried a green curry variety before deciding that it’s far too hot. Red curry is already on the verge of being too spicy but it’s delicious with the creaminess of the coconut milk. It’s the perfect meal poured on top of a generous scoop of rice or some rice noodles.
You’re going to have to plan ahead for this recipe. I’d never owned fish sauce or curry paste before making this. I use light coconut milk because it’s drastically lower in fat than it’s full fat counterpart, but if you’re not particular then using it will add a richer depth to the spicy broth. I chose a graffiti eggplant this time but any small-format eggplant will do. As for the main ingredient, you can easily make this vegetarian if you’d like by using firm tofu or more veggies. Allergic to shellfish? Substitute some chicken. This really is one of my favorite dishes to make and I think it’ll be one of yours, too!
red thai curry
1 can coconut milk
1/4 cup red curry paste
1 cup chicken broth
2 kaffir lime leaves (optional)
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 teaspoon fish sauce, plus more if needed
3 stalks lemon grass, trimmed, bruised and cut into 4″ pieces
3/4 cup Chinese long beans, cut into bite-sized pieces
3/4 cup Japanese of Chinese eggplant, sliced into bite-sized pieces
1/4 inch fresh ginger, grated
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
3/4 cup mushrooms (button, shiitake), thinly sliced
3/4 cup bamboo shoots, sliced in half lengthwise
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
3/4 cup loosely packed fresh basil
Lime wedges, for garnish
Shake the coconut milk to ensure that it hasn’t separated. Pour 1/2 cup of the coconut milk into a large sauce pan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Stirring occasionally, cook for 3-5 minutes until the milk reduces by half. Add the curry paste and cook for 1 minutes. Add the broth, lime leaves, sugar, fish sauce, and the remaining coconut milk. Bring to a simmer. Add the lemon grass, Chinese long beans, eggplant and ginger, and , continue to simmer for 2 minutes, adjusting the head as necessary. Add the shrimp and mushrooms and simmer for another 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the bamboo shoots and cook for 1 more minute. Remove the curry from the heat. Remove the lemon grass if you used it and stir in the cilantro and basil. Add more sugar and fish sauce to taste if desired. Serve hot over rice or noodles. Garnish with additional cilantro and the lime wedges