My love for Thai food is, as Barney would call it, Legendary! My first brush with Thai happened long back on one of my trips to Delhi (long before I started working and living there). If I remember correctly Didi and Antar da were instrumental in opening my palate to Thai food. And ever since then, there was no looking back. Later on in life I found an indispensible food partner in one of my best friends T and together we’ve scouted every possible Thai restaurant in Delhi.
I have always wanted to make Thai curry at home but in the absence of quintessential Thai ingredients like kaffir lime, galangal etc, I doubted how authentic the curry paste I make here would be. It seems Antar da could read my mind and on one of his recent trips to Bangkok he got big fat pouches of Red and Yellow Thai curry pastes for me. I had made Thai Red Curry with Chicken and a Baby Corn Yellow Curry in the past but never bothered to take pictures for the blog. I had only one last pouch left and so when my childhood friend K told me that she swears by prawns and can singlehandedly devour any goddamn prawn dish, I thought of bringing my last pouch to good use.
I’ve hardly gone out to dine at Thai restaurants after being back in Calcutta (not that there are many out here), but that Prawn Thai Red Curry completely took me back to those lazy afternoons in wintry Delhi when T and I would lap up mounds of rice with this warm and humble Thai delicacy.
Prawns, washed and deveined: 1 kg (I used big ones)
Red curry paste: 3 tbsp (I used store bought)
Lemongrass, cut into 2 inch pieces: 2 stalks
Red chillies, chopped: 2
Green chillies, chopped: 2
Kaffir lime leaves: 4-5
Kaffir lime/ Gondhoraj lebu, zest and juice: 2
Capsicum, sliced: 1 (You can use yellow or red bell peppers as well)
Button Mushrooms, washed and sliced longitudinally: 200 gm
Baby Corn, sliced longitudinally: 200 gm
Fish sauce: 1.5 tbsp (or more if required)
Coconut milk: 400 ml
Oil: 2 tbsp
Brown sugar: 1 tsp (optional)
1. In a non-stick wok, heat 1 tbsp oil and lightly sauté the mushrooms and baby corn with just a hint of salt. Set aside.
2. In the same pan heat the remaining oil and add the red curry paste and sugar (if using). Keep stirring on medium high heat till it releases aroma. If it gets too dry and sticks to the bottom of the pan, sprinkle a little water.
3. Add the lemongrass and continue to stir till oil separates. Add the sauted mushrooms, baby corn and capsicum and keep stirring. Also ensure that all the vegetables are coated with the curry paste.
4. Add the lime juice, zest and leaves and a little water and continue to stir for another 2-3 minutes.
5. Add the coconut milk, bring to a boil and then simmer covered on low medium heat for 5-6 minutes.
6. Finally add the prawns, again bring to a boil and then lower the heat and cook covered for 4-5 minutes. Remove cover and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Check for doneness. Remember the prawns should not be overcooked and rubbery. Check seasoning.
7. Serve with plain white rice accentuated by a couple of kaffir lime leaves and a little zest.