Curry in a hurry. Heck, I don't know how to make Thai curry any other way. The oh so creamy, aromatic, and devilishly spicy meal is insanely easy and the result is always scrumptious. And truth be told, it's one of my favorite go-to comfort cuisines. Sure, I was raised on traditional comfort food like my mom's pot roast, my grandma's classic Egg and cheddar macaroni and cheese, and of course, our family's stupid delicious Spanish bean soup and Cuban sandwich combo. But there's just something about a steaming bowl of sweet and spicy curry that relieves some tension in my crooked back.
I don't bother making my own curry paste. Why go through the labor of grinding and mixing multiple spices when I can just buy a jar of perfectly tasty and perfectly authentic curry paste from the local Asian food store?
Quick side note: I just looked up recipes for homemade curry paste. It's really not very difficult. So I'll be tackling that soon. But now back to my crazy quick recipe where that stuff is already made for you....
I think I may be on a roll with the "easy, weeknight special" kind of recipe lately. But you have my word...more complex creations coming soon. And while this recipe is fool-proof simple, it doesn't taste like it. With endless ingredients in that tiny jar of curry paste, this dish boasts flavors that aren't so simple at all. Add to it a mixture of crisp veggies, tender meat, and some aromatic herbs, and you've got a speedy weeknight meal fit for even the snootiest of ethnic food-loving palates. Oh, and I must admit, I kind of love leaving my house soon after I've made a pot of curry. Walking back inside and getting a whiff of curry is an admittedly strange treat for yours truly.
Readers Beware: my curry recipe includes some "unconventional" ingredients. I like to use both soy sauce and fish sauce for a variety of salty flavoring. I also throw in some Sriracha and a wee bit of brown sugar to add some sweet spice to the whole mixture. And when it's all plated, I throw crushed cashews on top of for some crunch and you better believe I go heavy with Sriracha or Sambal sauce. Because this girl can never have enough spice in her life. Like I always say, it's not spicy unless my nose is running.
Green Shrimp Curry in a Hurry
1 pound wild caught shrimp, peeled and de-veined (or skinless, boneless chicken, if you prefer)
2 cups zucchini, chopped (in half-moon shapes)
2/3 cup red onion, chopped
1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup bamboo shoots
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup Thai basil, chopped (if you can find it)
2 tablespoons green curry paste (best from Asian market... But if you use commercial brand from grocery store, add another tablespoon)
3/4 can coconut milk (you can use the rest at the very end if you want a creamier, milder curry)
2 tablespoons coconut oil (or whatever cooking oil you prefer)
1 tablespoon fish sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons Sriracha (optional)
1 teaspoon brown sugar (optional)
2 cloves garlic, minced
To Garnish: Chopped cashews, additional chopped cilantro/Thai basil, and as much Sriracha and/or Sambal (chili paste) as you can handle :)
1) In a large-bottomed pot or wok, bring 2 tablespoons coconut oil to medium-high heat. Add zucchini, onions, and red bell pepper. Stir-fry for 2-3 minutes. Then, add the shrimp and stir-fry for 1 minute. Turn heat down to medium and add the bamboo shoots, minced garlic, brown sugar, Sriracha, soy sauce, fish sauce, and curry paste. Stir and combine well until all of the veggies and shrimp are coated in curry paste.
2) Simmer in the curry paste on medium-low for 2 minutes. Then, slowly stir in the coconut milk. Bring to a simmer while continuously stirring (so it doesn't separate). Taste-test. Add more fish sauce (just a teaspoon at a time) if you want more salt and Sriracha (just a teaspoon at a time) if you want more spice. Simmer and stir for another 5 minutes. Now, stir in cilantro and Thai basil.
***If you choose to use chicken instead of shrimp please note that the cooking time increases. You'll want to stir-fry the chicken before adding the veggies and you'll simmer it 5 minutes longer at the end.
3) Plate with Jasmine rice. Top with cashews, extra Sriracha, Sambal, cilantro, and/or Thai basil. Enjoy!