There are just some dishes that are almost perfect, and it doesn't matter if it doesn't come out exactly the same every time you make it. Tonight's supper was one of these - Thai Curry. The first time I made it, 8 or 9 years ago, I slavishly followed a recipe. But it's become an internalized recipe -- like meat loaf, or pot roast, or arroz con pollo--- so I just go with what's in my pantry. Of course, there are some ingredients I have to have: coconut milk, basil, curry paste, etc. But I can use whatever veggies I have on hand, and I can use shrimp or chicken. Tonight's dish was a basic Thai Curry with Shrimp.
1 tbs canola oil
1 tbs red curry paste (can use green curry paste)
1 onion, sliced vertically
2 small cloves garlic crushed
1 tbs fish sauce
1 tbs grated fresh ginger (can substitute dried, or even ginger juice)
1 red bell pepper sliced thinly
1 small summer squash sliced
2 cans unsweetened low fat coconut milk
1 thinly sliced Thai chili
5-6 thinly sliced kaffir lime leaves (I buy them on line -- they keep forever in the freezer)
fresh (frozen) basil, roughly chopped - about 1/4 cup
2-3 tbs lime juice (if I don't have fresh lime, I used the juice in the plastic lime)
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup frozen cut green beans
1/2 lb thawed frozen shrimp (I buy 2 lb bags of shrimp that's already peeled and cooked)
Fresh cilantro - 1/4-1/2 cup chopped
Heat oil in a large skillet. Add sliced onion and curry paste. Cook for about 3 minutes, until onions start to soften. Add garlic, fish sauce, and ginger. Cook for about a minute. Add fresh veggies, coconut milk, chili, lime leaves, basil, and lime juice. Cook for about 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings. You may need to add more lime juice or chili paste. Cook until veggies have softened a bit, and then add peas, beans, and shrimp. When it's heated, add cilantro, reserving some for the top of individual servings.
Serve over rice (I like sticky rice, but you can use any kind you like!).
If anyone had told me when I was first starting out as the meal provider for my family, that Thai curry would become a staple, I would have thought they were nuts. I hadn't even had Thai food. Now Thai cuisine is one of my favorites. In fact, if I had to choose one cuisine to eat, it would be southeast Asian. It certainly helps that the ingredients necessary can mostly be found in my rural grocery store nowadays. Though I'd really like access to fresh lemongrass. I sometimes put lemongrass paste in my curry, but I didn't have any tonight!