30 January, 2008

Thai prawns to blow your socks off











Well, I really should be getting Avery to bed (she's wrapped up, post-bath, in her blue jammies, blue dressing gown, new blue slippers from the enormous sale at the Little White Company), but I invented a shrimp dish tonight that made us curl up our toes and sigh. So I'll share:

Thai Prawns with Coconut Milk
(serves 4)


2 tbsps sunflower or other mild oil
5 cloves garlic
1 small hot red chili
1 large (1-2 inch?) knob ginger, peeled
2 tsps turmeric
1 tsp cumin
juices of 1/2 lemon, 1/2 lime
large handful coriander leaves
large handful parsley leaves
1 red onion, quartered
sea salt
fresh ground black pepper

1 kg king tiger prawns, heads removed

1 soup-size can coconut milk
red pepper flakes to taste

basmati rice for four (put to steam)
tenderstem broccolini to saute in olive oil

4 kaffir lime leaves
12 basil leaves, chiffonade

Probably your prawns will arrive to you frozen. Mine did. If so, place them in a bowl and let them thaw. Save the thawing liquid. If they come with heads, remove them and rinse.

So. Put all the ingredients up to and including the black pepper in a Cuisinart and whizz till a nice paste. You will have to take the lid off and scrape down the sides several times. Next, heat the oil in a heavy skillet or wok and throw all the paste in. Stir round till sizzling, then throw in the prawns. Stir and toss and turn until the prawns are pink all over instead of their original grey, then smack each prawn against the side of the wok and remove to the eventual serving bowl.

Now pour into the wok the prawn thawing liquid, and the coconut milk. Stir over medium heat until bubbling and taste. Add the lime leaves and as many pepper flakes as you need. Leave off the heat while you steam some basmati rice and saute some tenderstem broccolini.

When the rice and broccolini are ready, remove the lime leaves from the sauce and add the prawns. Chiffonade the basil and add to the sauce. Heat over high heat until bubbling, then pour over the rice.

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Here's the $64,000 question. To shell the shrimps before serving or NOT. You could shell them after sauteeing in the paste, before adding to the sauce. If you don't, you'll be left with a most messy but DIVINE dish, and needing a body plate for every two people for the shells and legs. But I worry that shelling them will lose some of the flavour in the sauce. Up to you.

Must get Avery to bed. This dinner we had in the glow of the enormous bouquet of yellow tulips that my sister, brother in law and little niece sent to Avery to congratulate her on finishing her exams. Such a gesture makes any dinner taste better! Anyway, I wanted you to have this recipe in time for your dinner. Nighty-night.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Did you miss out the basil from the method? Sounds like a great dish. I suppose to get some extra flavor for peeled prawns you could heat the shells in the thaw liquid, strain and add as per your method.

Kristen In London said...

Sorry! I just added the instruction to chop the basil at the VERY end and throw it in. Be careful not to cook it too long. I think in future I'll peel the prawns after the saute stage, before returning them to the sauce. Thanks for your comment!