Last night was Thai night at our house.
Two dishes were on the menu: Thai green curry with prawns and gai pad king – flash done tofu, ginger, and veggies. Mr WI64 and I met both these 25 years ago when we happened on a little hole-in-the-wall Thai restaurant in downtown Victoria.
We loved everything about that place – the food, the staff, the atmosphere – and for a decade or more it was our Friday after-work-go-to place. The restaurant became part of our story and when the owner, a mechanic in his former life, died and his devoted staff moved on, we did too.
In those years we established three firm favourites: green curry with prawns, ginger tofu veggies and a ground chicken dish with lime and cilantro called larp gai. The latter was terrifically yummy but I got to thinking about the plight of those poor caged chickens bound for my plate. Plus, for as long as I’ve known him, Mr WI64 has had chicken PTSD brought on decades ago when his pet bird Blackie met a prolonged and tricky death on her way to the dinner table.
I mentioned my dinner plans to my friend Maureen, an excellent and organized cook, earlier in the day. There’s always bedlam in my kitchen when two fast cooking dishes have to come together at once, I told her.
Maureen said she measures and lays out everything in advance and in the order called for in the recipe. So I did that and then Virtue and Moir were skating for gold and suddenly it was 9 pm and, eyes brimming with patriotic pride, I attacked dinner. Bedlam ensued.
One dish – the curry – was divine. Aromatic and exotic. The other suffered from an over-generous application of fish sauce.
So herewith, dear friends:
8 Minute Thai Green Curry with Prawns (that tastes a lot like at your favourite restaurant).
Before you tackle this, visit a store with a reliable stock of Asian products and lay in the curry paste, fish sauce, kaffir lime and Thai basil.
- 1 can coconut milk (not the light version. And not the cheapest.)
- 3 Tbsp green curry paste
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1 tsp sugar (my original recipe calls for palm sugar. If you can find it…)
- 1.5 Tbsp fish sauce
- 3-4 kaffir lime leaves, roughly torn
- prawns – a dozen or so
- snow peas and sliced bell pepper or a can of bamboo shoots
- 1 cup Thai basil
- jasmine rice (instant will work here if you don’t want to commit)
In a pot, on medium-high heat reduce half the can of coconut milk until it’s thick and you start to see oil.
Add curry paste, sauté for two minutes.
Add the kaffir lime leaves, chicken stock, the rest of the coconut milk, the fish sauce and the sugar. Gentle boil for two minutes.
Add the the prawns and the veggies or bamboo shoots. Simmer for two-three minutes. While this is happening, zap the rice in the microwave.
Toss in the Thai basil and serve it up on the rice.
This dish is fragrant, heated, and with a delicious licorice-y accent from the Thai basil. If you like more sizzle, add more curry paste. You can do less, too, but frankly, that isn’t as much fun.
There was more to this meal. But, as I mentioned, bedlam ensued.
I’ll let you know when I get it right.