Thai is one of my all time favorite cuisines. I love the spicy, sweet and fragrant combinations. I have to admit though…I usually struggle when I make Thai at home. Something usually goes wrong or just doesn’t taste right. However, this time I kept it very simple and it turned out great. I used a real Thai red curry paste which I found at an Asian specialty food market. I think having the right curry blend made all the difference. You can make this with a regular yellow curry powder that you may find at a local supermarket. However, the flavor will be slightly different because curries are a complex blend of various spices.
- 1 1/2 lbs tiger shrimp deveined and peeled
- 4 tsps butter
- 1/2 cup sweet onion finely chopped
- 1 or 2 cloves garlic crushed
- 1 red pepper sliced into long thin strips
- 1 package Thai red curry paste or 2 tablespoons dried curry spice
- 1 can coconut milk
- 1 pinch of salt
- 3/4 to 1 cup pineapple chunks cut into bite sized pieces
- 3 tablespoons pineapple juice
- 2 handfuls fresh basil leaves chopped or torn, (about 3/4 cup)
- 1 pinch red chili flakes optional
In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of butter. Sauté the onion, red pepper and garlic on medium high heat until the onions are translucent and the red pepper is beginning to get tender, but is still slightly crunchy. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add 2 more tablespoons of butter and sauté the shrimp until they turn rosy pink and are cooked through. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add the red curry paste and heat it through to allow the spice to release its flavor. (If using a dried spice, you’ll need to melt a couple tablespoons of butter first, and then mix in the spice to create a paste). Add half to ¾ can of coconut milk, a splash of pineapple juice (about 3 tablespoons) and a pinch of salt. Mix and simmer a few minutes so it begins to thicken. Add the remaining coconut milk and stir. At this point, make sure to taste it. You can add a little more pineapple juice if you like it a little sweeter, but it will need to reduce more. Return the vegetables, shrimp, pineapple chunks and basil to the pan and simmer for a couple minutes so all the flavors combine. Taste it again. If you want it spicier, you can add red chili flakes (a pinch or two). Serve in a large bowl family-style with steamed rice and broccoli on the side.
This dish pairs nicely with a crisp fruity white wine. Serve with other fresh vegetables like steamed broccoli and rice.