Move over Baan Thai. There’s a new Thai chef extraordinaire in town and he lives at my house! If you’ve been reading here long, you know that Jon and I love Asian food. We’ve gotten terribly adept at creating taste tantalizing noodle bowls, sushi, and spring rolls. One thing we hadn’t attempted before this weekend is curry. We’ve been a bit intimidated, but we did it (well, okay, Jon did it.) And at the risk of sounding like a broken record, this may be my new favorite dish. I know what you are going to say: “but Amber, everything Jon makes is your favorite.” That’s true. Very rarely am I disappointed and almost always I am convinced it’s the best thing he’s ever made. This dish stacks up. Sweet and bitter, rich and creamy, but also light… there are too many adjectives to describe it. You simply have to trust me and try it for yourself.
Special bonus- using fresh herbs from our garden! Absolutely nothing tastes better than herbs you’ve grown yourself.
- 1 cup chopped shallots (about 4)
- 2 fresh lemongrass stalks (optional), 1 or 2 outer leaves discarded and lower 6 inches of stalks thinly sliced
- 2 large garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 tablespoon chopped peeled fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro stems
- 1 to 2 tablespoons bottled Asian green curry paste
- 11/2 teaspoons sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 (13- to 14-oz) can unsweetened coconut milk (not low-fat)
- 1 3/4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth (14 fl oz)
- 3/4 lb dried flat 3/8-inch-wide rice noodles or 1/2 lb dried flat 1/8-inch-wide stir-fry rice noodles
- 1 1/2 lb peeled and deveined large shrimp (21 to 25 per lb)
- 2 to 3 teaspoons Asian fish sauce, or to taste
- Accompaniment: fresh cilantro sprigs, basil and mint
Purée shallots, lemongrass, garlic, ginger, and cilantro stems in a blender with curry paste, sugar, salt, turmeric, and water until as smooth as possible, about 1 minute.
Heat oil in a 4-quart wide heavy pot over moderate heat until hot but not smoking, then cook curry paste mixture, stirring frequently, until it just begins to stick to bottom of pot, 8 to 10 minutes. Add coconut milk and broth and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until reduced to about 3 2/3 cups, 8 to 10 minutes.
While sauce simmers, cook noodles in a 6-quart pot of boiling salted water, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Drain in a colander and rinse under cold water. Drain noodles well and divide among 4 large bowls.
Add shrimp to sauce and simmer, stirring, until just cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in fish sauce and salt and pepper to taste. Ladle shrimp and sauce over noodles. Add cilantro, basil and mint.
*Special Note: when we make this dish again, we will use larger shrimp.