This meal illustrates why I love to cook. It was a new recipe. I hoped it would satisfy a craving. And it did.
On top of that, it was quick to make and required little effort. It filled the house with the smell of coconut milk and the warmth of red curry. The spinach, carrots and red pepper made it a beautiful meal. As far as taste? Delicious.
About 10 years ago, I began exploring ingredients and cooking techniques while living in Little Rock, Ark. The city has a fantastic farmers’ market, one of the best I’ve seen anywhere. But it sorely lacks when it comes to ethnic restaurants. When I wanted Indian food, many times I ended up cooking it myself. The same went for Thai and Vietnamese cuisine. If only I’d found this recipe then.
The quality of the curry paste you use could determine the degree of awesome-ness. I used red because I love it so. Red and green curry paste can be found in the international or Asian aisle of most supermarkets. If you live near an Asian or international market, see if they carry Mae Ploy. I highly recommend it.
Thai Shrimp and Spinach Curry
1 (13- to 14-ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk, chilled (do not stir or shake)
1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons Thai green or red curry paste
1 pound medium shrimp (31-35 per pound), peeled and deveined
2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
2 carrots, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and thinly sliced
3/4 pound spinach (1 large bunch), tough stems discarded
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Accompaniment: jasmine or basmati rice
Spoon about 1/3 cup of thick coconut cream from top of coconut milk (set remaining coconut milk aside) into a large heavy skillet and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until slightly thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add curry paste and cook, whisking, for 1 minute. Add shrimp and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until the begin to turn pink, 1 to 2 minutes. Add remaining coconut milk and fish sauce, bring to a summer, and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until shrimp are just cooked through, about 1 minute. Transfer shrimp with a slotted spoon to a bowl. Add carrots and bell pepper to sauce and simmer for 5 minutes. Add spinach tin batches, stirring until each batch is wilted. Return shrimp to skillet and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 1 minute.
Sprinkle cilantro on the curry and serve with rice.