There is no mystery to Thai cooking. Keeping things simple and adjusting to personal taste seems to be the best way of finding that perfect balance of the five taste senses [spicy, sweet, sour, salty, and bitter] in Thai cuisine.
As a default mode, deciding what to eat or recipes I would like to write, French cuisine always comes to mind. Something fresh with vibrant flavors has recently been my thought process lately. Shrimp in an aromatic coconut broth was the right choice for a dusky evening dinner.
It’s nearly July and the peas in the garden are bountiful. The cool summer weather has been good on the spring season vegetables that got a later start than usual. Tender sugar snap peas are a nice contrast to the typical snow peas that are so commonly used in Asian food, and make a visually striking accompaniment.
Thai Basil Shrimp Recipe
2 Tablespoons safflower oil
1 ½ Tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
1 ½ Tablespoons garlic, minced
2 teaspoons red curry paste
½ teaspoon crushed red chilies
2” piece of lemongrass, cut in half lengthwise
15 ounces coconut milk
1 Tablespoon sugar
¾ pound shrimp, cleaned & shells removed
¼ pound snap peas -or- snow peas
Juice of half a lime [approx. 2 Tablespoons]
1 Tablespoon fish sauce -or- to taste*
2 sprigs of Thai basil, chopped
1. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat and fry ginger, garlic, crushed chilies and red curry paste until fragrant.
2. Add lemon grass, coconut milk and sugar. Bring to a gentle simmer.
3. Add shrimp and peas, cook until shrimp are opaque and pea pods are tender, approx. 5 minutes.
4. Add lime juice and fish sauce to taste, serve garnished with basil. Serves two.
*note: What’s my favorite fish sauce brand? “Three Crabs!”