Again with the curries! (what is the plural form of curry – curry’s? no.) This one is actually more suitable for summertime weather. It it also warm and extremely flavourful, but instead of the warming comfort of a an Indian butter chicken curry this one is vibrant, fresh and oh-so-green. From a culinary point of view, I think I actually prefer this recipe to the comfy curry because it is all from scratch – no store-bought curry seasonings. Jamie Oliver is once again the original mastermind behind this dish, but gimme a break – I’m not siphoning any of his profits. Away we go!
Curry paste: 2 stalks lemongrass, 4 scallions, 3 fresh green chilies, 4 gloves of garlic, thumb sized piece of ginger, bunch of cilantro (if you can’t stand cilantro like many people, sub it for Italian parsley), 3 tbls soy sauce, 1 tbls fish sauce.
This recipe was my first run-in with lemongrass. I wasn’t quite sure what I was looking for at the grocery store, but I was successful in the end. Once you have discovered lemongrass, and explained what it is to the sincere cashier at the grocery who has no idea what it is, beat the hell out of it. Use the back of your chef’s knife to bruise the bottom 6 inches of the thing. Then cut and peel away until you find a white-yellow colored core that looks slightly more edible than the outer dry skins. Trim the scallions (green onions, lets not get too pretentious), half and seed the green chilies, peel and rough chop the garlic and ginger. The easiest way to combine these into a past is to throw it all into a food processor along with half of the cilantro (or parsley). If you do not have a food processor then worry not – just get choppin’. Get everything as fine as you can – think paste – chop, chop chop! Add the soy and fish sauce to the mixer, or in a bowl with the paste.
A bunch of asparagus, 1 fresh red chili (dry will do in a pinch), 1-2 tablespoons vegetable oil,1 tablespoon sesame oil, about a pound of raw medium-large sized shrimp, 1 14ounce can of coconut milk, handful of snow peas, and a lime.
As a child I was completed turned off by asparagus and have only returned to it in my last 3 years or so. I have to say that I regret all those years I didn’t eat it because there aren’t many vegetables that I enjoy more than asparagus. Its it goes well with beef, chicken, pork, fish and is extremely easy to cook.
Get a large frying pan or wok on high heat. Snap off the woody bottoms of the asparagus. There will be a natural breaking point about 1/3 the way up, depending on how you purchased it. This takes some practice but its better than eating tough raw asparagus. If you have a bean slicer then run the asparagus through it to make lovely, long slices. If not then carefully use your sharpest paring knife and slice them in halves or thirds. When the pan is hot, add the veg and sesame oils – the aromas have just begun. Carefully drop in the shrimp letting them fall away from you so you don’t get splashed with hot oil. Add the asparagus and curry paste and stir-fry for 30 seconds to a minute(don’t worry about under-cooking the shrimp – I promise you won’t). Add the coconut milk and add the snow peas. Stir it all together, let it come to a boil and cook for 2 or 3 minutes. Taste for adjustments – use soy sauce for salt if needed. Squeeze the lime into the sauce near the end for a nice refreshing twist.
Serve this over Jasmine rice with the chopped red chili for garnish. I recommend eating this on a sunny Thursday or Friday evening, with a corona and lime on a patio – life doesn’t get much better than that.