King prawns in a rich red curry sauce with coconut milk, Chu Chi Goong is one of the most well loved curries in northern Thailand. Although large tiger prawns are typically used, a combination of jumbo shrimp and scallops are also excellent. Inspired by a recipe from The Young Thailand Cookbook by Wandee Young and Byron Ayanoglu, I also added sliced bamboo shoots, water chestnuts and bright green peas for added colour and texture. Garnished with finely sliced Kaffir lime leaves, sweet red pepper, fresh basil and served with fragrant Jasmin rice, this luscious curry is full flavoured with just enough heat to make it interesting.
Thai Shrimp in Spicy Coconut Milk
Adapted from The Young Thailand Cookbook
3 lime leaves
4 cups unsweetened coconut milk
2 tbsp red curry paste
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp fish sauce
15 large shrimp, shelled and deveined
1/2 cup bamboo shoot strips, thinly sliced
1/2 cup water chestnuts, thinly sliced
1/4 cup green peas, frozen
2 1/2 cups steamed Jasmin rice
15 whole fresh basil leaves
1/2 red pepper, thinly sliced
Slice the lime leaves as thinly as possible — thread-like is best — and reserve. Heat 2 cups of the coconut milk in a large saucepan on high heat until it comes to a boil. Turn the heat down to medium, add the red curry paste and stir to dissolve, cooking for 1-2 minutes until the oil of the coconut milk rises to the surface. Add the sugar, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts and half of the reserved lime leaf. Stir-fry for 30 seconds, then add the fish sauce and final 2 cups of coconut milk. Turn the heat up to maximum and stir-cook for 1 minute. Add the shrimp and green peas, and stir into the sauce. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp have just turned opaque and the oil of the coconut milk has once again risen to the surface. Remove from the heat, and transfer to a warm serving dish and garnish with the remaining lime leaves, basil and strips of red pepper. Serve immediately with steamed Jasmin rice.