My love affair with seafood is an undeniable obsession which is why I simply love beach holidays where seafood is plenty and delightfully fresh after long swims and lazing on the warm sand. It is either the salty sea air or the holiday foodie anticipation that has my tummy rumbling an hour after an enormously gigantic and indulgent breakfast. I blatantly admit a weakness for the Far Eastern cuisine… and this is my all time favorite curry – Thai Green Curry Prawns.
While Red Curry has a subtle sweet and delicate undertone, green curry coming packed with a punch. And I like it hot hot hot topped with some Bird’s Eye Chilies to make it hotter and yes… lots of water!
While the basic green curry recipe remains the same, you can always replace the prawns with chicken, beef or Tofu. The curry itself is absolutely delightful as it teases the palate with the mellow coconut creaminess and fragrance till the heat kicks in – with oomph!
Slice the red Bird’s Eye Chilies. These are super hot so be careful while handling them. If you are cooking for children then better leave them out as they can be sprinkled later on individual helping.
Slice the galangal into ½ inch pieces. You can substitute this with ginger but I can tell you very certainly that the flavors are absolutely different. Ginger is a rather sad substitute that completely misses the spot as far as Thai food is concerned and so add it only if it make you feel better.
Keffir Leaves. When I started cooking Thai food, I purchased a rather large bag of dried Keffir leaves that sadly lasted forever. While the food turned out great for homemade Thai, that restaurant quality was missing. Since I had long discovered the pleasure of using fresh garden herbs I knew it was because I was using dried galangal and keffir lime leaves. My 2 year-long quest to acquire and nurture a keffir lime tree, galangal rhizome and lemongrass has proved to be very flavorful adventure. The real zing is there!
If you can find fresh leaves at some local oriental grocery store you are very lucky! If not you can settle for the dried version or lime zest at best.
You either love water chestnuts or you hate them! I love them but Gadget Guy grimaces every time he finds one in his mouth! So I happily get to fish them all out of the curry. I hardly ever manage to find Thai green eggplants that typically go in this curry so I add chestnuts instead. Prepare the water Chestnuts, slice these or add halves or whole.
Add the coconut milk powder to the warm water and whisk hard till it dissolved completely. If your water is cold the coconut milk powder will not dissolve and if it’s too hot it will become lumpy. So remember you need tepid water. You can also use a can of coconut milk instead.
When the prawns curl slightly and only begin to turn white, transfer them onto a cold platter. You want them to lose heat quickly and stop cooking. Make sure they are not piled on top of each other on the platter trapping heat.
Add the remaining oil, onions, lemongrass, fish sauce, salt and Thai green curry paste into the wok and fry till its fragrant and you are sneezing :). I love the Mao Ploy Brand when it comes to choosing curry pastes.
Add the chicken stock, half of the coconut milk and with a hand blender whizz the curry until it is completely smooth. Bring to boil and reduce the curry to half. Alternatively, you can also blend the onions, green curry, and lemongrass and fish sauce before adding it to the oil.
Next in goes the palm sugar. If you don’t have palm sugar just use brown sugar instead, even white sugar would suffice. The sugar brings out the natural sweetness of the coconut milk. Keep in mind that white sugar is sweeter the palm sugar.
Now stop. Stop here if you do not plan on serving this immediately. Dramatic, aren’t I? Well better still that I be the drama queen then you having to serve overcooked and chewy prawns.
Add the shredded keffir leave, water chestnuts and the prawns. Let them simmer releasing their flavor and juices into the green curry. Do not let the curry cook for more than 4-6 minutes or you will find that your lovely prawns have been overcooked and stubbornly curled up tightly with a chewy and dry texture. This is why it is crucial to reduce the curry initially and to make sure that the green curry is the right consistency before adding the prawns. If you prefer a thicker curry, you can add a teaspoon of cornstarch dissolved in some water into the curry.
- 250 g/ ½ lb Large Prawns (deveined) or Tofu
- 1 Onion (Medium- Diced)
- 2 Bird eyed chilies – Sliced Thinly
- 1 Tablespoon Galangal – Chopped
- 1 Large Keffir Lime Leaf - Shredded
- 6-8 Water Chestnuts or Thai Eggplant (optional)
- 1 Stalk Lemongrass – (1 inch pieces)
- 8 Tablespoons Coconut Milk Powder
- 2 Tablespoons Green Curry Paste
- 1 Cup Water - Warm
- ¾ Cup Chicken Stock
- 2 Tablespoons Fish Sauce
- 1 Tablespoon Palm Sugar
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- 4 Tablespoons Peanut oil (or any vegetable oil)
- Devein and wash the prawns. Let them drain well in a sieve.
- Dice the onion very finely.
- Julienne the Bird’s Eye Chilies
- Peel and slice the galangal.
- Shred the Keffir Leaf into long stripes or slightly crush it whole in your palm to release the flavor.
- If using fresh waterchest nuts, prepare them. If using canned water chestnuts, drain them.
- If you are using Thai Eggplants, leave them whole or cut them into halves diagonally.
- Remove the top layer of the lemongrass stalk and cut into 1 inch pieces.
- Combine the coconut milk powder with the cup of warm water and whisk well till no lumps remain.
- Add half the oil to the wok followed by the galangal and half the Bird's Eye Chilies.
- Add the prawns and toss for 30 seconds and remove into a plate. Leave uncovered.
- Add remaining oil to the wok.
- Toss in the onions, lemongrass, fish sauce, salt and the green curry paste. Stir-fry for a minute.
- Add the chicken stock and half the coconut milk.
- Bring to a boil and reduce the green curry to half.
- Add palm sugar.
- Pour in remaining coconut milk reducing the flame to simmer.
- Add the keffir leaf, water chestnuts and the prawns and let simmer for 4-6 minutes.
- Your curry should have a soup like consistency and the prawns should be well curled but not tightly curled.
- Serve in a deep bowl garnished with the coriander leaves and the remaining chilies.
- Serve with Thai Jasmine Rice or noodles