Red Curry with Shrimp and Sugar Snap Peas

A nice balance of heat and sweet plays out in this bright curry. The more I make this one, the more I love it. I substituted 1 lb of lobster claw meat recently, and can honestly say that it only made the recipe that much better. 

Red Curry

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 Tbsp. jarred or homemade red curry paste
  • 15-oz. can unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 cup lower-salt chicken broth, fish broth, or water
  • 1 lb. shrimp (21 to 25 per lb.), peeled and deveined 
  • 2 cups sugar snap peas (7 to 8 oz.), trimmed
  • 5 wild lime leaves, torn or cut into quarters (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp. fish sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. palm sugar or light brown sugar
  • Kosher salt
  • A handful of fresh Thai or Italian basil leaves
  • Hot cooked rice or rice noodles, for serving 
  • 1 long, slender fresh red chile (such as red jalapeno or serrano), thinly slices on the diagonal (optional) 

*I used 5 hot green finger peppers to add some additional heat to this dish.

  1. Heat the oil in a 2- to 3-quart saucepan over medium heat until a bit of curry paste just sizzles when added to the pan. Add all the curry paste and cook, pressing and stirring with a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula to soften the pasta and mix it in with the oil, until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  2. Add the coconut milk and broth and bring to a simmer. Simmer, stirring often, for 5 minutes, allowing the flavors to develop.
  3. Increase the heat to medium high and let the curry come to a strong boil. Add the shrimp, sugar snap peas, and half the lime leaves (if using), and stir well. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp curl and turn pink, about 2 minutes. Add the fish sauce, sugar, and 1/2 tsp. salt and stir to combine. Remove from the heat.
  4. Tear the basil leaves in half (or quarters if they are large), and stir them into the curry, along with the remaining lime leaves (if using). Let rest for 5 minutes to allow the flavors to develop. Serve hot or warm with rice or noodles, garnished with the chile slices (if using).

Substitutions are quicker: In recipes like these, traditional ingredients like palm sugar and Thai basil can be replaced with easier-to-find items like light brown sugar and Italian basil. Wild lime leaves have no good substitution, though, so leave them out if you can’t find them.

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