My husband doesn’t like curry. …Or at least he SAYS he doesn’t like curry. He claims it makes him belchy. (Since when did that deter him, I ask…) This is one of my eternal frustrations because I do like it. A lot. It goes both ways. My husband adores angel hair pasta cooked past al dente served with piles and piles of meat sauce. I say this is sloppy joes on pretend pasta. Ah, love; it’s not all wine and roses. Sometimes it’s burps and mushy noodles. The important thing is that we both recognize that we don’t have to have the last word.
I question how much my husband actually dislikes curry, though, because over the years I have featured at least four recipes in our regular rotation that lean heavily on curry whether in powder or paste form. One of them is one of the most popular posts ever here on Foodie With Family. Another is one of our family favourites and a prize winner. I think it’s more accurate to say that he’s picky about curry. I don’t blame him. In my opinion, the balance of curry is easy to mess up. It can go from complex and tantalizing to muddy and overwhelming if too heavy a hand is used.
I have realized after years of experimentation, that the one kind of curry my husband will invariably love is a Thai curry, specifically a red curry. Red curry is a blend of lemongrass, garlic, Thai ginger and red chiles (among other things). How could you possibly go wrong with that? When RiceSelect sent me a jar of their Texmati light brown rice*, I knew right away what I was going to do with it. It was getting a red curry topping.
*What I love about this rice is that it cooks quickly like white rice and tastes a great deal like it, but gives you much of the nutritional content of brown rice. As a mom of many, I call that a win.
Because the curry we were making was a Thai curry, we decided to turn our dinner into a party to explore Thai culture along with our meal. In Thailand it’s considered unlucky to eat alone*, so we loaded our table up with friends and family. This is an easy task given that our family makes seven per meal all by itself. Since our dinner party was on Sunday, we all wore red; the traditional colour assigned to Sunday in Thai culture.
*Well, gee. I must be the luckiest woman alive, then. I almost never eat alone. (Unless you count me hiding in the bathroom to inhale a chocolate bar.)
In keeping with the Thai theme, we used bamboo mats on red place mats to decorate the table. My son Ty declared it to be his day. Thai. Ty. Oh my. This same child also selected a knots and rope-work class based on the fact that he should be great at it since his name is Ty. Ty. Tie. Help.
Back to the good stuff…
The curry we had was a Thai Red Curry Shrimp: a dish that appears far too simple to have the complex and comforting flavour that it delivers. Coconut milk and red curry paste simmer with onions, peas and shrimp and are ladled over fragrant coconut rice. A simple scattering of chopped fresh cilantro and basil over the top of the dish seems insignificant until you taste it. The fresh herbs, sweet shrimp, and umami laden curry coconut sauce with vegetables all come together in a symphony of flavour, including all four of the main seasonings of Thai cuisine: salty, sour, bitter, and sweet.
Because the curry itself comes together in very little time, the recipe I’m including here calls for making a larger amount of rice than you’ll need for the meal. Coconut rice freezes and reheats beautifully, so the recipe includes instructions for freezing the extra rice for last minute cravings and nights when you’re on the run. Do take advantage of this!
Coconut rice is a beautiful base for stir-fries, sweet and sour meatballs, hamballs. Coconut rice also adds a little unexpected flair to fried rice; simply use your hands to break up the frozen rice directly into the hot pan.
Give this super-fast, exotic, satisfying meal a whirl some evening. You’ll be so glad you did. It’s way better than mushy angel hair with sloppy joe topping.
Oh shoot. Did I just get the last word?