Monday, 25 July 2011

Gang keo goung... aka green prawn curry with fresh dill

Actually the title's not strictly accurate as I ran out of green curry paste and so it is half red and half green.. the recipe below though just refers to green. As may be apparent I often choose to cook based on what I may have left over from other dishes I’ve cooked - this is a case in point with the “leftover” being dill - which is, I found out some time ago in one of my favourite books, Curry, also called Laotian coriander.

This is a really easy recipe, and with the aid of store cupboard & freezer essentials (well my storecupboard & freezer!) all you may need to get in is the dill to make it. I’ve adapted this recipe from the aforementioned book - really effort should be made to make the “kore” or Laotian curry paste from scratch but I couldn't get my hands on any coriander root, so went ahead with the published suggestion of shop bought Thai curry paste. I've also added a green chilli to give a bit more warmth to the sauce and mushrooms, which I'm sure are far from authentic but I like the combination of mushrooms and prawns and had some so threw them in.

Laotian Prawn Curry with Fresh Dill
Serves 2

1 ½ tbsp groundnut (or vegetable) oil
2 ½ tbsp Thai curry paste
1 ½ tsp shrimp paste
1 ½ tsp palm sugar (or failing that golden granulated sugar or similar)
250 ml coconut milk (thick is best but I only had light unfortunately)
250 ml chicken or veg stock
3 kaffir lime leaves, bruised (these can be found frozen in Oriental supermarkets and can be stored in your freezer)
1 tbsp fish sauce (or to taste, you may want to start with 1 tsp and go from there)
1 large (or equivalent) waxy potato, scrubbed and cut into 1 inch pieces
10-12 raw king or tiger prawns (I use Waitrose frozen king prawns and defrost them before use)
3 medium / large chestnut mushrooms, chopped (to be same size as potatoes)
1 green birdseye chilli
1 small bunch dill 

Heat the oil in a pan over a medium heat, add the curry paste and stir-fry for a couple of minutes until it is golden and fragrant. Add the shrimp paste, breaking it up with the back of a wooden spoon, and the sugar continuing to stir-fry for another minute.

Reduce the heat to low and add the coconut milk, stock, lime leaves, chilli (leave this whole, it's to add gentle warmth and flavour rather than heat), fish sauce and potatoes. Three-quarters cover the pot and let simmer for 20 minutes.

Add the mushrooms, stir well and leave to cook for a further 5 minutes then add the prawns, stir well and cook for another 3-5 minutes, depending on the size of the prawns, but until they are pink.

Serve hot with rice (sticky rice to be more authentic), garnished generously with the dill fronds.

Postscript: while cooking this I noticed a distinct lack of cats so had a quick look around. I'd been wondering why I kept finding strange dips in my clematis pot and bits of compost around it.. it seems someone likes to make themselves a bed:

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