I know, I know, I’m the absolute worst at updating this little project of mine. Good news though! I’ve still been cooking… just not documenting.
So yeah, that’s good news, right?
I’ve unofficially self-proclaimed this month as “Dine In December” meaning I am not going out to eat, buying fast food or anything along the lines of that for the entire month (and hopefully not fast food ever again). I didn’t do it to be like, ~*~pretentious~*~ or anything. I just thought it’d be a good way to cultivate my anti-social skills whilst attempting to cook and eat alone in the warmth of my apartment.
As a result, I’ve made some pretty bad ass meals. I’ll refrain from bragging any further due to the fact that I am drooling just thinking about all the delicious food I’ve eaten lately. 😉
I’ve recently come to the realization that the kitchen is where I am most clumsy and the biggest sailor. Probably because the clumsiness is confined to one space. I once managed to drop a nice knife (to my standards) and break it. Luckily though, it didn’t go through anyones feet or anything so it was a success in my book. I feel like I may just be the modern day Julia Childs (except not really) with much less experience, skill and less couth, but more beers, crass humor and more F bombs. You know, the good stuff.
This week, I made Thai Red Curry with Shrimp and I honestly think it changed my entire cooking game. It’s by far the most delicious meal I’ve ever made, it was surprisingly easy to make and I’m incredibly proud of how it turned out so here goes the um, ‘recipe guidelines’…
Since I’ve moved to Chicago, I’ve been struggling to find my home grocery store. Yeah, that sounds 100% lame but living in a large city means there are tons of store options and if you know me, I have major issues with making decisions. I literally have gone to 6 or 7 different grocery stores and I spend hours pacing the aisles, worried I chose the wrong store for the trip… that it won’t have the ingredients I want at the prices I prefer. Honestly, I am a basket case over the stupidest situations but that’s besides the point. For my most recent trip, I chose a store that sounds like someone picked it up out of some redneck part of Indiana and planted it in Bucktown: Strack and Van Til. Can you even read the name of it without a heavy southern drawl? Because I can’t. I’m pretty sure its roots are in Indiana, too… can’t make that stuff up (unless I just did…?) Anyway, Strack and Van Til let me down. I was planning on making yellow curry, but of course, they only carried red curry paste *cue sad trumpet noise*. Also, this was my first real brush with making asian cuisine other than stir fry which calls for meat, veggies and soy sauce. Did you know Fish Sauce is a thing? Yeah, purchased that. And on a completely unrelated note, I also purchased a bottle of truffle oil… I’m sure that will make it in an entry to come in the next 10 years if I’m being realistic.
The purchase of Red Curry Paste called for improvisation. I guess it’s probably not THAT much of a difference making different kinds of curry, but if it is, I just said something incredibly offensive.
Here is the recipe that I originally consulted. The awesome thing about making this dish is the main responsibilities you have are chopping and prepping, then pouring it all in a pot and stirring occasionally.
Here are the ingredients I used and recommend using should you choose to embark on this curried adventure…
- 2 13.5-ounce cans of coconut milk
- 1/4 cup red curry paste
- a spoonful of brown sugar (I used a biglump since it dried out, whoops)
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced (or just like, some from a minced garlic jar)
- 6 baby carrots cut hotdog-length twice (does that even make sense? just cut them smaller and make ’em pretty)
- 1 large red potato, chopped into 1/4″ chunks or whatever size ya prefer
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped into 1/4″ chunks or again, whatever size ya prefer
- 1 15-ounce can baby corn, drained and rinsed, cut into pieces
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 serrano chile, sliced
- 5ish sprigs of basil
- lime zest from a uh… lime
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 1/2 tablespoons of fish sauce. FISH SAUCE.
- 1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined (um, I would never do that myself so I clearly bought it with that work done for me…)
- 8 ounces of thin rice noodles (I searched so hard for fresh ones but couldn’t find them. The boxed ones didn’t suck though and are super easy to prepare. They take literally 5 minutes to make.)
- Cilantro for garnish
- Peanuts for garnish
- So first things first. I prepped all the shit (carrots, potato, bell pepper, baby corn, onion, chile, basil, lime zest, chicken broth, FISH SAUCE.) and put it in a bowl. It makes it so much easier having it all in one place, especially since then you get to just dump it all in a pot and a half hour later, you have the most kick ass meal imaginable.
- In a big ol soup pot, mix up the coconut milk, brown suga, curry paste and garlic over medium-ish heat. I found out the hard way that coconut appears to have a low boiling point. There begins the swear words and crashes in the kitchen.
- Once it’s all heated and mixed, dump the big bowl-o-stuff into the pot, cover it and let it cook on medium-ish heat for 20 minutes. Basically until the veggies are tender. “Checking to see if the vegetables are tender yet” is the perfect excuse to control the quality of the food AKA eat it.
- So while the food is cooking in the pot, prepare the rice noodles and let them chill out in cold water. Cool. 8)
- Once the 20 minutes have passed or whatever, add in the shrimp. Mine was precooked so I just put it in a stirred it until they were hot enough. But if they’re raw, let them cook for 5-7 minutes… or until they’re not raw anymore.
- PLATE UP THE GOODZ, ADD SOME CILANTRO & PEANUTS, AND EAT IT.
- Win. Win win win.
There it is. The most beautiful dish I ever ate. Definitely not one of the most beautiful pictures I’ve ever taken but whatever, you get the point… maybe I’ll take a better one next time.
Couple of things I’ve thought about since originally making this post:
- This recipe yields about 6 reasonable servings but if you’re planning on binging on curry, it makes about 4. I’m definitely not judging if you do as I learned this from experience this week.
- You can easily make this with chicken. Or with no meat at all.
- I chose the vegetables I did at random because they sounded good. But I beg of you, don’t forget about the existence of sugar snap peas, mushrooms, other colored bell peppers (let’s not discriminate), water chestnuts, cauliflower, pumpkin and squash.
- This isn’t the cheapest meal I’ve ever made—thanks a lot shrimp—but it’s well worth the time and monayyy.
I crave curry a LOT. It’s one of my favorite foods so now that I know I can make it like a boss, the world has become a much more beautiful place. *sigh* If you’re reading this and like curry. Then yeah, cheers ya turd.