When you're born and raised in the Caribbean, your introduction to "curry" typically occurs rather early in your life. The spice levels, various brands/types of curry powder and the distinct ways varying Caribbean countries, from The Bahamas to Jamaica choose to prepare it. Although I've always felt pretty well-versed on the topic of curry. I hadn't truly experienced the full versatility of the dish until I savoured traditional Thai Red Curry.
A flavourful dish composed of red curry paste simmered with coconut milk and a choice a protein — ranging from chicken and beef to shrimp and tofu.
My goal for this recipe was to achieve those traditional flavours...with a twist of my own. Unfortunately, I was unable to actually find red curry paste on the island where I live — however, cooking is all about improvising so we'll make it work. This dish exudes pure comfort, a delicious range of spices, vegetables and flavor. Definitely in my top 5 faves thus far.
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coconut curried shrimp 101
Selection: Apart from a balance of flavors, ingredient selection is a key component when preparing a dish. Aromatics like garlic and ginger act as our base flavors, layered with the gentle caramelization of the onions and red bell peppers. The addition of carrots adds body and mildly helps to thicken the overall dish. It was complete with a handful of spinach which was an afterthought, to be completely honest I just had it on hand & wanted a variation in color.
Spice: Traditionally when making Thai red curry, "red curry paste" is usually included in the recipe —hence the name. However, as discussed above, I was unable to find it where I live. Soooo...I sorta kinda made my own, utilizing equal parts tomato paste and curry powder, with the addition of ginger, garlic, habanero pepper and coriander. I was able to grasp the customary elements and make it my own. However, if you are able to find the store-bought curry paste, by all means use it! (swapping out the tomato paste and curry powder for 3-4 tbsp red curry paste)
How to Make:
Creamy Coconut Curried Shrimp
Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sesame oil
2 clove garlic *minced
2 tbsp ginger *minced
1 yellow onion *thinly sliced
1 carrot *sliced diagonally
1/2 red bell pepper *thinly sliced
2 tbsp tomato paste *see note above
2 tbsp curry powder
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 habanero pepper *minced (more or less depending on heat preference)
1 lb shrimp *peeled & deveined + seasoned
1/2 cup spinach
1 tbsp fresh parsley or cilantro
jasmine rice cooked according to package instructions
Once fully thawed and or cleaned, season shrimp with 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp garlic powder, and 1 tsp paprika. Set aside in the fridge to marinate until ready to use.
In a large pot or deep skillet over medium-high heat, add oils. To heated oils add garlic, ginger, onion, carrots and red bell pepper. Saute for 3-4 minutes until slightly softened.
To vegetable mixture, add tomato paste and curry powder, cook for 4 minutes. Stirring frequently until the color of the tomato paste deepens.
Add the chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Ensuring that the bottom of the pan is fully deglazed.
Stir in spices, coconut milk and habanero pepper. Turn heat down to medium and continue cooking for 5 minutes.
Finally, add the shrimp along with the juices from the marinade and cook for another 3-4 minutes or until the shrimp is pink and cooked through.
Adjust seasoning if necessary and spice level to match preference. Serve with rice and garnish with fresh parsley or cilantro.