Monday, February 22, 2010

Thai Shrimp Curry with Chopped Lettuce and Basil-Lime Couscous

Gregg and I had a fun day on Saturday, nothing too exciting by other standards but sometimes the simple things can be fun too. We were out of the house early and ran our usual errands; the bank, the dry-cleaners, and four grocery stores. We don't usually go to that many supermarkets in such a short space of time. The first one was to CostCo's. We went there to get a large bag of limes because we love the taste of them in our main drink around here, Pellegrino. We gave up soda's a long time ago and replaced it with a more healthier drink and a change of pace from plain old water. We bought a few other things there too - mayonnaise, laundry detergent, a case of Pellegrino, eggs, half-and-half, that big bag of limes and grape juice.

The photo above is not from CostCo's but the third grocery store we went to, Grand Mart in Centreville. All we wanted there was sweet basil, the kind you get in Pho Soup. Unfortunately they didn't have it this time so we just bought regular, or maybe we weren't looking in the right place. There is a lot to look at. Grand Mart is an Asian-Hispanic food market that is a great place to walk around and it has the most interesting items in there at very reasonable prices. I often think I should take some cooking lessons to learn how to make more Asian dishes, as a lot of the vegetables I don't recognize. I am trying to expand my horizons and this is the right place to do it.

Gregg is peeling the shrimp we bought at Wegman's, our second stop. We met this really nice man who didn't raise his eyebrows when I told him this was the first time I had cooked shrimp and did he have any advice (okay I've had a bit of a thing about them and always bought them already cooked but I'm a big girl now, I can cook shrimp from scratch and it only took 60 years! (Okay, Gregg actually cooked it). What can I say, I don't rush into things and I won't even tell you how long it took me to cook spaghetti when I got to these shores. In England my Mum always served it out of a can already broken into pieces in a tomato sauce and it was placed on toast, a traditional meal for us English people. It was a favorite supper of us kids and so good).

We ended up buying some 'dusting' flour to coat the shrimp, and after spending time with us he pointed us in the direction of another gentleman who was actually cooking shrimp and had samples coated in this product, along with some garlic butter. We were sold as soon as we tasted the shrimp and picked up the seasoned garlic butter also. It really was delicious. A few minutes later the man we had talked to originally caught up with us and gave us a pamphlet on different methods of cooking seafood. I thought that was really sweet of him and great service I must say.

Our last stop of the day was at our local Giant supermarket to pick up those peanuts in their shells for my Squirrels and Blue Jays!

So now to this recipe.

The other day we were tuned into one of Rachel Ray's 30 Minute Meal shows. She was cooking this dish and Gregg pipes up, "That looks good" and the next thing I know I was looking it up on the Food Channel website which you can find here. We both enjoy Thai food very much and Gregg's next words sealed the deal. He offered to cook it and I said let's cook it together. Over the last few years I have noticed that my dear hubby likes to get into the kitchen and put on the chef hat. He actually enjoys it and is very good at experimenting. Whereas I follow the recipe religiously, his famous words are, "You know what would be good in this?"

In the picture above we have just finished roasting two red peppers. I went on line on how to do that as this is something new as well. I read in one recipe that once you've roasted your own peppers you'll never want to buy them in a jar again. I would suggest roasting them before you start the curry. The one I found said first remove those tiny stickers off them - thank you for that reminder - and put on a cookie sheet in a pre-heated 450 degree oven for half an hour, turning every ten minutes to evenly roast them. I think she must have been using a gas oven as mine didn't turn as black as hers but they did cook very nicely. This is one recipe where you can char the heck out of something and it's what you are supposed to do. They are very hot to the touch so take care when peeling them. Another suggestion was to put them in a brown paper bag for several minutes, so that the steam would loosen the skin away from the pepper. I didn't have one and after they cooled down pretty much, Gregg used a pair of tongs and a fork. They were easy to peel. Almost forgot, take the top off them slice in half and scrape out the seeds.

This is the kind of dish you need to measure everything out and have on hand before you begin as once everything is in the pan it cooks quickly. The photo below is after the cooking process.

Now for the actual recipe from the website which you can find right here.

Thai Shrimp Curry with Chopped Lettuce and Basil-Lime Couscous by Rachel Ray
Cooking time: 10 minutes Level: easy Yield: 4 servings
Preparation time: 15 minutes Inactive preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes. Total cooking time 30 minutes.
Top of Form
Bottom of Form

2 tablespoons vegetable or other light oil
1 1/2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined with tails removed
6 ounces, about 1/3 pound, shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped
1-inch ginger root, peeled and grated or finely chopped
4 scallions, chopped into 1-inch pieces, whites and greens
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons mild or hot red curry paste
2 roasted red peppers, sliced
1 cup "light" or unsweetened coconut milk
1 cup frozen peas
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon butter
1 lime, zested and juiced
1 1/2 cups couscous
1 cup shredded fresh basil leaves
2 cups chopped iceberg lettuce, 1/2 small head
1/2 cup chopped peanuts, for garnish
Heat a couple of tablespoons of vegetable oil over high heat. Add shrimp and toss 2 minutes then add the mushrooms, garlic, ginger, scallions, salt and pepper and cook 3 to 4 minutes more tossing constantly. Stir in curry paste, roasted red pepper and coconut milk and reduce heat to low. Simmer a few minutes then stir in peas to heat through.
In a sauce pot bring chicken stock, butter and the lime zest to a boil. Add couscous and stir.
Turn off heat, cover pot and let stand. Add basil and the lime juice to the pot and fluff with a fork.
Serve couscous topped with a layer of chopped lettuce then a few ladles of red curry shrimp. Garnish with chopped peanuts.
Not only is this very tasty it is a pretty meal and we were very happy with our first attempt at making a Thai dish.

We thought we might add an extra tablespoon of the red curry paste, maybe a second lime for the couscous and an extra half inch of ginger. This is only because of our own personal taste and we were discussing this as we were enjoying our meal. One lady's comment at the site said she had also added two tablespoons of creamy peanut butter to the couscous.

It received a big thumb's up from both of us and is one we will be making often. Thanks Rachel but more importantly thank you Gregg for doing most of the cooking.


  1. I make Thai curry often with shrimp or beef. Got the recipe from a Thai chef who wrote a Thai cookbook.

    She fries 1 Tb Mae Ploy curry paste (imported from Thailand) in 2 Tb of oil, then adds 1 Tb of fish sauce (also imported) and 1 Tb of sugar. Add 1 can of coconut milk and chopped onions,shrimp, peanuts, and frozen peas. Cook til shrimp turn pink and peas are cooked. Serve over steamed brown rice.


  2. Thanks for sharing the recipe! Looks delicious:)
    If you can get a hold of the recipe of Pad Thai with a peanutbutter sauce, that is heavenly!

  3. You did well. we have only just started cooking green prawns/shrimp rather than cooked ones. Your recipe and finished dish looks delicious. I'll be keeping it my recipe folder.

  4. Delicious post today dear Denise!
    Thanks for the recipe and I bet the mainly ingredient is LOVE!
    ** so nice that Gregg helps you!It's really adorable!

  5. Your final picture was terrific, very appetizing. I love thai food as well. We have a terrific restaurant not far and the owner I found out a few years ago was the lady that used to cut our hair at Great Clips. She had always talked about opening her own restaurant. That was a long time ago and she has been in the biz quite a while as well. Her food is always fresh and lovely. She is originally from Thailand.

  6. Lucky you to have a man who likes to cook! :)

  7. It looks delicious Denise so I'm going to make a note of it as we both like that sort of flavour. Bob likes to cook too and occasionally takes his turn in the kitchen. A x

  8. Looks really, really yummy, wish someone was here to fix it for me tonight. I guess I'm going to fix pork chops, mashed potatoes and gravy, plus salad.

  9. I'm allergic to shellfish; but that shrimp looks tasty! I'll have to try out the recipe for Dear Hubby sometime... he loves shrimp!

  10. I love to eat Thai food as they are very spicy, my kind of food!

  11. Woof, Denise!
    That looked very delicious!
    Too bad dogs can't eat onions, sugar, peanuts and what-not.

    Thank you for inviting me to be a Guest at TF. Valkyrien invited me also. I already told my human companion Lui and she said yes. Please just email me thru my brother Sweepy for instructions on how to go about that:

  12. Yummy, yummy! This is my kind of food, too. Have a wonderful week :)

  13. Looks mighty tasty! Almost makes me wish I like to cook! ~karen