Thursday, May 20, 2010

Shrimp & Cherry Tomatoes in Yellow Curry Sauce

Adapted from my Asian Cuisine class at the CIA
Serves 4

I’ll tell you up front, making this dish takes a bit of time.  It’s mainly the sauce – The shrimp and tomatoes are simple as can be.  But the sauce does take a bit of effort and patience.  But here’s the deal - the first and most time-consuming step is making a yellow curry paste.  And the good thing is, once you’ve got the paste, the rest is a complete breeze to whip up.  Another bonus - one recipe of the curry paste yields enough for you to make this dish four times over.  If you’d like, you can freeze the extra portions of the paste.  It’ll be a quick thaw away, every time you’re in the mood for this delicious dish.  Or maybe you’ll love it so much, you’ll want to make it four nights in a row!  Don’t be surprised if you end of doing the latter. 

Shrimp & Cherry Tomatoes in Yellow Curry Sauce

1 # large (31-40 per pound) shrimp
2 Tbl vegetable oil, plus more for sautéing the shrimp
2 13.5-oz cans coconut milk
1/4 cup yellow curry paste
3 Tbl fish sauce
2 Tbl light brown sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
1 pint cherry (or grape) tomatoes

Peel the shells and tails off of the shrimp.  (I didn’t remove the tails because I was in a hurry.  But really, it’s a good thing to do.  It makes for less work during dinner.  And for less messiness too.)  Be careful not to rip off the entire tail while you’re removing the shell – An intact tail makes for a much prettier shrimp.   

De-vein the shrimp (i.e. remove the intestinal tract).  Use a paring knife to make a shallow slice along the center of the outer edge of the shrimp.  This will expose the dark grey ‘vein’, running along the length of the shrimp.  Scrape it out with the knife.  (You may not even have to do this.  Many times shrimp is already de-veined when you buy it.  If it hasn’t been de-veined, the outer edge of the shrimp will be intact, and you’ll see the vein just below the surface.) 

Sauté the shrimp: Heat a large sauté pan over high heat for about 2 minutes.  Swirl about 1/2 Tbl vegetable oil into the pan and heat for about 30 second more.  Working with about half the shrimp at a time, arrange a single layer of shrimp into the pan.  Don’t crowd the pan with too much shrimp, or you won’t get a nice sear.  Maybe you’ll need to do this in 3 or 4 batches even, if your pan won’t comfortably fit half the shrimp.)  Cook the shrimp for about 2 minutes, until the bottom of the shrimp are pink with slight golden sear marks.  Flip the shrimp over using tongs, and cook two minutes more, until the shrimp is just cooked through and the other side is seared and pink also.  Remove the shrimp from the pan and reserve.  Repeat with the rest of the shrimp, adding more vegetable oil as needed. 

Place a medium-sized sauce pot over medium heat and add the 2 Tbl vegetable oil.  Heat for 1 minute, then add the 1/4 cup yellow curry paste.  Cook until aromatic, about 1-2 minute, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon.  Add the coconut milk and mix well to combine with the curry paste.  Add the fish sauce, sugar and salt and bring to a simmer.  Simmer, stirring frequently, until the sauce is slightly thick (about the consistency of heavy cream), about 5 minutes.  Add the cherry tomatoes.  Cook at a bare simmer (maybe lower the heat a bit, if you need to) for about 5 minutes longer, so that the sauce thickens a little more, and the tomatoes cook a bit.  You don’t want to cook the tomatoes so much that they burst, just enough to make them all saucy on the inside, but still fresh and intact.  Add the sautéed shrimp, and re-heat them in the sauce.  Serve hot. 




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