1 ½ tbs (30ml) peanut oil
400ml tin coconut milk
150ml fish, chicken or vegetable stock
1½ tbsp (30ml) Thai fish sauce or more to taste
2 tbsp (40ml) lime juice (1–2 limes) or more to taste
1 tbsp palm or brown sugar
2 kaffir lime leaves, bruised
¾ bunch (3 stems) choy sum (Chinese flowering cabbage), chopped
600g peeled green king prawns (approx. 1.2k unpeeled)
150g sugar snap peas
½ bunch fresh coriander, roots washed & reserved
Rice noodles or steamed rice to serve
Red curry paste
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp white peppercorns
5 large dried red chillies, soaked in warm water
2 red shallots, roughly chopped
6 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
4 fresh red chillies, roughly chopped
3cm piece ginger, roughly chopped
4cm piece galangal, peeled, chopped
2 stalks lemongrass, white part roughly chopped
1 tsp Thai shrimp paste, roasted
1. For the red curry paste; dry roast cumin, coriander and peppercorns in a small frying pan over medium heat, tossing for 3 minutes or until fragrant. Cool. Grind with a mortar and pestle or in a food processor. Pound or process with other ingredients and coriander roots in a mini food processor with 2 tablespoons (40ml) water and blend to a smooth paste. Makes 1 cup (240g) but only half needed for this recipe.
2. Heat the peanut oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add ½ cup curry paste and fry gently for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally until aromatic and the oil starts to separate from the paste. Add the coconut milk, stock, fish sauce, lime juice, sugar and kaffir lime leaves, and bring to the boil. Simmer for 2–3 minutes.
3. Add the choy sum stems to the pan and return to the boil. Add prawns and sugar snap peas. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 3 minutes and stir through choy sum leaves to wilt. Ensure prawns are just cooked through and the vegetables are tender.
4. Serve with noodles or rice, as desired and sprinkle with coriander leaves.
Lyndey’s note: I make my own curry paste but a good bought paste could be substituted. Paste will keep covered in the refrigerator for 1 week or frozen for 1 month. Works well for tom yum too. For a richer curry use coconut cream instead of coconut milk.
Wine match: Riesling, Semillon or an elegant Chardonnay