Fresh Thai Green Curry Shrimp

Sat. March 31, 2012 12:00 AM
by Brad Mercil

Big Bowl restaurants here in Chicago used to serve Thai Green Curry Chicken over rice that I absolutely could not get enough of. When they took it off the menu I was devastated. I stumbled around for months missing Thai Green Curry Chicken. Well maybe not exactly but you get my drift.

Several years ago, I worked up the courage to try it myself. For the next few years, I made my version of Big Bowl's Thai Green Curry Chicken. It was good but somehow it just didn't have the flavor and freshness that I remembered. The green curry paste that I was using was from a jar and it would make the curry sauce look dull and it didn't have that smooth silky texture I wanted. I was also adding too much chicken stock so it came out like soup. The family and friends that I served this to seemed to enjoy it but it still wasn't where I wanted it to be.

One night I was at a Thai restaurant with my brother-in-law and of course I ordered green curry. There it was again staring me in the face - that smooth, spicy, vibrant green sauce that I was pining for. While I was enjoying my meal I had an epiphany and realized that the chef was preparing his green curry paste fresh. That's where the vibrant colors came from. So now I had a basic game plan to work with.

I started researching Thai green curry recipes and a few things jumped out at me right away. Making the green curry paste fresh was definitely the way to go. I was also adding way to many vegetables. When you make this recipe, don't overcook the shrimp, peppers, onions and sugar snap peas as they should be slightly firm. Also, use a combination of peppers like jalapeño, Thai green chilies or maybe Serrano chilies and be sure to remove the seeds. If you enjoy food on the mild side, just stick with one jalapeño and maybe one Thai chili pepper. But if you like to feel the heat, go for it and add in a few more peppers.

So let's get started......


Green Curry Paste Ingredients


2 Jalapeño peppers with the seeds removed
2 Thai green chilies with the seeds removed
2 Serrano chilies with the seed removed (optional)
1 green bell pepper
2 tblsp ginger shaved with a micro plane
1/3 cup chopped lemongrass - if you can't find fresh lemongrass use the blend that comes in a plastic squeeze tube
1 tsp lime zest
1/2 cup onion chopped
3 cloves garlic chopped
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 tsp cumin
1/8 cup fish sauce
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp peanut oil


Add all of the ingredients to a food processor or blender and puree then set aside.

**This recipe makes about two cups of green curry paste and can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week.


Thai Green Curry Shrimp Ingredients


20 large shrimp cleaned and deveined
1 red bell pepper quartered then sliced at an angle
1/2 medium onion diced
1 cup of sugar snap peas with ends trimmed and cut in half
1 can of sliced water chestnuts drained
1 can coconut milk
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 tblsp peanut oil
Juice from one lime
Several pieces of Thai basil roughly chopped (use regular basil if you can't find Thai)


In a large stainless steel pot (or if you have a wok use that) over medium heat add half of the green curry paste (about 1 cup). Let the curry paste simmer for about 5 minutes to reduce by a third. Stir regularly so the paste doesn't burn. Add half of the coconut milk and all of the chicken stock. Let simmer for another 5 minutes.

While the first half of curry paste is reducing, heat a non-stick frying pan over medium high heat. Add peanut oil, heat for 30 seconds then add red bell pepper and onions. Fry peppers and onions for 5 minutes until slightly soft. Onions should be just starting to turn translucent.

Add remaining half of coconut milk and all of the lime juice to simmering curry mixture. Then add the peppers, onions and water chestnuts. Add the sugar snap peas to the frying pan and heat for 1 minute. Add the shrimp to the frying pan but watch the shrimp carefully. They will start to turn pink right away. Toss the shrimp and sugar snap peas regularly until the shrimp are tender. Then add the shrimp and sugar snap peas to Thai green curry mixture.

Serve the Thai green curry shrimp over white or brown rice. Garnish with extra Thai basil and lime wedges if you prefer.