Curry is easy to make! I had to get that out there right away. Before I knew what curry was I would have rolled right past this recipe thinking a curry is something complicated that I don’t have time for. ‘Curry’ can mean numerous things. It can refer to a spice or spice mixture – in many stores you will find ‘curry powder’ or ‘curry paste.’ It can also refer to the dish ‘curry’ that is found in several cultures around the world. Curry simply means any dish which has a richly spiced sauce cooked with meat and/or vegetables.
The first time I made a curry I used a pre-made curry paste. The pastes and powders are great and very easy to use. They give you a recipe right on the package! But as I read more about curries, everyone (as in ‘everyone’ on the internet) was telling me that the best curries are made from scratch. Of course they are! So I had to try it.
They were right. The best part of this fairly simple Thai-style curry is that I already had all of the ingredients. If you don’t have cumin and coriander in your spice collection you should add them – two bold flavors that are often used in ethnic cuisines. Chicken broth and evaporated milk are pretty common ingredients. White wine… everyone should have some white wine hanging around ; )
So the odd ball is the fish sauce. If you don’t have it or fear it, leave it out. It definitely adds a depth to the sauce which is what curry is all about, but your dish will still be good if you omit it.
Curries are like soups in that you can put all kinds of vegetables in them! You can even make this a vegetarian dish – omit the shrimp and scallops and add more veggies. The vegetables themselves flavor the sauce so I like to use a bunch of them. Other vegetables that work well in curries include green beans, eggplant, okra, squash, chickpeas, tomatoes and so on. Really, try anything. Just remember to the cook time of the vegetables might vary so you might need to add them at different times which I talk more about later. My favorite vegetable in this recipe is the sweet potato so I don’t recommend leaving that one out. The sweetness works so well with this sauce.
I used shrimp and scallops but you don’t have to. You can leave them out or substitute chicken if you prefer. The nice thing about the shrimp and scallops is that you can get good quality from the frozen section. They thaw and cook quickly too so you can make this dish in a hurry.
An important thing to remember for this recipe is that not all vegetables take the same amount of time to cook. You’ll see in the directions that I added the zucchini and snow peas well after the other vegetables. They won’t take as long to soften and you don’t want them to get mushy. If you substitute other veggies just be conscious of their cook times.
Lots of Thai curry recipes use coconut milk and for some of them the coconut flavor is important. But during my ‘curry research’ I came across a tip to use evaporated milk in place of coconut milk because it will give you a creamier sauce. Yeah. This thick sauce is so good with rice and you can see it’s basically sticking to the vegetables.
Thai Curry with Shrimp, Scallops And Vegetables
- Serves 3-4
- Total Time 30 minutes
4 cups cooked rice
½ pound fresh or frozen scallops
½ pound fresh or frozen medium shrimp (tail off, devined)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small shallot, minced
4 teaspoons ground coriander
¾ teaspoon ground cumin
¾ cup dry white wine
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 sweet potato, cubed
1 red pepper, sliced
1 red chili, finely sliced (or ¼ teaspoon red pepper flake) – optional
1.5 cups low-sodium chicken stock
1 small zucchini, quartered and sliced
1 cup snow peas
3 teaspoons fish sauce
¾ cup evaporated milk
1.5 tablespoons cornstarch dissolved in 3 tablespoons water
DirectionsPrepare rice according to package instructions. Thaw scallops and shrimp if frozen and rinse both well. Prepare all vegetables. Heat a large non-stick pan or wok over medium heat. Add oil, once hot, add garlic and shallot. Saute 1 minute. Add coriander and cumin and stir for 1 minute. Add wine and gently boil for 5 minutes.
Add carrots, sweet potato, red pepper, chili and chicken stock. Bring back to a gentle boil for 8-10 minutes or until vegetables have softened, stirring occasionally. Add zucchini, snow peas, scallops and shrimp. Return to gentle boil for 5 more minutes. Add the fish sauce, evaporated milk and cornstarch/water mixture. Gently stir for 1-2 minutes or until sauce thickens.
Serve warm over rice.