Thai Shrimp Halibut Curry (a la Irene)

Yep, it’s a hurricane Saturday here in central Virginia courtesy of Hurricane Irene.  So far the power is holding out.  Keeping my fingers crossed on that.  So, with nowhere to go and the laundry all done it seemed like a little cooking was in order.  Fortunately for me it’s lunch time!  And since I have a gas stove the cooking can continue regardless of the power situation.  Of course the dish washing situation could get complicated.  I saw this recipe on epicurious.com a few days ago and it’s been on my list.  I had to do some improvising given the limited opportunity to get supplies today.  I think I got the important things right because this is really good.  Fantastically good.

I did get a little halibut and some limes at the store early this morning.  I had some shrimp in the fridge.  No shallots so I substituted red onion.  No bell pepper so I substituted banana pepper.  No fresh ginger so I used the kind in the jar.  All the basil is outside, but that’s where the storm is so I left it out.  Everything else I keep in the house all the time because I love making curries.  The nice thing about this dish is that it comes together really quickly and easily.  There’s limited chopping, which always makes me happy.  Shrimp and fish both cook really quickly too.  I served this over rice noodles instead of rice because I think they’re more fun and they cook a lot faster than rice.  My only complaint about this is that there’s not much heat to it.  A little Thai chile would make this more exciting.  Of course you can always add a little cayenne to individual bowls if you’re feeding folks who aren’t into spicy food.

So there you have it.  Hurricane dish number 1.  I’ve got some pork in the crock pot for later, but I don’t know that it will warrant its own post.  It’s just a pound of Boston Butt with some yummy hot sauce courtesy of a local friend and some onions.  Still, I think it will be good.  The sauce is a thin red hot sauce made with Woodford Reserve bourbon.  That cannot be bad.

This curry is a keeper.  The sauce is rich and yummy without being too thick.  It’s a good soupy, warm dish for a rainy day.  Next time I’ll leave out the halibut.  I don’t think the fish adds anything.  The shrimp is really good.  And a dish like this is a good use for frozen shrimp is you’re someone who keeps those around.  Of course next time I’ll try to come a little closer to the original recipe.

Good? Very good.
Easy? Yes. And fast.
Good for company? Definitely.
Special shopping? If you don’t make a lot of Asian curries you may not keep red curry paste or coconut milk around. You should be able to find both in the Asian Food section of your local grocery store.

Thai Shrimp Halibut Curry

Ingredients

1 large limes
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 small red onion, diced
1 3 sweet banana peppers, seeded and cut into 1/2-to 3/4-inch dice
1 1/2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
2 1/2 teaspoons Thai red curry paste (such as Thai Kitchen brand)
1 13 1/2- to 14-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
1 tablespoon fish sauce (such as nam pla or nuoc nam)
8 ounces halibut fillets, cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
20-25 peeled deveined uncooked large shrimp (8 to 10 ounces)
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Directions

Zest a large lime. Squeeze enough juice from lime to measure 2 tablespoons.
Heat vegetable oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add chopped onion, diced pepper, and minced ginger; sautè until shallots are tender and peppers soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in curry paste, coconut milk, fish sauce, 1 1/2 teaspoons lime peel, and 2 tablespoons lime juice. Simmer gently, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle fish and shrimp with salt and pepper. Add fish and shrimp to curry sauce. Return to very gentle simmer and cook just until fish and shrimp are opaque in center, 5 to 6 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Gently stir in cilantro.
Serve over softened rice noodles.

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