Vietnamese Shrimp Curry
- 3/4 c + 2 tbs water
- 2 tbs tamarind
- 2 stalks fresh lemon grass
- 1 (14 oz can unsweetened, coconut milk
- 1 1/2 lb extra large shrimp in shell (16-20 per lb) peeled, reserving shells, and deveined
- 2 tbs minced shallot
- 2 tsp minced fresh red chile or to taste
- 1 tbs corriander seeds crushed
- 2 tsp cracked white pepper
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 4 tbs Asian fish scauce (preferably vietnamese nuoc nam)
- 4 tbs peanut oil
- 1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced crosswise
- 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2 in pieces
- 1 (1-1 1/2 lb) firm-ripe mango, peeled, pitted, and cut into 1/2 in pieces
- 3 tbs chopped fresh corriander leaves
- 3 tbs chopped fresh mint
- 3 tbs chopped fresh basil
Heat 1/2 c water until hot, transfer to small bowl. Add tamarind and stir, mashing gently, until pulp is softened. Save pulp, discard solids.
Discard 2-3 tough outer layers from lemongrass, Trim root ends and mince enough of bottom third of stalks to measure 3 tbs.
Simmer minced lemongrass, coconut milk, tamarind and shrimp shells in a saucepan, uncovered, until reduced by 1/3rd, about 10mins. Pour mix through a sieve into large bowl, pressing on solids and then discarding them.
Puree shallot, ginger, chile, corriander seeds. white pepper, cumin, turmeric, 2 tbs fish sauce, 2 tbs water and 2 tbs oil in a blender until smooth. Cook spice paste in a small heavy skillet over low heat, stirring, for about 10 mins, then whisk coconut milk mix along with remaining 1/2 c water.
Heat one more tbs oil in skillet over mod high heat unto hot and then saute shrimp, stirring, until almost cooked thru, about 2 mins. Add shrimp to coconut milk mix.
Add remaining tbs oil to same skillet and reduce heat, cook onion, bell pepper, mango, and remaining 2 tbs fish sauce, stirring until onion and pepper are softened, about 3mins.
Add coconut mix and shrimp and simmer, stirring occasionally, until shrimp are cooked thru. Remove from heat. Stir in herbs just before serving.
Note: Use mortar and pestle to crush corriander seeds and crack white pepper.