Thai Curry with Shrimp, Pineapple, and Peanuts

This recipe is a bit dangerous, I should warn you. I have worked with serrano peppers before, so I know how they are. I used that one instead of a jalapeno because it is mild enough for the weak palates in my family. But, when I made the curry paste with the serrano and dried chiles…something was extra spicy! I must have washed my hands at least 10 times before the spice wore off them. I would recommend wearing gloves to be safe. A lesson for next time! Because, yes, we will make this again. The other fun parts for this recipe included the shrimp and the pineapple.

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Yes, you, pineapple!

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I had never bought a whole one before (this apparently shocked my dad). K tried to get me to cut it myself, but having never seen someone do it before, I had no point of reference. I also learned that Youtube videos don’t help me much. K had to take over, and he managed to resurrect the butchered remains. Yay!

For the shrimp, I have no pictures of them in their unpeeled state, but I finally learned how to best devein a shrimp (we never did it growing up, or bought ones already deveined). We also bought ones with heads on that were fresh because K doesn’t like the taste of the brine for the frozen ones. I don’t blame him; after having enough of the fresh ones to compare, there is a definite chemical taste to the frozen ones I was used to buying. These were from our regular Asian grocery store and were almost cheap.

On a side note, it’s always funny when K is in the grocery store because he speaks Cantonese, but not Mandarin and there are often awkward moments when the employees attempt to engage him in a Mandarin conversation. Oops! Not as weird as our Japanese friend who frequents a Korean restaurant often enough that the people there think he speaks Korean (he only knows a few words to order some food).

For the recipe, if you don’t like pineapple, peanuts, or shrimp….you could make substitutions, but you should try it at some point if you like coconut milk because the sauce is creamy and spicy all at once!

Directions for Thai Curry with Shrimp, Pineapple, and Peanuts

Slightly adapted from America’s Test Kitchen

Red Curry Paste

  • 6 dried red chiles (Thai, japones, or de arbol)
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/4 cup shallots (peeled and quartered)
  • 2-3 stalks lemon grass (bottom 5 inches, trimmed and sliced thin)
  • 6 medium garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 serrano pepper, seeds and ribs removed, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons minced cilantro stems
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Zest from 1 lime
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 1 teaspoon tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Toast the dried chiles on a baking sheet until fragrant and puffy (about 3-5 minutes). Let them cool, then remove the stems and seeds and break the chiles into small pieces (this should be easy after they are toasted).

A before and after of the peppers (the red one is the before)

A before and after of the peppers (the red one is the before)

Process everything, including the chile pieces in a food processor for about 3 minutes until a paste forms.

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Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Not super pretty, but tasty! Watch if you breathe it in--it goes right up your nose!

Not super pretty, but tasty! Watch if you breathe it in–it goes right up your nose!

Curry Recipe

  • 2 (14 ounce) cans unsweetened coconut milk
  • Red curry paste from the above recipe
  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar (instead you can add fish sauce)
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 pounds (41-50 count) shrimp, peeled and deveined, soaking in salt water
  • 1 pound peeled and cored pineapple, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 4 bell peppers (red, orange, or yellow) stemmed and seeded, cut into strips
  • Coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • 1/2 cup roasted peanuts, chopped coarse

In a Dutch oven, stir-fry the bell peppers in some coconut oil and a little bit of the coconut milk.

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After the peppers are softened, remove them from the pan and set aside. In the Dutch oven, whisk together the curry paste and 1 cup of the coconut milk.

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Bring to a simmer over high heat and cook to evaporate any liquid (about 5 minutes). Reduce the heat to medium-high and cook for another 5 minutes, still whisking.

Whisk in the remaining coconut milk, rice vinegar, and brown sugar. Bring to a simmer and cook until the sauce thickens (a few minutes).

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Remove the shrimp from the salt water and add the shrimp and pineapple to the sauce.

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After a few minutes, add the bell peppers.

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Continue stirring and simmering until the shrimp is cooked and the sauce is thick.

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Off the heat, add the basil, mint, lime juice, and peanuts.

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Save some peanuts to sprinkle on top of each serving.

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Directions for Thai Curry with Shrimp, Pineapple, and Peanuts (without pictures)

Slightly adapted from America’s Test Kitchen

Red Curry Paste

  • 6 dried red chiles (Thai, japones, or de arbol)
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/4 cup shallots (peeled and quartered)
  • 2-3 stalks lemon grass (bottom 5 inches, trimmed and sliced thin)
  • 6 medium garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 serrano pepper, seeds and ribs removed, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons minced cilantro stems
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Zest from 1 lime
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 1 teaspoon tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Toast the dried chiles on a baking sheet until fragrant and puffy (about 3-5 minutes). Let them cool, then remove the stems and seeds and break the chiles into small pieces (this should be easy after they are toasted).

Process everything, including the chile pieces in a food processor for about 3 minutes until a paste forms. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Curry Recipe

  • 2 (14 ounce) cans unsweetened coconut milk
  • Red curry paste from the above recipe
  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar (instead you can add fish sauce)
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 pounds (41-50 count) shrimp, peeled and deveined, soaking in salt water
  • 1 pound peeled and cored pineapple, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 4 bell peppers (red, orange, or yellow) stemmed and seeded, cut into strips
  • Coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • 1/2 cup roasted peanuts, chopped coarse

In a Dutch oven, stir-fry the bell peppers in some coconut oil and a little bit of the coconut milk. After the peppers are softened, remove them from the pan and set aside. In the Dutch oven, whisk together the curry paste and 1 cup of the coconut milk. Bring to a simmer over high heat and cook to evaporate any liquid (about 5 minutes). Reduce the heat to medium-high and cook for another 5 minutes, still whisking.

Whisk in the remaining coconut milk, rice vinegar, and brown sugar. Bring to a simmer and cook until the sauce thickens (a few minutes). Remove the shrimp from the salt water and add the shrimp and pineapple to the sauce. After a few minutes, add the bell peppers. Continue stirring and simmering until the shrimp is cooked and the sauce is thick. Off the heat, add the basil, mint, lime juice, and peanuts. Save some peanuts to sprinkle on top of each serving.

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