Saturday, August 25, 2012

shrimp and mussel thai red curry

My husband asked for shrimp curry for dinner the other night, but we ended up going out instead. Never one to forgo a chance to make curry, I acted on the request last night instead! Hubs likes shrimp, he likes curry, but he'd never had mussels (or any shellfish at all, it seems - no clams, no oysters...bwuh?!). I had been wanting to do some curried mussels for a while anyway, so I made him a deal - I'd make the shrimp curry and cook the mussels separate and then he could try one and see if he liked them. If he did, I'd add them into the curry. If not, well...more mussels for me.

The thing I DIDN'T tell him (sorry sweetie, if you're reading this) was that he was going to get a dose of mussel goodness either way, because my plan was to steam the mussels and then use the steaming liquid as the base for my curry. I sauteed some shallot and garlic in a big pot in some coconut oil while I cleaned and de-bearded the mussels, then added some white wine and some water (I had less wine than I'd thought...a common problem at my house. Ahem.) to the pot and dumped the mussels in. They steamed for about 5 minutes while I shelled my defrosted shrimp. I then scooped the mussels out, ate a few because I can't help myself, and set the bowl aside. I checked to make sure the cooking liquid didn't need to be strained, but this batch of mussels was very clean and not gritty in the least. I added a can of coconut milk, a couple tablespoons of red curry paste, a few good sloshes of fish sauce and a little more water, then mixed it all up well. I had pre-cooked some cauliflower by steaming it in the microwave for a few minutes (because Impatience is my middle name and I didn't want to dick around waiting for the cauliflower to soften in the broth, which takes like 20 minutes), so I threw that into the pot, added some sliced mushrooms, and turned the heat up to get a good simmer going. Once the liquid was simmering, in went the shrimp. Because shrimp cook so quickly, I actually shut the heat right off as soon as I added them into the pot...there was more than enough retained heat to cook them through.

It was then make-or-break time. I took a spoonful of the curry broth, placed a nice fat mussel on it, and took it over to my husband. He looked at it a bit warily, and which point I said, "you said you would try it!". He gave a bit of a resigned sigh and popped it into his mouth. He declared it "ok". I asked if he wanted some of the mussels in his bowl of curry, and he said "sure, if you de-shell them for me". So, I took a few minutes to shuck the mussels out of their shells, threw them into the pot, gave everything a good stir, and we were ready to eat:

Thai red curry shrimp and mussels
I had to go a little easy on the curry paste because this batch seemed quite a lot hotter than the last few batches I've gotten, and Hubs can't do really spicy food. So that's why the sauce is pretty light-colored. Also, I forgot the basil AGAIN. I don't know what it is with me forgetting basil, but pretty much anything I make that requires it ends up with me trudging back to the store to get it because I've forgotten it. Or just skipping it, in last night's case.

This was pretty yummy, but a little too coconut-tastic for me this time. Next time, I want to try the shrimp and mussels together in a tomato-based tikka masala type sauce.