Thai Yellow Beer Curry

from Jamey W. Bennett
to Daniel Larkin

Dude,

So tonight when I was texting you about my yellow curry, I didn’t expect it to be as good as it was (though there is certainly room for improvement), so I didn’t expect to be writing this. But damn. It was good, and my secret is beer.

Since I’m not so experienced in preparing Thai food, I’ve picked up a few books, one of which is Quick and Easy Thai by Nancie McDermott. According to my friend Christopher, she is the go-to Thai food author. Since I had some yellow curry paste on hand, I decided to do a yellow curry. And since we are in the middle of a fast, it had to be vegan-ish. So I took two of her recipes, compared them, and made my own.

  • 1 tsp of each: cumin, coriander, cinnamon, curry powder
  • 2 cans of unsweetened coconut milk
  • Yellow curry paste (to taste)
  • Various veggies
  • Coconut oil
  • 1 lb. seitan
  • 1 lb. shrimp (tails off, pre-cooked)
  • Chicken bullion cube
  • 2 tbs. Fish sauce
  • 2 tbs. Lemon or lime juice
  • 1 tbs. brown sugar
  • Rice (I’m not going to tell you how to make rice.)

First, I took a teaspoon of cumin, ground coriander, cinnamon, and curry powder, and toasted them in a skillet. It didn’t take long, and I burned it a little. Turns out that wasn’t bad thing.

Second, I took a can of coconut milk and poured it into the skillet with the seasonings, then I added 3 tablespoons of yellow curry paste. As I stirred this in, I decided it needed more curry, so I think by the end of it I probably used like 8 tablespoons. Probably a bit too spicy for some….I maybe cooked this for 10 minutes and set it aside.

Third, I sauteed 1 medium chopped onion (big pieces) in coconut oil. I’ve been enjoying using coconut and macadamia oils for high heat cooking and a slightly different flavor. (Plus, when we fast in the Orthodox Church, we ditch the olive oil, too.) I love the flavor of the coconut oil, and figured that you can’t have too much coconut in this recipe. After a few minutes, I added a variety of vegetables, including bell peppers, peas, bamboo, mushrooms, and water chestnuts. Oh, and I had a handful of those long dried red peppers…but I soaked them in water for a couple hours beforehand, then chopped them up.

Fourth, once all the veggies looked good and delicious, I spooned most of them into the curry mix in the other skillet. I threw in a pound of Michael’s Savory Seitan and a pound of pre-cooked shrimp. I browned this just a tad, before dumping in some liquids.

Which brings me to five. Her recipes called for 2-1/4 cups of chicken broth or water. I opted for a chicken bullion cube. Mixed it with a cup of water, then I dumped a 12 oz. can of pale ale in with it…and transferred the liquid to the meat. No we’re cookin…let that boil for a while, bring down the volume a bit, then I added a second can of coconut milk and the vegetable-curry mix from the other skillet. Cooked for a few more minutes.

Sixth, I combined the fish sauce, lemon juice, and brown sugar in a cup and stirred it up until the sugar was disolved. Stirred this into the mix with everything else…

And finally, I put it on the table. Rice in a bowl, and curry dish in a separate bowl and enjoyed. Plenty for leftovers tomorrow, and I’m guessing it will taste even better then.

It kinda sounds complicated, but if you’ve got a decent spice rack and you keep veggies on hand, you really only need a few things. In fact, all I needed to buy was peas, bamboo shoots, and water chestnuts.

UPDATE: Upon further reflection, I think I used too much curry paste. It was delicious, but I might pull back a bit in the future.

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