There are many variations of this
delicious coconut milk-based curry all over the south of Vietnam. This
recipe is made with shrimps, squid and scallops but you could use any
combination of shellfish, or even add chunks of filleted fish. Because
there are so many Indian spice mixes and pastes sold in the southern
markets, most recipes call for "curry powder". Choose a good curry powder
or use garam masala. Serve with steamed rice or baguettes broken into
chunks, with a few extra chilies to munch on the side.
Fresh root ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
Garlic, roughly chopped
Groundnut (peanut) oil
Onion, finely sliced
Lemon grass, finely sliced
Green or red Thai chilies, seeded and finely sliced
Curry powder or garam masala
Can coconut milk
Lime, juice and rind
Medium size squid, cleaned and cut diagonally into 3 or 4 pieces
King or queen scallops, shelled
Good-sized raw shrimps, shelled and deveined
Small bunch of fresh basil, stalks removed
Small bunch of fresh coriander (cilantro), stalks removed,
Using a mortar and pestle, grind the
ginger with the garlic until it almost resembles a paste.
Heat the oil in a traditional clay pot,
wok or heavy pan and stir in the onion.
Cook until it begins to turn brown, then
stir in the garlic and ginger paste.
Once the aromas begin to lift from the
pot, add the lemon grass, chilies and sugar. Cook briefly before adding
the shrimp paste, nuoc mam and curry powder or garam masala.
Stir well and allow the flavors to mingle
and fuse over the heat for 1-2 minutes.
Add the coconut milk, lime juice and rind.
Mix well and bring the liquid to the boil. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Season
to taste with salt.
Gentle stir in the squid, scallops and
shrimps and bring the liquid to the boil once more. Reduce the heat and
cook gently until the shellfish turns opaque. Add the basil leaves and
sprinkle the coriander over the top. Serve immediately from the pot.
First peel off the shells, then make a
shallow cut down the centre of the curved back of each shrimp. Carefully
pull back the black vein with a cocktail stick (toothpick) or your
fingers, then rinse the deveined shrimp thoroughly.