October 27, 2011

Khmer seafood curry

I learnt to prepare this Cambodian seafood curry when I was in Siem Reap (check my previous post for more details about Khmer cooking).

This is the first of a series of three Khmer recipes, as two more will come soon... Meanwhile, I really hope you try your hand at Cambodian cooking and enjoy this delightful curry!

The quantities below are suitable for two people to share after a starter, or for one person as a meal.

Ingredients for the curry sauce
Curry paste
3 sticks of lemongrass
1/2 shallot
3 cloves of garlic
A small cube of galangal (or ginger)
A piece of fresh tumeric (~5cm long)
2 kaffir lime leaves
Red chillies
Coconut milk (~2 ladles, or 1 cup)
Fish sauce
Chicken stock powder
Vegetable stock (~10 ladles, or 5 cups)

1 carrot
1/2 sweet potato
1/2 onion
2 snake beans (string beans will do the trick too if you can't find any snake beans)
A mix of shrimps and pieces of flat squid

Start with preparing the curry paste:
Discard the green ends of the lemongrass to keep the white parts only, and slice these very fine. Peel and slice the shallot very fine. Peel and chop the garlic, galangal and tumeric very small. Discard the veins of the kaffir lime leaves, and chop the leaves very fine. Cut 1 red chilli into small pieces.

Gather all the ingredients except the garlic and the shallot, and pound by hand or with an electric grinder. When it's all well crushed, add the garlic and the shallot and pound further until everything is well crushed and blended together.

Move on to the toppings then:
Using a julienne peeler if you have one (a regular peeler is fine otherwhise), peel the carrot and the sweet potato. Cut them both in medium-sized chunks. Peel and cut the onion in medium-sized slices. Cut the snake beans into 3-centimeter long pieces.

Finally, make a criss-cross pattern on each piece of squid with a small sharp knife (make sure not to cut completely through), and cut them in pieces of approximately 3 square centimeters each.

You now have everything ready to start cooking the curry.

In a large pan, bring 1 ladle of coconut milk to the boil. Add the curry paste and the carrot and stir well.

Add 1 tbsp of fish sauce, 1 tsp of chicken stock powder, 1/2 tsp of sugar and 7 ladles of vegetable stock. Stir well and let boil for 10-15 minutes or until the chunks of carrot start to become tender.
Add the sweet potato, the onion and 1 more ladle of vegetable stock. Stir and let boil for a few minutes again.
Add the snake beans, the seafood, 2 more ladles of vegetable stock and 1 more ladle of coconut milk. Stir and let boil for a few more minutes until the carrot and the sweet potato are cooked to your liking.

Taste and add a little more coconut milk, fish sauce or red chilli if you want your curry a little more sweet, salty or spicy. Serve with steamed white rice and enjoy...

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