Every time I’m out for Thai food, I always gravitate towards the green curries. I’m not sure what it is — it’s such a satisfying, delicious combination of tastes and textures. Plus, it’s a hearty and nourishing meal — complete with veggies, fat (from the coconut milk), protein (from shrimp, tofu or meat of choice), and grains (like brown rice or in this case, farro).
My favorite Atlanta spot is Panita Thai Kitchen. It’s in Virginia Highland, tucked behind Surin, another (much trendier) Thai place, and it doesn’t have a website. Honestly, the restaurant is a little off-putting and the staff is literally a Thai husband and wife who live upstairs. It’s kind of a bizarre experience, but the food is worth it (despite Yelp reviews, it is truly delicious and better than Surin). They have to be doing something right because they have survived in a pretty prime location for quite some time. It’s the real deal. But I really can’t wait to travel to Thailand one day to get the even real-er deal.
Yet I’ve always been intimidated of making my own curry for some reason. It wasn’t until I was talking recipes with my talented foodie friend Kenan Hill that I realized how easy making curry can actually be. But it did take me about 4 or 5 times to get this recipe exactly how I wanted it, and I promise it’s yummy. If you’re looking for an easy, nourishing, delicious and balanced meal that you can make in about 30 minutes, this one’s for you. This recipe can serve as your curry template. Feel free to mix and match some of your ingredients.
The base for a Thai curry is so simple. You just need coconut milk, curry paste and all your spices. I played around a lot with the spices to figure out the tastiest combo. It actually ended up looking more like a yellow curry because of the turmeric! Oh, and if you don’t like spices! No worries. See recipe below for modifications to tone it down a notch.
For this curry, feel free to sub in any of your favorite veggies. For this one, I went with carrots, snap peas, mushrooms and onion.
You can use shrimp, tofu, chicken or whichever protein choice you prefer. For this recipe, I gave it a bigger protein boost and thickened it up by adding white beans. I got the idea from my aunt Carolyn who is always getting creative in the kitchen. You can either mash the white beans yourself (I used my pestle from my mortal & pestle) or your blender. If you do it yourself, you’ll most likely have a few whole beans in your curry. If you blend it, … well, you won’t!
Last but not least, choose your favorite grain. You can use brown or white rice, farro or quinoa. Of course, choosing a whole grain will increase the fiber and overall nutrient content of the meal. I love farro — I call it fat rice because it’s like giant rice! I like the texture more than any other grain and find it very satisfying.
I hope you enjoy your curry!
With love and light,
Spicy Shrimp & Veggie Curry
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1 cup Farro (dry)
1 can coconut milk
2 Tbsp green curry paste
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp cayenne pepper (cut in half for less spice or omit for no spice)
1 garlic clove, chopped
Juice of 1 lime
1 small yellow onion, chopped
4 large carrots, chopped
2-3 cups mushrooms, chopped
1 cup snap peas
1 lb. frozen shrimp, defrosted, peeled and deveined
1 can white beans or Great Northern Beans, almost drained
Salt, to taste
Prepare farro per package instructions.
Blend or mash beans and set aside.
While farro is cooking, in a large, deep pan, bring coconut milk to a simmer.
Add curry paste, all spices, garlic and lime juice. Bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to medium to medium-high.
Add vegetables. Cover and cook until softened, about 15 minutes. Stir occasionally.
Add shrimp and cook for 4 to 6 minutes on medium high.
Stir in bean puree until well combined.
Add salt to taste and serve over farro.
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