Weeknight Curry

Curry pastes are true gifts for weeknight cooks as they make a delicious base for dishes, cutting out most of the work. Here, garlic, Thai bird’s eye chili and ginger amplify what’s already found in the paste to add a bit more oomph to the overall dish.

Make the recipe a few times, then you’ll get the hang of what you like and, from there, throw in whatever quick-cooking vegetables are camping out in your fridge. Try some of the suggestions below (see Recipe Notes).

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Serves 2

  • 7 ounces dried rice noodles
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil or olive oil
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated or minced
  • 1 teaspoon grated or minced fresh ginger, from a 2-inch piece
  • 1 Thai bird’s eye chili, or small hot red chili, seeded and diced (use as much as you can handle)
  • 2 tablespoons red or green curry paste
  • 1 (13.5-ounce) can light coconut milk
  • 8 large peeled shrimp, deveined
  • 2 cups (7 ounces) snow peas, ends trimmed
  • Salt
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1/2 cup (1/2 ounce) fresh cilantro leaves and fine stems roughly chopped, for sprinkling
  • 1/2 cup (1 3/4 ounce) bean sprouts, for sprinkling
  • Lime wedges, for serving
  • 1 small hot red or jalapeño pepper, sliced into coins, for serving (optional)

Efficiency Move: Boil water for the noodles in a kettle. Prep all of the ingredients as the cooking part moves quickly, and submerge the noodles while you prep so that they are ready in time.

Submerge the rice noodles in a shallow bowl of boiling water for 10 minutes until pliable and soft. Drain.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan (skillet) over a medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the shallot and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, and chili and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Mix in the curry paste, stirring to coat the other ingredients, until you smell the spices wafting up, about 1 minute. Stir in a little bit of the coconut milk to deglaze the pan, using a wooden spoon to scrape up any bits on the bottom, then add the remaining milk, stirring to combine. Raise and then adjust the heat to maintain an active simmer.

Add the shrimp, snow peas, and a little salt, cooking until the shrimp are pink all over and no longer translucent and the snow peas are crisp tender, about 3–4 minutes. Stir in the fish sauce and drained noodles, coating them with the sauce. Off the heat, top with cilantro and bean sprouts. Divide between shallow bowls and serve immediately with lime wedges and sliced chilies, if desired.

Recipe Notes: Swap in mushrooms, baby sweetcorn, or other quick-cooking vegetables. Shred leftover chicken and add at the end to warm up. Try white fish instead of shrimp. Add it at the same time as you would the prawns. You can also skip the noodles and serve with steamed rice.

Recipe excerpted with permission from “Keeping It Simple by Yasmin Fahr, published by Hardie Grant Books.

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