Thai Shrimp Halibut Curry

So this awesome thing happened: I accidentally made Thai takeout. I guess I shouldn’t have been that surprised. What did I expect when I decided to make a recipe called Thai Shrimp Halibut Curry? (Duh.) Well I didn’t expect it to taste like takeout, that’s for sure. There were several ingredients that I had only a little previous experience cooking with–red curry paste, fish sauce, and coconut milk–so I really wasn’t sure what kind of flavors the combo would yield. (The answer: Delicious, slightly creamy, Thai curry goodness.)

I wish I could say that I’ve been wanting to make this recipe ever since I spotted it in the April 2011 issue of Bon Appetit. While I receive–and devour–the magazine every month, I don’t remember seeing this recipe and I definitely didn’t tear it out. I sort of stumbled upon it earlier this week while searching Epicurious.com for a meal to make with the two frozen halibut filets I had in my freezer.

The one main change I’d make to this recipe (which I’ve included in the instructions below) is sauteing the shrimp in a pan for a few minutes before adding it to the saucy mixture. Although the shrimp cooks and turns pink the way the original recipe is written, I think that shrimp is so much better in taste and texture when it has a slight brown crust on the outside. A more minor change I made is adding crushed red pepper flakes. I read the reviews before making the recipe, and although most people raved about it several noted that it wasn’t spicy at all (kind of surprising for a Thai curry, right?) Since the spice-fiend (Robert) was coming for dinner I knew I had to kick the heat factor up a few notches. Judging from the fact that he didn’t touch the Sriracha sauce I provided on the side, I’d say it passed the test.

Thai Shrimp Halibut Curry

Ingredients:
3 limes
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 cup chopped shallots
1 large red bell pepper, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 1/2 Tbsp peeled, minced fresh ginger
2 1/2 tsp Thai red curry paste
13.5 oz can light coconut milk
1 Tbsp fish sauce
12-16 oz halibut fillets (thawed if frozen) cut into bite-sized pieces
10 oz peeled and deveined raw shrimp
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
1 Tbsp crushed red pepper flakes
Handful of unsalted roasted peanuts
Salt and pepper

Preparation 
Prepare the limes: Zest two limes to measure 1 1/2 tsp. Squeeze 2 tbsp juice from limes. Cut the third lime into wedges.

Heat vegetable oil in a big saucepan over medium-high heat. Add shallots, red pepper, and ginger and saute until peppers soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in curry paste, coconut milk, fish sauce, lime peel, and lime juice. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often. At the same time, heat a small pan over medium-high heat and spray with cooking spray. Sprinkle shrimp with salt and pepper and add to small pan, cooking until it turns pink and slightly brown on the outside. Add halibut to curry sauce. Return sauce to a simmer and cook until fish is is opaque, about 5 minutes. Add shrimp to sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in red pepper flakes and cilantro.

Serve with jasmine or basmati rice (FYI reviewers say it doesn’t pair well with brown rice), top with handful of peanuts and wedge of lime and cilantro for garnish.

Recipe adapted from Epicurious.com. 

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