One of my closest friends, Mike, is leaving the country soon. His girls have grown up and left home. He and their mother split up a long time ago. So he’s packed in his career, sold his house and bought a backpack. And in a couple of weeks’ time, I’ll be driving him to the airport wondering if I’ll ever see him again.
His first stop is going to be Thailand, so by way of a goodbye feast, I decided to cook him something special to get him in the culinary zone for what lies ahead.
This recipe uses a lot of ingredients, but if you want to cheat it, buy a jar of good quality Thai red curry paste.
16-20 tiger prawns, cooked and shelled
1 butternut squash, peeled and chopped into chunks
16-20 sugar snap peas, sliced in half
Thin egg noodles, enough for 2-3, and cooked according to packet instructions, approx. 3 mins.
For the paste:
2 tbsp vegetable or sunflower oil
2 red chillies, deseeded
6 kaffir lime leaves
1/2 onion, peeled and chopped
5 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
Ping pong ball-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp black pepper
For the curry sauce:
1 can coconut milk
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp palm or caster sugar
1 tbsp fish sauce
Bunch of basil leaves, stalks removed and chopped
1. Put all the ingredients for the paste into a small blender with 1 tbsp oil and whizz into a coarse paste.
2. Heat a large frying pan and add 1 tbsp oil. Gently fry the spice paste until soft, approx. 5-6.
3. For the sauce, add the coconut milk and the rest of the ingredients, except the basil, to the frying pan.
4. Stir, then add the squash chunks and coat thoroughly in the sauce. Add a little water if it seems too thick. Cook the squash in the sauce for 15-20 mins until the squash is tender.
5. Meanwhile, bring a saucepan of water to the boil and par-cook the sugar snap peas for 4-5 mins, until tender.
6. Add the peas and the prawns to the sauce and stir to coat. Cook for 2-3 mins until everything is piping hot. Add the basil 20 secs towards the end of cooking, stirring through.
7. In a separate saucepan of water, cook the noodles and serve with the Thai prawn curry piled on top.