Thai Red Curry with Shrimp and Rice Noodles
I love Vegas.
People are always surprised by this fun fact—probably because I appear super classy (riiiight???)—but my affection for Sin City is long-standing, and it runs DEEP. I’m tempted to tell you about all the childhood vacations I spent there, but that would take hours, and it’s possible that you’re only here for the curry. Just know that I watched the OJ Bronco chase at The Mirage, and I was lucky enough to see Siegfried and Roy pre-mauling. Be jealous.
So, a few months ago, when Logan told me he was going to a conference in LV and asked if I wanted to make a weekend out of it, I jumped on the opportunity. Truth be told, I’ve been wanting to go to Vegas with the dude for years. Some people don’t like the idea of going to Vegas with their roommates, and I get that, but personally, I can’t imagine a more perfect Vegas date than Logan. When you find someone who enjoys yard-long cocktails, people watching, and Cirque de Soleil as much as you do, you thank the romance Gods and take that fine piece of ass gentleman to VEGAS, BABY.
I finally got to live out my “roommates in Vegas” fantasy this past weekend, and I’m pleased to report that it was everything I hoped it would be and so much more. I saw a Michael-Jackson themed Cirque de Soleil and ate sushi by a waterfall! I got a “water massage” in a strange tube in The Luxor, drank a yard-long Miami Vice, and bought a gloriously tacky gold snakeskin bikini with a rhinestone “S” (for “Selena“) between the boobs! I rode a rollercoaster and took shirtless photos of Logan for Pure Sex!! I can’t imagine a more magical 56 hours.
I’m now home, and I’m alive, but I imagine I’ll be stuck in Birthday Princess-like “comedown mode” for the next few days (at least). As I’ve mentioned before, it takes my body a while to recover from two glasses of wine, let alone a Vegas thrashing, so my current sitch isn’t exactly the prettiest. I need lots of sleep, water, and plenty of clean, nourishing food. (And for Donna and Josh to get together on The West Wing, God dammit.)
It’s tempting to go on some sort of juice cleanse, but I feel like that would send me into shock, so I’m going to live off this Thai Red Curry with Shrimp and Rice Noodles for a couple days instead. It’s the perfect balance of healthy and comforting, and I swear the stuff has restorative powers.
Loaded with bright, fresh flavors, tender shrimp, and plenty of delicate rice noodles, this Dude Diet-friendly curry has been one of my go-to weeknight dinners for a while now. It’s super satisfying, yet still light—something I appreciate as naked season closes in—and the heat from the red curry paste and crushed red pepper is enough to clear any lingering spring sniffles. (Warning! This shiz is SPICY. Spice babies should definitely leave out the crushed red pepper.) The recipe doesn’t call for fish sauce, but feel free to add a teaspoon or two if you dig its funky umami flavor as much as I do, and don’t be shy when it comes to the toppings, people. Decorating your bowl is half the fun.
What I love most about this spicy curry is that it looks all kinds of fancy and exotic, but it’s laughably easy to pull off. The entire process—which can be boiled down to: “Add things to pot. Stir.”—shouldn’t take you more than 25 minutes, max, and minus the curry paste and rice noodles (both of which are readily available in the Asian section of most markets), the ingredient list is pretty basic. Plus, the one-pot nature of this meal means that there’s virtually no cleanup. Hallelujah, etc.
If you’re not a shrimp person, try this recipe with your favorite fish (I’m partial to halibut or salmon) or chicken breast, cut into 1-inch cubes. Fish will cook in about the same amount of time as the shrimp, but chicken needs 10 minutes, so keep that in mind. Vegetarian/vegan friends, feel free to sub firm tofu (simmer for 10 minutes) or chickpeas, and Paleo peeps can swap rice noodles for zucchini noodles. Prefer a richer curry? Treat yo’self to full-fat coconut milk—it really ups the creamy factor. As you can see, this curry is really a choose your own adventure type of meal, so…
You do you. (Duh.)
Just a heads up, this is not the same red curry that I made on Snapchat a few weeks ago. (Thanks to the wonders of Google Analytics, I creepily know that some of you have been searching for that recipe on the blog.) While similar, this curry is thinner/more soup-y because the rice noodles soak up a lot of liquid. If you plan to ditch the noodles or replace them with zucchini noodles, simply reduce the amount of vegetable broth, or leave it out completely. Just be sure to scale back the soy sauce and sugar slightly as well. (I’d start with 2 teaspoons of each, and go from there.)
I’ll just be here, eating curry in my snakeskin bikini and hoping for the best…
1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil
3 tablespoons Thai red curry paste (such as Thai Kitchen brand)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth, divided
1 tablespoon granulated sugar (cane, brown, or coconut palm sugar will all work)
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1 13.5-ounce can lite coconut milk
1 lime zested
½ lime juiced
4 ounces thin rice noodles (I like Thai Kitchen brand)
1 pound large shrimp (fresh or frozen), peeled and deveined
Freshly chopped cilantro
Thinly sliced jalapeño
Thinly sliced red onion
Heat the coconut oil in a medium sauté pan or Dutch oven over medium heat. When hot, add the curry paste, garlic, and ginger. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly, to unlock the curry’s amazing flavors.
Add the bell pepper, crushed red pepper, and ¼ cup vegetable broth to the pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the peppers have softened slightly.
Add the remaining vegetable broth, along with the sugar, soy sauce, coconut milk and lime zest. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer. Simmer for 10-15 minutes to allow the flavors to combine.
Meanwhile, cook the rice noodles according to the package directions. Briefly set aside.
Add the shrimp to the curry and simmer for 5 minutes until bright pink and opaque. Remove from the heat and stir in the lime juice.
Divide the rice noodles between four bowls. Ladle the curry over noodles and garnish and serve garnished with toppings of your choice.
This curry is spicy. If you’re sensitive to heat, omit the crushed red pepper flakes and jalapeño. This recipe is also great with boneless skinless chicken breasts instead of shrimp. Simply dice the chicken into 1-inch cubes and add it to the pan in step 3. It will cook through in 10 minutes.
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