It’s winter so I’m curry obsessed at the moment and after trying the most delicious prawn yellow curry at Rick Shores I wanted to go ahead and make my own. From scratch. In less than an hour, because what’s life if you don’t challenge yourself?
Turns out this wasn’t that much of a challenge. It was actually easy and tastes AMAZING. Like, I wouldn’t be suggesting making your own curry paste if I didn’t thinkit was achievable. You could make it on a weekend to use during the week but if you have 45 minutes on a weeknight (I know not everyone is as lucky as me in that regard) then this is possible.
I’ve written the recipe with the aim of using time as efficiently as possible, so you’ll be swapping between roasting things for the paste and some chopping for the curry. I’ve also tried to use ingredients that I was able to find at my local supermarket. Mine stocks shrimp paste in the Asian section, if yours doesn’t and you don’t live near an Asian grocers then just sup with a tsp of fish sauce. Warning, shrimp paste STINKS but it has great flavour! But you’ve got to keep it sealed in an air tight container or you’ll stink out your pantry. You’ve been warned.
I love the sweet and spicy balance of yellow curry and using pumpkin in it just adds to this. The prawns are perfect as it’s a more delicate flavour than say red curry but still really luscious and rich.
The paste is the star here. Roasting the garlic and onion gives a real depth of flavour and adding a little cinnamon ups that whole sweet vibe. I just used fresh birdseye chillies in this recipe rather than the dried ones a lot of curry paste recipes ask for. I like the fresh kick they give to the sauce. Turmeric is key here and it make for a serious;y bright yellow paste.
It’s a bit of an insane colour (see photos), by cooking it off in the pan before adding the coconut cream the colour deepens as the curry cooks, to sort of match the pumpkin. I think this is especially excellent as dreary winter days need bright happy curries. This will make enough curry paste for 3 curry dishes. And the leftover paste will keep in the fridge for at least a week, after that transfer it to your freezer. I freeze it in 3 Tbs portions so it’s easy to defrost and use when you need it. If you’re as obsessed with curry as I am this will get used in no time at all.
6 garlic cloves
2 small shallots or the white part of 4 spring onions (you want 5cm length)
1 Tbs ginger, freshly grated
1 Tbs lemongrass paste
1 Tbs coriander root and stem
3 birds eye chillies
3 Tbs turmeric, ground
1 Tbs curry powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground coriander seeds
1/2 tsp fermented shrimp paste (belacan)
100 ml water
500g prawns, shell on (can save time and purchase 400g already shelled)
500g butternut pumpkin
1 400ml can coconut cream
1 cup brown rice, medium grain
1 Tbs coconut oil
Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Line a small oven proof dish with baking paper and place garlic cloves and shallots/onion in it. Roast for 20-30 minutes or until garlic is soft.
Meanwhile: Prepare other curry paste ingredients, excluding water and place in a small food processor.
Remove skin and seeds from pumpkin and chop into bite sized (2cm) pieces.
Shell and clean prawns, you can remove the tails or not, up to you and your eating preference!
Rinse rice and combine with 3 cups of water and a generous pinch of salt in a small sauce pan. Bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes, or according to package directions.
Squeeze roasted garlic into the food processor and add roasted onions. Blend until a rough paste forms, and with the motor running add the water in a steady stream.
Add coconut oil to a large heavy based fry pan and heat over medium high heat. Add 3 Tbs of the curry paste and cook, stirring constantly for 30 seconds-1 minute. Add pumpkin, stir to coat. Add 1 cup of water and stir then cover with a lid and simmer for 10 minutes or until water has almost evaporated. Add 1 more cup and stir to combine. Cover and cook for a further 2 minutes. Pumpkin should be soft. Add prawns and coconut cream. Stir to xcombine and cook for 4-5 minutes. Until prawns are cooked through. Check seasoning and add soy sauce (if required) and lime juice.
Serve over rice with finely chopped spring onion and coriander as a garnish.