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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Mango Shrimp Curry

From Mondays post I learned two things. First, deep fried foods appeal to everyone! Second, apparently I’m the unusual one for my lack of running and arm-flailing in the presence of bees. Most people seem to cringe at the sight and sound of bees. I’m more of the slowly saunter away from the bees-type of person. I say “Hey bee, you’re cool over there. I’m cool over here, but why don’t I get a little further away from you? Thanks!” Bees and wasps totally freak me out, but I try not to let them know, it’s my little secret. To show you I’m normal, how about some bug stories from my childhood? Always a good time.

Gather your ingredients
My childhood home is beautiful. A cream and brick tudor that sits on a hill, it overlooks an acre of bright green grass. That room with all the windows on the second floor? That’s my room. It sits on the corner and gets a nice breeze in the summertime. It also has gaps in the baseboards.

We had lived in the house for at least ten years before the Japanese beetles invaded. One year, no bugs, the next year, swarms of red beetles. And they bite. They smell like lettuce when you squish them. How do I know this? Read on.

Bring them all together
For some reason, the Japanese beetles decided to take up residence in my room. The beetles were in no other room in the entire house, just my room. Maybe it’s because I’m a girl and I was into Bath and Bodyworks in a big way back then. Maybe the beetles had heard about the nice breeze that flowed through the room. Maybe they are just stupid and I hate them. For whatever reason, the bugs started their migration.

Just a few bugs showed up, at first. I would find them crawling along the wall, flying around the light and generally beetling about. Until one night, when it all went down. Me versus the beetles! Or, as it turned out, the Shop Vac versus the beetles!

Late one summer night I returned home from what I can only assume to be a day full of rollerblading and Dorito eating. I walk into my bedroom, flick on the light switch and I’m greeting to a veritable swarm of Japanese beetles! Hundreds of the little buggers (ha!) beetling all over my stuff. Screams and cries ring out and I run from the room. Here’s the fact – I don’t do well with LOTS of bugs. Especially not in my room. Not cool Japanese beetles.

I run downstairs and find my dad, inform him of the situation and wait for rescue. “There are bugs! Lots of bugs! In my room! Help!” Waiting, hoping for dad to come to the rescue. That’s what dad’s do, they kill bugs. What does dad say? “Shop vac is in the garage.” Humpf, not what I was hoping to hear.

I spent the next hour sucking up Japanese beetles with the Shop vac. I also discovered they were sneaking in through the gaps in the floorboards. A whole box of tissues later my room has been beetle free for the past ten years. You’re welcome parents!

Mango Curry
Adapted from Nigella Express

This recipe has nothing to do with bugs, thankfully! The sauce is now my go to red curry sauce because it was that amazing. The combination of mango and squash with the spicy curry makes for an amazing dinner (or great leftovers for lunch!). Choose your protein, chicken, shrimp or tofu, it’s all up to you. Don’t worry about the fish sauce, it smells terrible in the bottle, but does wonders in the pan!

2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp scallions, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 ½ tbsp red Thai curry paste
1 – 14-oz can coconut milk
1 cup chicken stock
2 tsp fish sauce
1 acorn squash, peeled & cut into 1” cubes
½ lb your desired protein (I went with shrimp)
1 mango, diced
1 tsp lime juice
3 tbsp cilantro, chopped

Heat oil to medium in a wide pan. Add garlic and scallion and cook for 1 minute. Add curry paste and mix it in. Add coconut milk, chicken stock and fish sauce and bring to a boil.

Add acorn squash and simmer, with the lid partially on, for 15 minutes. You want the squash fork tender.

Add shrimp and allow sauce to come back to a boil. Add mango and lime juice and simmer until the shrimp is cooked through (about 2-3 minutes, shrimp will be pink and opaque). Sprinkle on the cilantro and serve over rice. Noms!
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