Friday, January 26, 2007

Lemongrass shrimp

I love thai food, but it's often excessively greasy in restaurants. I've been experimenting for some time to develop a stir fry that actually tastes somewhat authentic. I used the vegetables that I had in the fridge, but you could use something different if you prefer. Slicing the vegetables thinly reduces the cooking time in this dish.

Lemongrass shrimp
Serves 2

2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 inch piece of ginger or galangal, peeled and sliced
1 serrano chile, seeded and deveined
3 kaffir lime leaves, sliced (if you can't find these, you could try using a few teaspoons of grated lime zest)
2 stalks of lemongrass - remove tough outer leaves and slice up the softer inner core
a pinch of salt and pepper

2 teaspoons canola oil
1 and 1/2 cups medium peeled shrimp
1 cup thinly sliced carrots
1 cup thinly sliced celery
1/2 cup thinly sliced red bell pepper
1 tablespoon thai fish sauce
1 tablespoon chicken broth
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
salt and pepper to taste

Steamed rice or cooked noodles for serving

Combine garlic, ginger, chile, lime leaves, lemongrass, salt and pepper in a food processor. Grind into a paste - this mixture is really pungent when it's raw. The smell and taste mellow out when cooked.

Heat the canola oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the lemongrass paste and saute for about 2 minutes. Add the carrots, saute for 6 minutes. Add the celery and bell pepper, saute for another 2-3 minutes. Add in the shrimp, chicken broth and fish sauce; cook until the shrimp are pink and opaque. Add salt and pepper if necessary. The fish sauce is pretty salty, and when I made this, I used unsalted chicken stock, so just be careful when adding any additional salt. Stir in the cilantro and serve over rice or noodles.

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