There are many variations of this delicious coconut milk-based curry all over Southeast Asia. Because there is a strong Indian influence in the culinary of southern Vietnam, this variation uses Indian curry powder.
Recipe for Saigon Prawn Curry with Basil
Ingredients for Saigon Prawn Curry with Basil:
- 30 g fresh ginger, roughly chopped
- 2-3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 onion, halved and finely sliced
- 2 stalks lemongrass, trimmed and finely sliced
- 2 fresh red or green chillies, stalk and seeds removed and finely sliced
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 2 tbsp shrimp paste
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 2 tbsp curry powder
- 475 ml unsweetened coconut milk
- Juice and zest of 1 lime
- Salt to taste
- 900 g prawns, shelled and deveined
- 1 tomato, seeded, sliced
- Small bunch basil leaves
- Small bunch coriander, finely chopped
- Using a pestle and mortar, pound ginger with garlic until it almost resembles a paste.
- Heat oil in a traditional clay pot, wok or heavy pot and stir in onion. Cook until it begins to turn brown, then stir in garlic-ginger paste.
- Once aromas begin to lift from pot, add lemongrass, chillies and sugar. Cook for 1-2 minutes, before adding shrimp paste, fish sauce and curry powder.
- Stir well and allow flavours to mingle and fuse over the heat for a minute or two before adding coconut milk, lime juice and zest.
- Mix well and bring liquid to the boil for 2-3 minutes. Season with salt to taste.
- Gently stir in prawns and bring liquid to the boil once more.
- Reduce heat and cook gently for 2-3 minutes until prawns turns opaque.
- Toss in basil leaves and sprinkle coriander over top. Serve immediately from pot with chunks of crusty bread to mop up sauce.