On a recent trip home to Syracuse, my mother presented me with a zucchini before I headed to the airport. “We have too many,” she said — a familiar refrain of many upstate gardeners. By the time I got to the airport, I had completely forgotten about the inconspicuous squash…until my bag set off alarms at security.
Apparently, the vegetable has a very suspicious shape, at least when run through an Xray machine. The guard who called me aside and searched my bag quickly realized it was a zucchini — but still had to run a swab over it (rather sheepishly) and test the offending zuke for explosive materials. I got my zucchini back, but only after TSA was assured it was not a bomb. All of which made zucchini — once a ho-hum veggie, in my mind — now suddenly alluring. And perfect for a summertime curry.
Above you’ll see Red Coconut Curry with Zucchini and Bamboo Shoots…a recipe that I recently tried with thinly sliced organic chicken breast (yum!). I also tossed in a bit of Thai basil, which tastes deliciously minty, though it wasn’t absolutely necessary. Me and the steady dining companion (who also helped me make a fresh red curry paste) enjoyed it with a beer.
I made the recipe again this past Saturday, when CrackingCurry.com had the pleasure of catering Antipodean Emily’s “house cooling” – a celebration of her move from Harlem to parts downtown. I doubled the recipe, substituted shrimp for chicken, and served it with a big batch of jasmine rice….a photo of the empty pots are at right — proof that it was devoured!
Avid readers will recall, by the way, that this is the second event CrackingCurry has catered this year….don’t forget Curry Fest 2011 at David’s place in April! (Side note: David is also an Antipodean, which can only mean one thing: Antipodeans really like curry.)
The recipe is below. If you’re wondering what to do with your zuccini (besides getting yourself on a Terror Alert list) wonder no more. Enjoy!
Red Curry With Zucchini and Bamboo Shoots
2/3 cup coconut cream (about half a can)
3 tbsp red curry paste
3 1/2 tbsp fish sauce
2 1/2 tbsp palm sugar
1 can coconut milk (or use frozen fresh coco milk)
1 lb organic chicken breast (sliced) or shrimp
1 zucchini, quartered lengthwise and sliced thinly (photo below)
one can bamboo shoots
4-6 kaffir lime leaves, shredded
3 bird’s eye chili peppers, sliced
several leaves of fresh thai basil (optional)
Heat the coconut cream on high heat in the wok, splashing up against the sides, then scraping down, until it reduces and glistens (at this point it’s “cracked.”) Add the curry paste; cook for several minutes until fragrant. Add the fish sauce and palm sugar. Mix in coconut milk, and bring to boil. Add pieces of chicken/shrimp, then zucchini, push down til covered and allow to cook for several minutes. Mix in bamboo shoots and shredded kaffir lime leaves. Add chili peppers, adjusting heat to suit your taste. If desired, throw in a few (whole) leaves of thai basil. Serve over jasmine rice. Enjoy!