A Boxing Day Curry — An Easy Shrimp Veggie Dish

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So I have no idea what you are traditionally supposed to eat (if anything) on Boxing Day, the British holiday. Until recently, I erroneously thought “boxing day” had something to do with box lunches. Apparently, it has more to do with servants, and giving them gifts in a box. (Who knew!) Not having servants, I thought it best to appropriate the holiday instead for eating a curry. After days of traditional American eats (ham, salads and christmas cookies), it was time for a hot and spicy Thai meal.

The recipe below serves 4 people (most of my recipes are for 2) — but we were dining with my in-laws, who love curry, so hence this is for four. You really can use any combination of veggies…I chose these for variety, and because they were easy to find. I prefer using frozen coconut milk, which doesn’t have preservatives, but canned coconut milk is fine. To note: This is a very streamlined recipe, not as complex or labor-intensive as a proper Thai curry.  If you happen to have kaffir lime leaves on hand, chiffonade and throw them in, too.

This recipe contains my Fab Four — fish sauce, oyster sauce, palm sugar and sambal oelek — which are a must if you are a lover of Asian cuisine.

A Boxing Day Curry — An Easy Shrimp Veggie Dish

3 tbsp coconut oil or any veggie oil

for paste:
8 cloves garlic
4 inches ginger
1 lemongrass, lower third of stalk, sliced diagonally
(Purée all that into paste)

2 tbsp fish sauce
4 tbsp oyster sauce
3 tbsp chile paste (I prefer sambal oelek, a cousin of Sriracha)
1.5 tbsp palm sugar
1 can of coconut milk
2 birds eye chile, diced
1.5 lb shrimp
1 red bell pepper, julienned
1 orange bell pepper, chopped
1 small zucchini, thin spears
1 small yellow squash, chopped
1 handful oyster mushroom, sliced
Handful green beans, chopped
3 baby bok choys, sliced
Thai basil (optional)
jasmine rice

To start, make a paste by pureeing garlic, ginger and lemongrass in a food processor. Heat oil in a wok (or large pan) and fry paste until fragrant, stirring constantly over medium high heat. Add fish sauce, oyster sauce, chile paste and palm sugar; mix until the palm sugar has melted and you’ve got a nice dark looking sauce. Pour in can of coconut milk. (Add a little water or white wine if you want it extra saucier.) Add chiles (optional) for more heat. When that boils, add shrimp….push shrimp down until covered with the sauce, and allow to cook for a minute or two. While the shrimp is still cooking, add most of the veggies (bell peppers, zucchini, squash, mushroom and beans) and stir so that everything is cooking. If you’ve got a lid, you can cover the pot a bit to help the process along. When all is nearly done, add the bok choy and thai basil (optional), and remove from heat. Serve over jasmine rice. Delicious!

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