Cooks in Thailand usually leave the shells on the prawns, and there is no denying that they do have a more intense flavor. If you are worried things could get messy at the table, split the shell down the back and remove the vein before cooking. Then it is a simple matter for diners to extract the meat from the shell with spoon and fork
- 24 large raw prawns or 30 medium-sized raw prawns
- 1 · 400 ml (13 fl oz) can coconut milk
- 3 tablespoons Red Curry Paste (see page 173) or
- Charmaine Solomon’s Thai Red Curry Paste
- 4 fresh kaffir lime leaves
- finely grated zest of 1 kaffir lime
- 1-2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 teaspoon palm sugar (optional)
Use kitchen scissors to cut open the prawn shell down the curve of the back. With a sharp knife slit prawn just enough to expose the sandy intestinal tract and lift it out. In a wok or heavy pan heat half the coconut milk until bubbling. Stir in the curry paste and cook, stirring, until it is thick and fragrant. Stir in the rest of the coconut milk, lime leaves and zest, fish sauce and palm sugar. Bring to a simmer.
Add the prawns and, if they are not submerged, top up the sauce by adding a little water. Simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the prawns are cooked and the sauce slightly reduced and thick. This may take 15 minutes, depending on the size of the prawns. Serve with steamed rice.