1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk
3 Thai chiles, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves
6 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 lemon grass stalk, trimmed to bottom 6 inches and chopped
1 (2-inch) piece ginger, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon fish sauce
2 teaspoons packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon grated lime zest, plus lime wedges for serving
1 teaspoon ground cumin
6 ounces sugar snap peas, strings removed
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into ½-inch pieces
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 pound extra-large shrimp (21 to 25 per pound), peeled, deveined, and tails removed
¼ cup fresh Thai basil leaves
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS Unlike Indian curries, Thai curries almost always contain coconut milk. Also, they tilt the spice balance towards fresh aromatics in the form of a homemade chile paste. For a streamlined Thai shrimp curry dish that was scaled down in effort but not in flavor, we eliminated homemade curry paste and went with a simplified sauce that could be easily assembled in the blender. A little chicken broth cut through the richness of a full can of coconut milk, while easy-to-find Thai staples such as Thai chiles (serrano or jalapeño chiles make great substitutes), fish sauce, lemon grass, brown sugar, lime juice, cilantro, and basil offered welcome complexity. Quick-cooking shrimp, snap peas, and red bell pepper paired well with our flavorful sauce. For a smooth sauce we found we needed to blend the ingredients first before heating it up in the blender. The vegetables needed a quick spin in the microwave to ensure tenderness and we also drained off excess liquid so as not to dilute our delicious curry sauce. We added the vegetables and the shrimp to the blender partway through the cook cycle. Note that because of the volume in the blender, the temperature of the sauce drops dramatically when you add the vegetables and shrimp—the shrimp effectively poaches at a low gentle temperature until just cooked and tender, while the snap peas and bell pepper remain tender-crisp. If you can’t find Thai basil leaves, regular basil will work fine. Serve over rice.
1. Place coconut milk, chiles, cilantro, garlic, lemon grass, ginger, fish sauce, sugar, lime zest, and cumin in Ace blender. Lock lid in place, then process on high speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Scrape down sides of blender jar. Return lid and select soup program 1 (for chunky soups).
2. Meanwhile, microwave snap peas, bell pepper, and oil in bowl until vegetables are just beginning to soften, about 3 minutes; drain and set aside.
3. Pause program 12 minutes before it has completed. Carefully remove lid and stir snap peas, bell pepper, and shrimp into sauce until fully submerged. Return lid and replace lid cap with food tamper. Resume program, using tamper as needed to stir ingredients. Once program has completed, stir in basil and season with salt to taste. Serve with lime wedges.