Thai shrimp my new favorite for Lenten Fridays

IMGP0534I’ve been busy in the kitchen. I’ve made Julia Child’s Boeuf à la Bourguignonne that is in Saveur’s “New Classics Cookbook” and a red curry shrimp with pineapple dish in Nancie McDermott’s “Quick & Easy Thai.”

I was happy with both, but way more pleased with the Thai dish. It’s a perfect Lenten recipe for a Friday evening. It goes together quickly and doesn’t require a cartload of groceries and hours of chopping.

It’s not that I haven’t been planning and executing meals. I’ve made them, all right, but I’ve been too lazy to write about them. So here goes on the Thai dish:

cropped-small-plates-blog.pngIf you’ve read this blog for any length of time, you know that I love McDermott’s recipes for Thai, Vietnamese, and Southern soups and stews. I have been relying on old favorites from the Vietnamese cookbook, stuff I’ve blogged about before, so I didn’t give Small Plates much thought. The other night, however, I thumbed through the Thai book. The shrimp with pineapple just called to me.

(Note to Seattle shopping pals: Isn’t “just called to me” our code for “buy it now”?)

Anyway, the result was wonderful, and I pass the dish along to you. I’ll write about the Burgandy-style beef stew soon.

If you’re interested, McDermott’s “Quick & Easy Thai” and “Quick & Easy Vietnamese” are available on Amazon and at Powell’s. I give both books five out of five stars.

Red curry shrimp with pineapple

  • 1½ cups unsweetened coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons red curry paste
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 cup drained canned pineapple chunks or crushed pineapple or bite-sized chunks fresh pineapple 
  • ¾ pound large shrimp
  • 1/3 cup fresh Asian or Italian basil leaves, plus basil sprigs for garnish
  • Rice or angel hair pasta
  1. In a medium skillet or saucepan, heat ½ cup of the coconut milk over medium-high heat, stirring often, until thickened and fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes.

  2. Add the curry paste and cook a minute or two, pressing and stirring to dissolve it.

  3. Stir in remaining 1 cup coconut milk, the water, fish sauce, sugar and pineapple. Bring to a gentle boil.

  4. Add the shrimp and basil leaves and cook another minute or two, just until shrimp are pink and cooked through.

  5. Transfer to a serving dish, garnish with fresh basil sprigs, and serve hot or warm. Add the rice or noodles on the side.

    — Nancie McDermott, “Quick & Easy Thai: 70 Everyday Recipes”





Janet Cleaveland

Janet Cleaveland

What happens when a retired journalist spends a lot more time in the kitchen than in past years? She tries new dishes and jumps at the chance to write a blog about food, family and good times. My kids are grown now, but I'll be looking back at how they learned to cook, what recipes my husband (the Intrepid One) and I are experimenting with, and how food and conversation make for happy times in the kitchen. I worked for The Columbian for 15 years as a copy editor and another 10 elsewhere, though I didn't start out as a journalist. I thought I wanted to teach English literature. My husband grew up in Clark County, and I've lived here since 1983. My kids have grown and left home. Like my husband of 52 years, our adopted chocolate Lab would never pass up a chance for a tasty meal.

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