Wet Markets Are Essential to Thai Cooking. So Why Are They Disappearing?

In the harrowing early days of the pandemic, Prin Polsuk, a preeminent chef and scholar of Thai cuisine, could source many of his ingredients directly from farms and suppliers outside of Bangkok. But still, he visited Khlong Toei, one of the largest we…

In the harrowing early days of the pandemic, Prin Polsuk, a preeminent chef and scholar of Thai cuisine, could source many of his ingredients directly from farms and suppliers outside of Bangkok. But still, he visited Khlong Toei, one of the largest wet markets in Thailand, almost every day.

“The market makes me feel alive,” he tells me over a choppy video call, his youthful face framed by salt-and-pepper scruff. “I go there to get inspired.”

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Ghee-Smoked Chicken That Comes Together on Your Grill

“It started with—let me set the scene—me eating at a stateside Thai restaurant many years ago,” cookbook author Leela Punyaratabandhu writes in the introduction of her recently released Flavors of the Southeast Asian Grill.

“As I examined a skewer of …

“It started with—let me set the scene—me eating at a stateside Thai restaurant many years ago,” cookbook author Leela Punyaratabandhu writes in the introduction of her recently released Flavors of the Southeast Asian Grill.

“As I examined a skewer of chicken satay in my hand, I knew it had been cooked on a griddle hours in advance and reheated in a microwave, which prompted me to let out a small sigh over the wretched fate of how such an iconic grilled dish had become so dry, bland, and utterly devoid of smokiness.” This moment spurred Punyaratabandhu to develop not only a stellar satay recipe, but an entire book on Southeast Asian grilling.

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Vegan Green Curry Veggie Kabobs

These Vegan Green Curry Veggie Kabobs are made with a green coconut curry marinade. They’re great for summer grilling, but work well on indoor grills too. What Happened on the 4th of July Something terrible happened on the 4th of July.

Green Curry Veggie Kabobs
These Vegan Green Curry Veggie Kabobs are made with a green coconut curry marinade. They’re great for summer grilling, but work well on indoor grills too. What Happened on the 4th of July Something terrible happened on the 4th of July.

Vegetarian Thai Veggie Burgers

I’ve lived in a vegetarian household for over seven years now, and it’s fair to say I’ve made my share of veggie burger recipes. Some have been insanely good, some meh, and some downright disgusting. Two qualities are necessary for a …

I’ve lived in a vegetarian household for over seven years now, and it’s fair to say I’ve made my share of veggie burger recipes. Some have been insanely good, some meh, and some downright disgusting. Two qualities are necessary for a good veggie burger: the right texture and, of course, incredible flavor. If you achieve only one of these, your burger will probably fall into the “meh” category—you don’t like it and you don’t hate it, but you probably won’t ever make it again. And if you’re missing both flavor and texture, forget it. Then you have the veggie burgers that have it all, like these sturdy Thai veggie burgers—made all the better because they’re piled high with Thai pickles and finished off with a generous smear of curried cashew cream. They’re a little bit involved, so they’re not your everyday kind of veggie burger, but they’re perfect for a Saturday evening when you’ve got time on your hands and you want to make a dinner that will impress. The secret to perfect veggie burgers Inspired by a Thai Turkey Burgers recipe from Epicurious, these veggie burgers are packed with flavor thanks to Thai spices, toppings, and sauces. And the texture is just right—nice and firm so that they hold up to being topped, sauced, […]

Coconut Shrimp Curry

This easy shrimp curry tastes better than a restaurant in under 30 minutes! It’s a Thai red curry flavored with coconut milk and curry paste. This one left us speechless. Really! Because this shrimp curry tastes better than a restaurant, but it’s a quick and easy dinner you can make at home. There is so much flavor going on here: rich coconut milk, aromatic curry paste, tangy lime and peppery basil surrounding tender, juicy shrimp. Serve it over jasmine rice and your friends and family will be singing your praises. This one is a keeper and even better: it’s a healthy dinner in less than 30 minutes. There are a few secrets to making this Thai red curry: here’s what to do! Keys to making shrimp curry It’s so easy to make a shrimp curry! To make it taste like a Thai red curry you’d get at a restaurant, here are some tips on the most important ingredients in this easy dinner recipe: Thai red curry paste: It’s a paste made of chiles and aromatics like garlic, ginger, and lemongrass and absolutely essential to the flavor! It’s not too spicy and only adds a gentle heat. See below for more. […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

This easy shrimp curry tastes better than a restaurant in under 30 minutes! It’s a Thai red curry flavored with coconut milk and curry paste.

Shrimp curry

This one left us speechless. Really! Because this shrimp curry tastes better than a restaurant, but it’s a quick and easy dinner you can make at home. There is so much flavor going on here: rich coconut milk, aromatic curry paste, tangy lime and peppery basil surrounding tender, juicy shrimp. Serve it over jasmine rice and your friends and family will be singing your praises. This one is a keeper and even better: it’s a healthy dinner in less than 30 minutes. There are a few secrets to making this Thai red curry: here’s what to do!

Keys to making shrimp curry

It’s so easy to make a shrimp curry! To make it taste like a Thai red curry you’d get at a restaurant, here are some tips on the most important ingredients in this easy dinner recipe:

  • Thai red curry paste: It’s a paste made of chiles and aromatics like garlic, ginger, and lemongrass and absolutely essential to the flavor! It’s not too spicy and only adds a gentle heat. See below for more.
  • Large shrimp: Using shell on shrimp is nice because they come out even more flavorful and juicier; or use tail on shrimp if desired.
  • Full fat coconut milk: Use only full fat coconut milk here: it’s gets that essential creaminess to the broth.
  • Fish sauce: It might sound odd if you’ve never cooked Southeast Asian style cuisine, but it’s absolutely essential to adding that authentic flavor in Thai and Cambodian food.
  • Basil or Thai basil: If you can find it, Thai basil is most authentic and has a subtle licorice flavor. If not, whatever fresh basil you can find works!
Shrimp curry

What is Thai red curry?

Alex and I spent time in Cambodia together years ago, and the flavors of this shrimp curry instantly brought us back to Southeast Asia! Cambodian cuisine features curries very similar to Thai red curry.

What is it? Thai red curry is a Thai dish with a sauce made with red curry paste and coconut milk. It can be made with different proteins like chicken, beef, shrimp, or tofu. Then what’s red curry paste? If it’s not part of your cooking repertoire, you’ve got to add it: stat.

Thai red curry with shrimp

The secret: red curry paste

Red curry paste is a jarred paste that makes it easy to make a Thai red curry. It has all the flavors you’d find in the broth, without needing to buy them separately: chili peppers, garlic, lemongrass, ginger, kaffir lime leaves, cumin, coriander, and more. Alex and I use it in all sorts of dishes and it has the best flavor. We highly recommend adding it to your fridge! A few notes on red curry paste:

Do I really need fish sauce?

To many home cooks in North America, fish sauce might sound odd or scary. But here’s the thing: it’s the secret to many Southeast Asian recipes! When Alex and I visited Cambodia, they put fish sauce in just about everything. Why? It adds an incredible depth and savory umami flavor to everything from broths and salads.

Fish sauce is made from fermented fish. Yep, not the biggest selling point! But you can think of it more like a Southeast Asian-style soy sauce. When you add it to the broth in this shrimp curry, it adds a noticeable authentic Thai flavor. Don’t leave it out!

Shrimp curry

Use shell on shrimp for big flavor.

The best shrimp for shrimp curry is shell on or tail on shrimp: mostly because it looks the prettiest! Shell on shrimp has the best flavor: both because it gets the juiciest when cooked in the shell, and because the shell adds a little flavor to the broth. But if the thought of peeling shrimp isn’t desirable (we get it!), tail on shrimp is great too. (Want more shrimp recipes? Here are 10 Healthy Shrimp Recipes.)

Best rice for shrimp curry? Jasmine.

The perfect pair for this shrimp curry is rice: but not just any rice. Jasmine rice! Jasmine rice is also called Thai fragrant rice: because of its beautiful popcorn-like nutty flavor. When Alex and I used it for this shrimp curry, it was the finishing touch that transported us back to Southeast Asia. Try our jasmine rice recipes: How to Cook Jasmine Rice and Instant Pot Jasmine Rice.

If you can’t find jasmine rice, basmati rice works too! Or any type of medium or long grain rice. You can use brown rice too (it has more nutrients), but here we wanted to be ultra-authentic and served it with sticky white rice.

Thai Shrimp Curry

More curry recipes

Love curry? We do too. Once you’ve made this shrimp curry, here are a few more to try! There are lots of types of curry from all over the world: most of the recipes on this site are Indian or Thai-style curries:

  • Easy Chickpea Curry One of our top recipes, this 20-minute chickpea curry is Indian style (made with curry powder, not paste).
  • Vegetable Curry This vegetable curry is the best way to eat your veggies! Cauliflower, bell pepper and chickpeas swim in a flavor-packed broth.
  • Coconut Lentil Curry This fast and easy dinner idea that’s healthy and full of flavor. It has similar flavors to this shrimp curry!

This shrimp curry recipe is…

Pescatarian, gluten-free and dairy-free.

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Shrimp curry

Coconut Shrimp Curry


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

This easy shrimp curry tastes better than a restaurant in under 30 minutes! It’s a Thai red curry flavored with coconut milk and curry paste.


Ingredients

  • Jasmine rice (or basmati rice), for serving
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or coconut oil
  • 3 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
  • 15-ounce can full fat coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • Zest of 1 lime (plus lime wedges to garnish)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 pound large shrimp, shell on or tail on (wild caught if possible)
  • 5 leaves fresh basil or Thai basil, plus more for garnish

Instructions

  1. Start the jasmine rice (or basmati rice).
  2. Mince the onion. Mince the garlic. Cut the pepper into thin strips.
  3. In a large skillet, pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and saute for 5 minutes, until translucent. Add the garlic & red pepper and saute for 1 minute. Stir in the curry paste and saute for 1 minute.
  4. Add coconut milk, fish sauce, turmeric, lime zest, water, and kosher salt and bring to a simmer. Once simmering, add the shrimp and cook about 4 to 5 minutes until the shrimp is tender and opaque, depending on the size of the shrimp. Stir in 5 large leaves basil.
  5. To serve, spoon the shrimp and sauce over rice. Garnish with additional chopped basil and lime wedges.

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Thai

Keywords: Shrimp curry, Thai red curry, Thai shrimp curry, Coconut curry

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

How to Substitute for Fish Sauce in a Pinch

While Leela Punyaratabandhu’s Simple Thai Food: Classic Recipes from the Thai Home Kitchen—one of our favorite resources on the cuisine, to be sure—is “simple” by name, it certainly doesn’t shy away from bold flavors and time-honored techniques.

In th…

While Leela Punyaratabandhu’s Simple Thai Food: Classic Recipes from the Thai Home Kitchen—one of our favorite resources on the cuisine, to be sure—is "simple" by name, it certainly doesn’t shy away from bold flavors and time-honored techniques.

In the book, Punyaratabandhu shares a selection of her family’s most-beloved Thai recipes, many of which don’t require anything more than supplies you’ve already got in your pantry. However, a few dishes do require stocking a few special ingredients—common pantry items in Thai cuisine, but maybe ones that are a bit harder to find elsewhere. And yes, while in the age of near-instant online ordering, sometimes you need to satisfying your Thai craving even sooner

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Recipe | Coconut-Lime Tofu Soup

In case you were wondering, I’m still doing Weight Watchers (and I’ve lost 10 pounds—yay me!). It just feels weird to write about it all the time here. Anyway! I typically find it easy to stick to the plan for breakfast and dinner, and I&#8…

In case you were wondering, I’m still doing Weight Watchers (and I’ve lost 10 pounds—yay me!). It just feels weird to write about it all the time here. Anyway! I typically find it easy to stick to the plan for breakfast and dinner, and I’m not much of a snacker, so that’s not a problem either. But lunch has been difficult. I don’t like frozen foods and I’m not a big salad eater. I did sandwiches for a while, but I burnt out on those. I like some canned soups, but I’m trying to avoid them because of the whole BPA thing. When lunchtime rolls around, it’s usually, “Oh, what I’m going to eat? I guess I’ll have some potato chips and a tangerine.” So I’m not so much over-eating when it comes to lunch—it’s mostly just that I’m eating odd things. Things that don’t really constitute a meal. Not having time to whip up something from scratch on a daily basis, I’ve found that a good solution has been to make a big batch of soup on Sundays to eat during the work week. Soup is easy to heat up and I can have it with some fruit and […]

Creamy Roasted Carrot Soup

Like carrots? You’re going to love this carrot soup recipe. It’s luxuriously creamy and full of incredible roasted carrot flavor. This classic carrot soup is a wonderful…

The post Creamy Roasted Carrot Soup appeared first on Cookie and Kate.

best carrot soup recipe

Like carrots? You’re going to love this carrot soup recipe. It’s luxuriously creamy and full of incredible roasted carrot flavor.

This classic carrot soup is a wonderful soup to serve with your favorite winter salads, sandwiches, and even holiday entrées. Since carrots go well with so many other flavors, it’s a versatile soup to keep in your repertoire.

You might be pleasantly surprised to learn that this creamy soup is actually made without cream. It’s a light and healthy soup, not to mention budget-friendly, too.

peeled fresh carrots

I tried making the soup with sautéed carrots instead of roasted, but roasted carrots give this soup magical powers. If you’re a fan of my butternut squash soup or cauliflower soup, the method for this recipe will be familiar already.

Since I can’t help but play around with flavors, I came up with three fun and simple variations—carrot ginger soup, curried carrot soup, and Thai curried carrot soup with lime. You’ll find details in the recipe notes. It’s about time this food blog had a proper carrot soup recipe, and it’s really four in one!

Continue to the recipe...

The post Creamy Roasted Carrot Soup appeared first on Cookie and Kate.

Curry Lentil Soup

This vibrant curry lentil soup is ultra cozy and healthy! It’s a hearty plant based recipe that’s filling enough for lunch or dinner. Are you a soup lover? Alex and I had a curry lentil soup at a restaurant lately, and after one bite I knew we had to make it at home. Here’s our take on it, and I must say: it’s one of our very favorite soup recipes to date. (With over 50 vegetarian and vegan soup recipes on our website, that’s saying something!) It’s full of hearty red lentils and root vegetables, and the broth is swirled with red curry paste and coconut milk. With all the texture and flavor going on, it feels rich and luxurious. But at the same time it’s a healthy, plant based meal! What’s in this curry lentil soup? This curry lentil soup is almost a stew, and it’s vibrant orange-red color is perfect for cozy afternoons or chilly evenings. It’s chock full of veggies and good for you ingredients, and the perfect example of a whole food plant based (WFBP) recipe gone right. Here’s the magic sauce that makes this recipe tick: Onion, potato, carrots, and…parsnips (optional). The root veggies in […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

This vibrant curry lentil soup is ultra cozy and healthy! It’s a hearty plant based recipe that’s filling enough for lunch or dinner.

Curry Lentil Soup

Are you a soup lover? Alex and I had a curry lentil soup at a restaurant lately, and after one bite I knew we had to make it at home. Here’s our take on it, and I must say: it’s one of our very favorite soup recipes to date. (With over 50 vegetarian and vegan soup recipes on our website, that’s saying something!) It’s full of hearty red lentils and root vegetables, and the broth is swirled with red curry paste and coconut milk. With all the texture and flavor going on, it feels rich and luxurious. But at the same time it’s a healthy, plant based meal!

Curry lentil soup

What’s in this curry lentil soup?

This curry lentil soup is almost a stew, and it’s vibrant orange-red color is perfect for cozy afternoons or chilly evenings. It’s chock full of veggies and good for you ingredients, and the perfect example of a whole food plant based (WFBP) recipe gone right. Here’s the magic sauce that makes this recipe tick:

  • Onion, potato, carrots, and…parsnips (optional). The root veggies in this soup are your standard hitters, with one unique element thrown in: parsnips! They’re uniquely sweet and earthy. But they’re not a flavor deal breaker: sub in an extra carrot if you can’t find them.
  • Garlic and ginger. Aromatics garlic and fresh ginger perfectly flavor the body of the soup.
  • Kale. Why not throw in some leafy greens? They add both color and nutrients.
  • Red lentils. Red lentils cook quickly, making the simmer time on this soup just 10 minutes.
  • Thai curry paste & coconut milk: To bring in the curry element, jarred curry paste brings big flavor, and coconut milk adds creamy body. (See the Curry Paste section below.)
Curry lentil soup

Tips for cutting the veggies: small dice!

The vegetables in this curry lentil soup are a little different than other soups for one reason: they’re chopped into very small squares. Remember that restaurant soup I mentioned up top? Alex and I loved the texture of the veggies being smaller than the standard dice. Here you’ll chop the onion, carrot, potato and parsnip into 1/4-inch cubes.

This method of chopping takes a little longer than a traditional dice, since more precision is required. But it’s worth it! Here’s a photo so you can see the approximate size.

Chopped veggies for soup

The flavor maker: Thai curry paste

The secret to the flavor in this curry lentil soup? Thai red curry paste! This is a jarred paste that combines flavors you’ll find in a Thai curry: garlic, lemongrass, ginger and more. Is Thai curry paste spicy? Actually, it really depends on the brand. So, you’ll have to taste it and add curry paste to taste. The brand we love is very mild, so it doesn’t add heat to this curry lentil soup.

Where to buy Thai curry paste? You can usually find it in the grocery in the international foods aisle. It keeps for months in the refrigerator and you can use it in lots more recipes, like our. Our favorite brand of Thai curry paste is Thai Kitchen, and it’s not very spicy. If you can’t find it at your grocery, you can buy it online: Thai Kitchen red curry paste | Amazon.

Lentil vegetable soup

Are there time savers?

It takes about 40 minutes to make this curry lentil soup. This is about the average time to make a soup, but here are a few time saver ideas:

  • Prep the soup with a spouse, partner, friend, etc. The longest prep time is the chopping: so you could save 10 minutes by adding a second person. That makes it a 30 minute meal!
  • Chop the veggies the night before (keep potatoes in water). You can chop the veggies in advance: this makes it a 20 minute meal! Refrigerate them until making the soup. Potatoes can brown when exposed to air, so keep the peeled and chopped potatoes in a separate container covered with 1 inch of cold water. They’ll keep this way overnight.
Curry lentil soup

Make it a meal! Ways to serve curry lentil soup

This curry lentil soup makes for a tasty, healthy plant based meal. It’s a great intro meal for people who are wary of plant based eating! Here are a few things we’d suggest serving alongside:

This curry lentil soup recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free, and gluten-free.

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Curry Lentil Soup

Curry Lentil Soup (Vibrant & Healthy!)


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 6

Description

This vibrant curry lentil soup is ultra cozy and healthy! It’s a hearty plant based recipe that’s filling enough for lunch or dinner.


Ingredients

  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 1 russet potato
  • 2 large carrots
  • 2 parsnips (or substitute 1 carrot)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon minced or grated ginger
  • 3 large kale leaves (1 cup loose, finely chopped)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups red lentils
  • 28-ounce can crushed fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 quart vegetable broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons red curry paste*
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • Fresh cilantro, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Cut each of these vegetables into small, 1/4-inch cubes (see the photo above for approximate size). Dice the onion, and chop the potato, carrot, and parsnips.
  2. Mince the garlic. Peel and mince or grate the ginger. Finely chop the kale.
  3. Add the olive oil to a large pan and heat over medium heat. Add the onion, potatoes, carrots and parsnips and saute for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the garlic and ginger and saute for 30 seconds.
  4. Add the lentils, kale, tomatoes, broth, water, and kosher salt. Bring to a simmer. Simmer for about 10 minutes until the lentils and veggies are tender.
  5. Stir in the curry paste (to taste)* and the coconut milk. Serve warm, garnished with torn cilantro leaves. Leftovers store well and taste even better.

Notes

*The spice level in Thai curry pastes can vary. Taste and add additional curry paste to your liking. The brand we like (Thai Kitchen) is very mild; we used 3 tablespoons of it and it didn’t add heat to the soup. Others can vary, so just add a bit, taste the soup, and add more to taste.

  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Vegan

Keywords: Curry Lentil Soup

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

I Ate My Way Through Bangkok, but This Is the Dish I Can’t Stop Thinking About

It was my first day in Bangkok. I woke up in a jet-lagged haze, but I also had a rumbling tummy, and a voice in my head telling me not to waste any time. I rolled over to pick up my phone and read the many restaurant suggestions my friend and former co…

It was my first day in Bangkok. I woke up in a jet-lagged haze, but I also had a rumbling tummy, and a voice in my head telling me not to waste any time. I rolled over to pick up my phone and read the many restaurant suggestions my friend and former colleague—also a former contestant on “Top Chef Thailand” and now a chef in Bangkok—Steve Doucakis had texted me. One of them was the name Jeh-O Chula, accompanied by an address and a note saying, “You gotta go here.”

Outside, it was pouring rain—a hot and steamy July evening. I ordered a Grab (Thailand’s version of Uber), and headed out for an early dinner by myself. It was just before 6 p.m. when I pulled up to Jeh-O Chula. “How many?” asked a man with a clipboard at the entrance. “Just one,” I replied. I was seated almost immediately.

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