There are so many ways of making this type of dish – it can be a blog entry every day for many months. From what type of starch to use to how to marinate your seafood, there are so many great choices and the cool part is – none of them would be wrong!
Important things to understand about this dish are: it’s a spicy dish – it needs chilies! It’s a flavorful dish. It will need basil, ginger, galangal and lemongrass – all of which are flavorings associated with Thai food. It MUST have fresh seafood! Fresh seafood is the key – always buy the best seafood you can find. I get mine in Whole Foods or my local Chinese market. I do not recommend buying seafood in standard supermarkets – no matter what tricks you use it is still frozen, cheap seafood. Your dish will need rice or pasta and a few nice vegetable selections: I use baby corns, bamboo shoots or water chestnuts.
Shrimp ½ -1 lb
Scallops ½ – 1 pound
Calamari (cut into rings)
Ginger (1 large clove)
Red Thai Chillie peppers (crushed, or fresh, or whole) a teaspoon, or 4-5 small pieces, or 1 fresh pepper
6-8 basil leaves
Soy sauce (2 table spoons)
Coconut Milk ½ can
Sesame oil – 1 tsp
Turmeric ½ tsp
Method: Pan fry, sauté
Cookware: Wok or Saute Pan
Cook linguini pasta or rice in advance, as directed on the package. If cooking linguini, (which is what I do) cook it 5 minutes in advance.
Combine seafood in a colander, peel shrimp, pour a ½ cup of salt on seafood and run cold water over seafood for 10-20 minutes. Make sure to wash all salt out. This method gets rid of all impurities in seafood – a cleaning method. Wash out carefully and pat dry. Mix ginger, chillie flakes, basil, turmeric paste (see tips & tricks below), soy sauce and sesame oil. Whisk in and add seafood to it. Marinate for 30 minutes or more.
Heat oil in a wok or a large sauté pan, lift up seafood from marinade with a slotted spoon and brown your seafood on very high heat, just until well browned. Add your choice of vegetables at the same time. Add marinade and coconut milk and steep for a minute or two and take off heat. Pour over seafood and serve immediately.
Tips & Tricks:
I do use pasta, not rice noodles. Why? Linguini works best for me. It just gives the right taste and texture. My second choice is brown rice or a mixture of brown and wild rice.
Salt out you seafood for at least 10 –20 minutes: it’s the key to making great seafood. Not only does it make seafood taste better, but the texture improves as well. It’s an ancient Chinese method. You might as well use it. I do, and it works.
My personal trick is this: I find there is a difference in how you make your curry. I take basil leaves, turmeric, chilies and ginger and using pestle and mortar create a paste or curry that will be the base for this dish. Its different from using a grinder, blender, chopping etc – you gotta use pestle and mortar.
Flash fry seafood first in hot oil and brown, then add sauce and lower heat to steep seafood in your marinate. I brown scallops first, and then add shrimp & squid. I find that scallops need to cook a few minutes longer. Good luck – this dish is really good when its got a kick to it – have fun with that chilly!