By Laura Ratliff and Ryan Smith | April 10, 2012

Photo: Laura Ratliff

Last year, when Laura’s intrepid traveling aunts visited Thailand and Southeast Asia, they were inspired to take Thai cooking classes. Each day of their class, they visited the local market to purchase their ingredients then returned to cook a delicious meal. One recipe that they returned with was a great green curry paste, used here in a hearty, spicy meal of green curry shrimp served over fragrant jasmine rice.

There is no comparison between jarred green curry and the homemade version. The shortcut is tempting, but the second your kitchen is filled with the aroma of green chilies, coriander, ginger and lime, the jarred stuff will be the furthest thing from your mind. Plus, curry paste keeps forever in the freezer and you can cut off chunks as you need it, whether it be for a full-fledged meal or just as a topper for some steamed rice.

I found almost all of the ingredients at Chelsea Market here in the city, but my aunt (who lives in Montana) recommends ImportFood.com for hard-to-find items. Even I couldn’t find Kaffir lime leaves, so I used lime zest, as I mentioned in the recipe.

Photo: Laura Ratliff

Rather than purchasing shrimp stock, I peeled my own shrimp and boiled their shells for a bit to make a tasty, fresh stock. If you have the time, I highly recommend it. Also, we used about 3 tbsp. of the curry paste, which was quite spicy, so adjust as needed.

Photo: Laura Ratliff

Once the curry paste is prepared, the actual dinner comes together very quickly. It would be impressive for a dinner party, or as the weather warms up, a nice meal on a patio or in the backyard.

Laura Ratliff and Ryan Smith are the authors of Smith & Ratliff, a New York City-based lifestyle blog. They write about food, cocktails, art, style and life in New York City. Follow them on Twitter: @smithratliff

Photo: Laura Ratliff

Thai Green Curry Shrimp Recipe

Servings: 5
Calories: 185 per serving
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 35 mins


Deb's Green Curry Paste
  • 15 fresh green Thai chilies
  • 3 shallots, sliced
  • 9 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp finely sliced fresh galangal (Thai ginger)
  • 1 tbsp sliced fresh lemon grass
  • 10 finely sliced kaffir lime leaves (or lime zest)
  • 1 tsp chopped coriander root (or cilantro stems)
  • 5 peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp roasted coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp roasted cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp shrimp paste
Deb's Thai Green Curry Shrimp
  • 2 tsbp oil
  • 2 cup diced eggplant
  • 1/2 cup chopped white onion
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 to 4 tsbp green curry paste, depending on desired degree of heat
  • 6 Kaffir lime leaves (or lime zest)
  • 1 14-oz. can baby corn
  • 2 tsbp Thai fish sauce
  • 1 14-oz. can coconut milk
  • 1 cup shrimp stock
  • 1 1/2 lbs shrimp
  • 1/4 cup chopped Thai basil (or blend of Italian basil and mint)
  • 1/4 tsp salt


Deb's Green Curry Paste

1. Roast coriander and cumin seeds in a hot iron skillet, shaking and stirring, for about 2 minutes or until fragrant.

2. Combine roasted coriander and cumin seeds and peppercorn in a mortar or spice grinder and blend to powder. Set aside.

3. By pounding in a mortar or using a food processor, grind chilies with salt. Add the remaining ingredients except the spice mixture and the shrimp paste and pound or process until well mixed.

4. Add the cumin mixture and shrimp paste and pound or process until smooth and fine.

Deb's Thai Green Curry Shrimp

1. In wok or large saute pan, heat oil over medium high heat. Add eggplant and onions and cook until softened, 3 to 5 minutes.

2. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the curry paste and stir until fragrant. Add lime leaves and fish sauce and stir 15 seconds.

3. Add the coconut milk and shrimp stock and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer until thickened 3 minutes.

4. Add shrimp and cook until pink, about 2 minutes. Season with salt, adjusting seasonings as needed.

5. Stir in basil, baby corn, and remove from heat. Garnish with basil or chiles and serve with steamed jasmine rice.

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