Mixed Seafood Curry (Choo Chee Talay)
1/3 lb. scallops
1/3 lb. firm white fish chunks
1/2 lb. fresh mushrooms, cut in quarters,
1 cup coconut cream, (the thickest part on the top of a can of coconut milk)
4-8 Thai Dragon chiles or 5 red serrano peppers, chopped
3-10 dried red chillies, soaked to soften, then chopped
1 head garlic, or about 12-15 cloves, minced
6 shallots, chopped
2 tsp. "kapi" shrimp paste*
2-3 Tbs. fish sauce (näm plah), or to taste
1-2 tsp. palm sugar, or to taste
10 small kaffir lime leaves, finely slivered
A few sprigs of cilantro for garnish
Adjust the amount of chiles to your taste
*Kapi (shrimp paste) place the required amount on a double layer of tinfoil and place for a few minutes in your toaster oven to develop the flavours. This "frying" releases much of the fragrance.
Shell the prawns, devein, and butterfly. Cube firm white fish into 3/4# bite sized pieces. Remove the "heel" on the scallops, which is the cartiledge that attaches the scallop to the shell and is tough.
Place these in a bowl and add a teaspoon of sea salt and a little ice water
to cover. Mix well, massage the shrimp a bit with your finger tips as
this allows the ice cold salt water to refresh the shrimps, and set aside 15-20 minutes. Rinse seafood a few times with running water to wash off all the salt.
Make a well-blended (pounded) paste out of the ingredients; fresh red peppers, shrimp paste, garlic, shallots, dried chiles, either by pounding ingredients with a mortar and pestle, or by processing them in a blender or food processor.
Prepare the other ingredients as listed.
Spoon a cup of coconut cream from the top of a can of coconut milk
into the wok and heat over high heat. Reduce the cream for a few
minutes to thicken.
Stir in the chile paste and fry until fragrant and until the oil has clearly separated from the cream. I usually oopen a kitcben window as the chile emits quit a lot of the capsicum.
Reduce until the mixture is very thick before adding the seafood, mushrooms, and slivered kaffir lime leaves, as you don't want to overcook the seafood.
Stir-fry over medium-high heat until the seafood is nearly cooked.
Add date palm sugar and fish sauce to taste. Adjust seasonings as needed.
Place in a shallow serving dish and garnish with a few sprigs of cilantro.
Serve hot with steamed jasmine rice. Sometimes we serve this with steammed broken Jasmine (Hom Mali Thai or new crop jasmine rice).
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