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Choo Chee Prawn
1 lb. prawns, or scallops; or a combination of the two
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*
1 Tbs. peanut oil (for precooking fresh mushrooms)
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.
Place them 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 shrimp a few times with running water to wash off all the salt.
If you are using scallops, remove the "heel" which is the cartiledge that attaches the scallop to the shell and is tough. Rinse the scallops and drain well.
Make a well-blended 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.
Heat your wok over a medium-high heat, and add a tablespoon of peanut oil.
Toss in the mushrooms and stir-fry over medium-high heat until they begin
to change color. Splash with a little fish sauce to salt and cook until mushrooms have just softened.
Remove from wok.
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 emit quit a lot of the capsicum.
Season with fish sauce and date palm sugar. Reduce until the mixture is very thick before adding the prawns and/or scallops and slivered kaffir lime
leaves, as you don't want to overcook the shellfish.
Stir-fry over medium-high heat until the prawns and or scallops are nearly cooked.
Add back in your previously cooked mushrooms and well drained canned straw mushrooms, if using stirring well to thoroughly heat and blend ingredients.
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).
Variation: You can substitute the chiles, garlic, shallots, and shrimp paste with a can of Mae Sri Choo Chee Cury paste, but it really doesn't taste the same. Some curry pastes are great, but this is a not-as-good but, very easy substitute.
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