Prawn Curry (Gulai Udang)
Friday, 29 May 2009
At a glance
10 dried small hot red chiles, such as piquins, stems removed
5 candlenuts (or substitute macadamia nuts or cashews)
2 stalks lemongrass, bulbs included
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 large piece galangal, peeled and chopped (or substitute ginger)
1 small onion, chopped
1 teaspoon prawn or shrimp paste
1 tablespoon ghee (recipe here) or vegetable oil
4 curry leaves (optional)
1 1/2 pounds prawns or large shrimp, peeled, heads and tails removed (optional), deveined if desired
1 1/2 cups thick coconut milk, recipe here
In a food processor, combine the chiles, nuts, lemongrass, turmeric, galangal, onion, and prawn paste and puree to a fine paste.
In Malaysia, this dish is sometimes prepared with as many as forty small, red-hot chiles, making it one of the hottest dishes in the Spice Islands. I have toned it down a bit, but it is still quite hot. In some versions of this gulai, tomatoes and/or tamarind paste are added. Serve the curry in banana leaves for a dramatic presentation.