750 g/1 1/2 lb large raw prawns (jumbo shrimp)
400 ml/14 fl oz can coconut milk
2-3 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
4 kaffir lime leaves
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lime rind
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 teaspoons palm sugar
For the best flavor, cook and serve the prawns in their shells. If the shell is split down the back it will be easy to remove the shell with spoon and fork. With kitchen scissors trim any long feelers and cut open the shell down the curve of the back without removing it. With a sharp, pointed knife slit the flesh to expose the vein and lift it out.
In a wok or frying pan, heat half the coconut milk until bubbling, add the red curry paste and cook, stirring, until oil shines on the surface and it smells fragrant. Dilute remaining coconut milk with an equal amount of water and add, together with lime leaves and rind, fish sauce and palm sugar. Simmer uncovered, stirring now and then, for 5 minutes. Add prawns and continue to cook uncovered for 10 minutes or until prawns are cooked and the sauce has slightly reduced and thickened. Serve with rice.
Recipe excerpted from Encyclopedia of Asian Food by Charmaine Solomon (Periplus Editions, 1998)