Nigerian-Thai Prawn Curry

For once, I was not entertaining last weekend, instead, I was entertained. I visited one of my uncles that I hadn't seen in a long time and I was quite excited about this visit why.......because his wife is half Thai and half Chinese!

Funke Koleosho's Nigerian-Thai Prawn Curry
Yes my uncle an Ekiti man  from Western Nigeria is married to a Thai. So I hope you can see and understand my excitement......its the food!

I love to explore and experiment with food so I was really looking forward to meeting Nora (her name) and to finding out her culinary flare(s).

I found some slight similarities in both Thai and Nigerian cuisines. Example: their curries can be likened to our stews/soups. Each Thai meal (usually rice based) must be accompanied by a soupy/stewy curry so must ours in the form of the different ranges of meat or vegetables soups or stews. Also with condiments, their fermented shrimp paste can be likened to our ground smoked crayfish, which is used to develop taste and flavours in most dishes. I also found that like us, they use peanuts in their cooking.

On the other hand, I found some major differences. For one, their main food is rice, rice and even more rice. They eat rice for breakfast, lunch and dinner. There are no yams, potatoes, plantains, breadfruit, bread, pasta etc. etc. etc, just boiled rice (well also rice noodles!).

They never tire of eating rice! In addition, they rarely eat beef but eat lots of chicken and pork but in Nigeria, beef features considerably on our plates. Also for Thais, meal times are usually a spread of tiny portions of a variety of dishes which include salads and vegetables, AND Dessert. The use of coconut milk, sugar and a lot of spices is also a differentiating factor. Lastly, they don't use seasoning cubes!!! like us.

Anyway, Nora did not disappoint my taste buds with her wonderful spread of spicy chicken wings, satay chicken, spring rolls, cucumber salad, a main dish of boiled jasmine rice served with Thai Green curry with prawns. This was followed by a really sweet coconut and banana fritter and some iced cold watermelon slush..... Well done Nora...(Nora has also learned how to cook Nigerian dishes quite well as my uncle does not play with his pounded yam!).

I have had Thai Green curry in the past but Nora's version was really nice. It was also quite simple to make. Most of the ingredients come from a jar (the curry paste, the shrimp paste and fish sauce were all quite readily available) and required little prepping.

I thoroughly enjoyed this curry and it has inspired me to cook a Nigerian version of it. Instead of the curry paste (which is essentially an infusion of many different spices), I used our popular tomato, peppers and onion pepper sauce. Instead of the shrimp paste I used ground dried crayfish. I also used chicken stock and a couple of spices in particular thyme and curry powder. The result?, ...delightful... that's all I can say. You must try it.

What you need:
  • 10 jumbo tiger raw prawns (any size prawns of your choice is fine). De-vein and wash 
  • 1 jar of Molli's Jollof cooking sauce (This sauce is the ultimate short-cut to cooking traditional Nigerian red pepper sauce. Its convenient and easy to use, tastes great too. Buy it here). If you don't have access to this sauce you have to make some by blending peppers, tomatoes, onions and scotch bonnet and stewing for about 30 minutes under low heat. 
  • 1 tin of coconut milk 
  • Half a cup of chicken stock 
  • 2 tablespoons of ground smoked prawns/crayfish 
  • 1 teaspoon of curry powder 
  • 1 teaspoon of thyme 
  • 1 teaspoon of palm sugar (optional)
  • Salt 
  • Half teaspoon of black pepper or chilli powder (a bit more if you want it spicy) 
  • A couple of sliced green and red peppers for garnish 

What to do:
  1. Empty a jar of Molli's Jollof cooking sauce (or about 5 serving spoons of pre-prepared pepper sauce) into a deep base sauce pan. Heat this up for about 3 minutes. Add the chicken stock, black pepper, curry and thyme. Also add the palm sugar (if using), stir and check the salt. 
  2. Add the coconut milk and stir in. Allow to cook for another 3 minutes then turn heat down and let simmer for 5 more minutes. Apply longer or shorter time for a thick or light curry depending on your preference. 
  3. Add the prawns and sliced peppers last. Cover the pot and continue to cook until the prawns are cooked (typically about 3 minutes). 
  4. Serve with boiled jasmine rice. 

Enjoy!
Nigerian-Thai Prawn Curry

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