red curry with sweet red peppers, snap peas, pumpkin and mushrooms

Sometimes, you are taught great lessons when you are cooking.

This recipe fired me up for several hours afterward and I now preach words of wisdom to everyone I come in contact with. The lesson is simple but too often ignored:

Put on gloves when dealing with HOT CHILIES!

For the love of god, please put on some gloves! I was left with burning fingers for hours and hours afterward. I couldn't sleep and nothing I could do would take the firing pain away.

I figured I could outsmart the chilies, that I would make sure not to touch the inside of the peppers or it's seeds. Let me tell you, those peppers take no mercy. I have learned my lesson.

After working hard to make the red curry paste and almost crying from the pain, I was slapped with another blow to the ego. I went down the ethnic aisle of my supermarket and lo and behold, a BIG 400 gram tub of red curry paste mocking me. And the price... $1.88.

And we've used it in a recipe already and it's really tasty too.

I shall never ever again attempt to make red curry paste (since I can buy it for cheap). But, I have much respect for those hot chili peppers, for it has punished me and I will never forget the mind-numbing throbbing pains.

Nature is cruel. But oh so delicious.


red curry with sweet red peppers, snap peas, pumkin and mushrooms
serves 4-6

1 can (14 ounces) unsweetened coconut milk
1-2 Tbsp red curry paste (see below)
1/2 cup vegetable stock
1 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1 red sweet pepper, cut into long thin strips

1/2 small pumpkin, peeled, sliced and cut into strips
4 ounces of snap peas
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
sprinkle of honey-roasted peanuts and chopped cilantro

Spoon out 1/3 of the coconut milk into medium saucepan and bring to gentle boil. Stir until thickened, about 3 minutes.

Stir in curry paste and cook for 3 more minutes. Add remaining coconut milk, vegetable stock, sugar, soy sauce and salt, stir well. Bring to active boil, reduce heat. Add pumpkin and simmer for 15 minutes.

Add red pepper, snap peas, mushrooms and stir gently for a few minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for 2-3 minutes. Serve over rice and sprinkle with peanuts and cilantro.

red curry paste:

makes 1 cup

10 fresh red finger length chilies
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
10 black peppercorns
3 stalks lemon grass
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup shallots
2 tbsp chopped carlic (8-12 cloves)
1 tbsp chopped fresh ginger
1 tsp minced lime peel
1 tsp salt

Using gloves, stem and discard most of the seeds of the chilies. Cut into small pieces. Put into processor or blender.

Toast coriander and cumin seeds for 2 minutes. Grind the seeds with the black pepper.

Prepare lemongrass, discarding any root section below bulb base and top portion, leaving about 6 inches of stalk. Chop and add to blender/processor.

Toss the rest of the ingredients into blender/processor and grind until you reach a smooth puree. Add water if too thick.

Store in airtight jar for 1 month in refrigerator. Caution: very HOT.

Recipes adapted from: Red Curry Paste and Red Curry with Red Sweet Peppers, Snow Peas and Tofu. Real Vegetarian Thai.