Penang prawn curry with fragrant steamed Jasmine rice

High G.I. recipe full of nutritional value

Thai curries are quick, easy, healthy and really delicious. The trick to a Thai curry is to create the perfect harmony of heat, salt, sweet and sour by using a basic mix of coconut milk, fish sauce, curry paste, lime and sugar. You can make your own curry paste if you have the time and the inclination, but it is really easy to buy good ready-made pastes.

Penang prawn curry with fragrant steamed Jasmine rice

As a piece of advice, if you have an Asian store nearby, you may find the ingredients a lot cheaper and more authentic there, but you should find everything you need in your local supermarket too. This curry is absolutely crammed with nutrition — peanuts, prawns, green and red vegetables and basil. What's more, the aromas are so tempting, you'll want to eat it straight away ...


1. Prepare the jasmine rice. Rinse in cold water and the add 300ml water (enough to cover the rice by ½ inch, or to the first joint of your middle finger) to the rice. Cover with a tight-fitting lid, bring to the boil and simmer for 7 to 10 minutes, or until all the water has been absorbed. Turn off the heat and leave for 4 to 5 minutes. Uncover the pan and fluff up the rice to serve. It is authentic not to use salted water — the rice is a completely plain accompaniment to the curry.

2. Heat half the coconut milk in a wok or large frying pan until boiling and add 2 tbs of the curry paste (use red curry as an alternative). Simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring all the time, until fragrant.

3. Add the fish sauce and palm sugar and stir, then add the peanuts (use crunchy peanut butter alternatively) and the rest of the coconut milk and fry for a minute or two.

4. Add the peas, prawns, red pepper, the kaffir lime leaves, a squeeze of lime juice and one of the chillis and simmer for a few minutes until the prawns are pink and the vegetables are just cooked.

5. Taste for seasoning — add more chili if you need more heat, or perhaps more fish sauce, some lime juice or sugar — try to get a balance that suits your taste.

6. Transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle with the Thai basil leaves (use European variety if you cannot get hold of Thai basil) and the remaining chili.

7. Serve with the rice and some nam pla prik (bowl of fish sauce with chopped chillis added to it — used like a dipping sauce).


  • 125g Thai Jasmine rice
  • 250g uncooked, peeled prawns
  • 500ml coconut milk
  • 3 tbs fish sauce
  • 1 tbs shaved palm sugar or brown sugar
  • 1 red pepper, deseeded and cut into strips
  • 2 handfuls of sugar snap peas
  • 1 tbs unsalted peanuts, ground in the blender
  • 8 kaffir lime leaves, torn into strips
  • Squeeze of lime juice
  • 2 large handfuls of Thai basil leaves
  • 2 tbsp (50g) Penang curry paste

Vital Statistics

Serves: 2
Preparation: 10 minutes (or 30 minutes if you make your own paste)
Cooking: 15 minutes
Difficulty: Relatively easy — a bit of chopping needed, plus vigilance with the rice
Good for: Jasmine rice has a high G.I. and helps muscles recover after a workout

Calories (kcal): 550.2
Protein (g): 30.7
Carbs (g): 48.6
Fat (g): 26.4
Fiber (g): 3.6

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