Thai Coconut Prawns

Thai Coconut Prawns

Details

Prawns cooked with the exotic flavors of lemongrass, ginger, kaffir lime leaves and coconut milk…delicious!
  • Serves: 4 to 6
  • Active Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 30 mins
  • Views: 64,977
  • Success Rating: 97% (?)
    0% - I fed it to the dog
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Steps

Step 1: Making the Sauce

• 3 large shallots
• 2 stalks lemongrass
• 2" -inch piece galangal or ginger
• 2 tbsp peanut oil
• 2 small Thai chilis
• 1 tbsp tomato paste
• 1 tbsp palm sugar (can substitute with white sugar)
• 2 cups coconut milk
• 2 kaffir lime leaves
• 1/2 tsp kosher salt

Method

To start the sauce, mince the shallots and the white part of the lemongrass. Set aside. Roughly chop the galangal.

Heat a deep-sided saute or fry pan over medium heat and add the oil. Add the shallots, lemongrass, galangal and whole Thai chilies. Cook for 3 or 4 minutes or until the shallots are translucent. Next, add the palm sugar and tomato paste. Cook for a minute before adding the coconut milk, kaffir lime leaves and salt. Bring the sauce to a gentle boil. Turn the heat down to medium-low and let simmer. Cook uncovered for approximately 20 minutes. The sauce will reduce and thicken slightly.

Step 2: Cleaning the Prawns

• 1 1/2 lb medium-sized prawns (approx. 24)

Method

While the sauce is cooking, peel and devein the prawns. Depending on your preference, you can leave the tails on or remove them. Set the prawns aside while you finish the sauce.

Step 3: Finishing the Dish

• 1/2 cup sliced bamboo shoots
• 6 Thai basil leaves (or to taste)
• 1 lime

Method

Once the sauce has reduced and thickened slightly, add the prawns and bamboo shoots. Gently simmer for about 5 minutes or until the prawns are just cooked through.

While the prawns cook, chiffonade the basil and slice the lime. Once the prawns are ready, add the basil and fold everything together.

Serve with Coconut-Infused Basmati Rice and a lime wedge. Enjoy!

Chef's Notes

This dish is big on flavor but not on time. These Thai Coconut Prawns are easy to make and wonderful to eat, and they can be made in just 30 minutes.

This sauce would go equally well with halibut, diced chicken, thinly-sliced beef or pork. It even goes well steamed veggies and diced tofu.

61 Comments

  • Lisa N
    Lisa N
    i made this little treat so fast it made my girlfriend's head spin! I have never made a prawn dish before and i felt so cool! ALSO: i didnt have the Kaffir lime (substituted lime juice), couldnt find galangal (subsituted regular ginger), used white sugar not palm sugar and then finally and hastily forgot to add the Thai Basil...and STILL it ws delish...i loved it!
  • Tessa V
    Tessa V
    I love this dish. I've made it about six times now and every single time I've made it, it was fast and fabulous. I now stock everything that I need to make this recipe in the pantry.I also substituted the prawns for halibut and cod which was equally as good if not better than the prawns.
  • Cara R
    Cara R
    Mark and I made the Thai coconut prawns with the coconut infused basmati rice last night for friends of ours; it was a tremendous hit! Beautifully done gang. Going to try the Moroccan lamb tangine this evening. Really enjoying your web site, very inspirational. C & M
  • Madoka H
    Madoka H
    This dish really satisfied our taste buds. This was the first time to try this recipe, so we kept it low key, but now, cannot wait to have friends/family over to show it off! We made coconut infused basmati rice, too. They were such a golden combo, but we'll try cooking rice without salt next time. We biked all around the city to get ingredients, but it was worth while! Lisa, try with South China Seas in Granville Island Market. They had galangal and lime leaves. We would be researching where would be the best place to fetch those oriental ingredients in the next while. Thank you all for great production! Will come back for more. Lee & Madoka
  • Gagan D
    Gagan D
    Hi Madoka! Glad you enjoyed using Rouxbe. I am sure Lee would love the Lemon Potatoes as well...after all we know how much Lee likes his potatoes! G.
  • Zak M
    Zak M
    Tomato sauce in Thai curry?!?!?! And galangal and ginger have nothing in common at all,smell and taste.
  • Dawn T Rouxbe Staff
    Dawn T
    I totally agree with you that galangal and ginger are not the same thing - check out the drill down on galangal. Ginger is merely the best substitute as galangal can sometimes be hard to find. This is a quick and easy Thai dish. Though generally Thai curries may not include tomato paste, it is a good way to add nice color without too much heat. If you wanted it to be more authentic and spicier you could substitute the tomatoe paste with panaeng or red curry paste.
  • Jeff H
    Jeff H
    Penzeys Spices offers ground galangal if you can't find the fresh stuff for your Thai dishes. www.penzeys.com
  • Christine R
    Christine R
    This was the first time that I tasted home made thai food which tasted fabulous. I didn't know that mincing the lemongrass in such fine pieces would make such a difference. Thanks for the tip.
  • Leah P
    Leah P
    This was the very first Rouxbe recipe that I tried, and I enjoyed it for so many reasons. First, I found a great Asian market in North Portland (Oregon) where I was able to buy every single ingredient that I needed -- galangal, shrimp, kaffir lime... Secondly, I couldn't believe how easy this was to make. After prepping everything, the cooking flew by! This Thai recipe was better than most that I purchase from the millions of Thai restaurants in Portland -- and I made it for $20!
  • Dee F
    Dee F
    This was awesome. Once you find all of the ingredients it is quick to make. We loved it!
  • Dee F
    Dee F
    I have substituted the prawns with chicken and tofu and they are both great. This dish is now a staple in our house. I can have it on the table in under 30 minutes. Yum...Yum!
  • Ken J
    Ken J
    One thing the excellent prawn drill down did not mention is to purchase wild, frozen, headless prawns whenever possible. After the prawn dies, digestive enzymes inside the head will begin to break down the meat. Wild prawns also taste better than farmed.
  • Marshall O
    Marshall O
    what about mincing everything up, then making a paste out of it, incorporating it with the tomoato paste? Marshall
  • Joe G Rouxbe Staff
    Joe G
    Hi Marshall, You certainly could make a paste out of these ingredients but with our tests, we found that it was better to sweat the initial ingredients first to bring out thier flavor before adding the tomato paste.
  • Mary-anne D
    Mary-anne D
    Why on earth would you not use Thai Hom Mali Jasmine rice? I don't get it using Basmati rice with Thai food.
  • Joe G Rouxbe Staff
    Joe G
    Jasmine rice is more traditional with Thai food for sure. Basmati rice is a great alternative though and it pairs well with this dish. If you want to try Jasmine rice, you can follow the same directions as the "Cocunut Infused Basmati Rice" but I find that Jasmine rice requires a bit less water. Try 1 cup rice to 1 and 1/3 cups water as your ratio instead of 1 and 1/2 cups water. Good idea Mary-anne d. Joe
  • Mary-anne D
    Mary-anne D
    I know Thai cuisine quite well, as I am the Thai food editor on bellaonline.com and have been to The kingdom 30+ times during the last 20 years. The amount of water required for Jasmine depends on if it is new crop or not. I usually use Thai Hom Mali Jasmine. We also love Broken Jasmine Rice which is a special treat and also njoyed in Vietnam and Laos for special dishes. I make a similiar type shrimp dish but fry the chile paste in the thick part of the coconut milk to develop the flavour and aroma, and I do not use tomatoes, but a touch of lime juice and of course fresh tender young Kaffir/bai magroot. Try soaking the shrimp in an ice bath of water and 1 tsp of salt for 20 minutes refreshes their from the sea taste. I grow 3 types of Thai basil, several Thai chiles, lemon grass, and have 7 Kaffir Lime trees in my yard here in California.
  • Ckrissie F
    Ckrissie F
    I love thai food but I've always been too intimidated by the ingredients to try. I'm extremely pleased with the result! It was easy and super tasty!
  • Mary-anne D
    Mary-anne D
    Thai cooking is not difficult. Just prep and some easy stir-fry techniques in most recipes. I love Thai cuisine, as it is sort of the Italian of Asia/SE Asia in that you use so many fresh ingredients-garlic-chiles-basil-seafood or chicken are very common plus some good quality fish sauce, kaffir lime, lemongrass, date palm sugar, lime juice, etc. Small ingredient list. Thai is a balance of hot-sweet-salty-sour and sometimes bitter as in Isaan cuisine, so that not one element is over-powering the others. Mary-Anne, Thai Food Editor http://www.bellaonline.com/site/ThaiFood
  • Monica E
    Monica E
    This looks great and easy. I'm lucky because my dad grows kaffir lime, lemon grass, and thai chilis, which are all part of our culture as well. I'm looking forward to trying palm sugar. (Gotta say the narrator's pronunciation of the kaffir as "kaf-fire" is killing me.) Also, I agree with everyone that ginger and galangal are very different. Galangal tastes very woody to me.
  • Mary-anne D
    Mary-anne D
    Monica, I chuckled as well, perhaps he should just call it properly bai Magroot/magrood Galangal has a perfumey fragrance and certainly nothing like ginger. Then there Krachai (Chinese keys) love it with seafood dishes. I am also in the SF Bay area and have 7 Bai Magroot trees, lemongrass, many phrik kee nu and phrik chee fa growing in my garden which I will pot up to over winter inside.
  • Carolyn M
    Carolyn M
    I too could not find some of the ingredients and substituted. The taste was great. I have since learned of an asian market, so will use authentic ingredients next time. It can only be better. Thanks for a simple and wonderful recipe.
  • Lisa K
    Lisa K
    Oh man, this was sooo good. But what's the deal with lemon grass. I just bought lemon grass at Whole Foods (followed the instructions BTW) and it took me forever to chop (with newly sharpened knives). Is it always so hard? Or did I get a bad batch?
  • Kimberley S Rouxbe Staff
    Kimberley S
    Hi Lisa, Even the bottom third of the lemongrass stalk is very tough. This is why it needs to be chopped finely so it's pleasant to eat. You picked the right bunch - it just takes time to chop finely. Lemongrass can be found in a variety of Asian markets (if you live near any). It's usually much cheaper than at Whole Foods. Happy Cooking!
  • Eliza M
    Eliza M
    I use extra big prawns. loved smelling all the things that im cutting(except the onion) lemon grass first time using it on the dish really tough to cut im telling yah came close to just throwing it to the food processor. I've recently just started cooking (probably 3 weeks) over all I love it and I get excited sometime I sleep with notes and recipes on my bed and when i wake up I just roll over sometime and go straight to the kitchen and totally forget that im still in my pajama. love the feeling of knowing and sharing food.
  • Rashad S
    Rashad S
    I used minced chicken and wasn't impressed. I think I'm not a fan of the coconut and/or lemongrass. It's probably the coconut. I didn't really like those dishes when I lived in Thailand.
  • Barbara R
    Barbara R
    When I made this, I found 3 large shallots and once diced, they amounted to over 1 cup of shallots! Was that the right amount? Seems like a lot to me. Since shallots come in a bulb which is made of 2 to 3 smaller "sub-bulbs", I am a little confused to know what a "big" shallot is. So can you tell me, when a recipe calls for "a large shallot", about how much is that in volume?
  • Dawn T Rouxbe Staff
    Dawn T
    There is no exact measurement for a shallot as they are different sizes; however for a general guideline I would say that one medium shallot equals about 3 tablespoons once minced. This recipe calls for 3 shallots and while that may seem like a lot, shallots and onions are often used in larger quantities when cooking, as they add a wonderful layer of flavor, while not overpowering the dish. Honestly though when it comes to things like shallots and cooking in general really, it is most often not an exact science, therefore, when a recipe says "add 3 or 4 shallot" or "one onion" or "one large carrot", it is up to the cook to ultimately decide how much they want to use in a particular dish. Hope this helps!
  • Barbara R
    Barbara R
    but based on the comments, I was expecting for it to be great. Thanks for your response on the shallots, Dawn. They did help. However, I am not sure if this dish was just not for me, or whether my preparation was to blame. I made a couple of errors, but are any of these so egregious that it would change the dish significantly from its intended outcome? 1. I used ginger because I didn't have galangal and forgot to saute it with the shallots and lemongrass so I added it as the sauce was reducing. 2. I used my Le Creuset b/c none of my stainless was big enough. Can't do the water test on ceramic coated cast iron (apparently) so I was unsure of the temperature of the pan. Turns out that it was too hot to sweat the shallots/lemongrass, and started to carmelize them a bit. Those were the only two deviations. Were these the culprit? Or does this dish just not resonate with me?
  • Dawn T Rouxbe Staff
    Dawn T
    Hard to say really Barbara, perhaps this is just not the dish for you or perhaps the flavors were altered by not cooking out the strong flavor of the garlic and/or perhaps cooking the shallots and lemongrass over too high a heat. But like I said, it's hard to say as I was not there to see for myself. The only true way to know would be to try the dish over again. But that I guess would be up to you, you may just want to move on. I personally love the dish and have made it several times, but if it were me I was just so-so about a dish, I would either fix it, try and tweak it to my liking or move on. Hope this helps Barbara - Cheers!
  • Barbara R
    Barbara R
    I ate leftovers today, and like I said before, it was good. I do love the flavors of Thai food, so I think it has potential. At some point in the future, I will give it another shot and try to get a pan where I can predict the temperature a little better and make a few tweaks to the ingredients. When I do, I will be sure to let you know my results. Thanks for the lightening fast replies Dawn!
  • Dawn T Rouxbe Staff
    Dawn T
    You are most welcome for the replies (I just happen to come to the computer this very second, so this one is a quicky as well :-)). I say, good for you for giving it another try. As for loving Thai food, I don't think this one is the ultimate in authenticity. Have you tried any of the other Rouxbe Thai recipes - pad thai, panang red curry or green curry? These we actually learned while we were in Thailand. Cheers!
  • Andrew R
    Andrew R
    This recipe was brilliant, I absolutely loved it! I will definitely be making it again in the future! When I made it I substituted brown sugar for cane sugar and ginger for galangal. From the comments above I think next time I will try and get myself some galangal. Next time, I'd also like to increase the heat. Can you give me advice on the best way of doing this without making overpowering? With Many Thanks, Andy
  • Kimberley S Rouxbe Staff
    Kimberley S
    There is a tip video attached to Step 1 of this recipe called "Chilis - Turning Up the Heat". Hope this helps!
  • Megan W
    Megan W
    I was wondering if you could make the sauce and freeze it? I can occasionally am able to get Thai basil but I never seem to have it when I need it. If I could make the sauce (including the basil) and freeze it, I could just throw some shrimp in once it is thawed. Do you think the sauce would freeze okay?
  • Dawn T Rouxbe Staff
    Dawn T
    You could certainly give it a try. I have not actually tried it yet. Freezing the sauce may take away from some of the flavor as the herbs will no longer be fresh etc. but it may still be fine. If you try it let us know how it turns out. Cheers!
  • Colleen S
    Colleen S
    I think you would be happier if you freeze the Thai basil by itself, rather than putting it it in the sauce early and freezing the whole thing. Basil really loses its flavor if you cook it for long, which is why recipes always have you put it in at the very end of the cooking process (here, after the prawns are done). Plus the rest of the sauce just won't be as tasty, either... and if it's only the basil you have a hard time finding, might as well enjoy as much of it fresh as possible.
  • Lorelei H
    Lorelei H
    I made this dish, and added a bit of curry paste that I had on hand, and it was out of this world good. As far as a solid base recipe goes, this is by far the best I've tried. Cheers!
  • Leisel M
    Leisel M
    I had some shrimp and was looking for something quick and easy to make and I came across this recipe. I was absolutely amazed by how tasty this was! I also made the coconut infused rice and it complemented it very well. My fiance also loved it! I'll definitely make this again.
  • Christina B
    Christina B
    I would really like to make this for my husband when he comes home from Afghanistan. The problem is he is allergic to coconut. What can I substitute for the coconut but keep the same flavor profiles in the dish?
  • Dawn T Rouxbe Staff
    Dawn T
    Unfortunately, there is no substitution for the rich flavor of coconut milk, at least not one that would give you the same, or even close to the same, flavor profile. You could try making the dish without the coconut milk. You best bet would be to use a veloute instead of the coconut milk. But again, you will not achieve the exact same flavor profile. This recipe for Thai Curry Prawns and Scallops would be like what I am referring to. Instead of the green curry use red and for the aromatics use the ones in this recipe to keep it close to the same flavor profile. Hope this helps. Cheers!
  • Kariman H
    Kariman H
    I tried to post this question in the forum but something went wrong. Actually I wanna use coconut milk but didn't find anywhere in the city, so I decided to make it myself for the first time, and I don't wanna fail at it :S Can anyone help me with their experience? And I mean the light one. Thanks in Advance
  • Kariman H
    Kariman H
    Also I have a question about the coconut fruit, I bought one and when I opened it I found no water inside, and it doesn't look so much white as usual, it looks like this photo http://gingerfresh.com/jersey/images/IA/KACHALI.jpg Is that normal?
  • Kimberley S Rouxbe Staff
    Kimberley S
    As a coconut ages, the liquid inside evaporates, so it sounds like the coconut you purchased is quite mature. There are several sites (for example ehow and Thai Food) that walk you through the process of making your own coconut milk. A lighter version would mean that you simply add more water to the final coconut milk/fat to thin it down. Cheers!
  • Kariman H
    Kariman H
    Thanks Kimberley, about the coconut I have is it OK to eat it? or make coconut milk from it?
  • Kimberley S Rouxbe Staff
    Kimberley S
    The best way to know is to try it out. Unless it smells old, I'm sure it will be fine. Cheers!
  • Kariman H
    Kariman H
    Actually the smell is a little bit acidic or citrus but the taste is normal :S
  • Laura C
    Laura C
    I have read the comments but I still have one questions about substitutions. If I wish to use chicken, should I brown it first or let it cook on the sauce?
  • Kimberley S Rouxbe Staff
    Kimberley S
    You can do either. Browning first will just give the chicken a bit more flavor, but typically it is added raw and simmered very gently until it is JUST cooked through. Either way, just make sure not to overcook the chicken or it will be tough and stringy. Cheers!
  • Echo S
    Echo S
    i can't find any coconut milk, so i bought coconut cream (not CREAM OF COCONUT on the label...wonder if the two things are different...) i am about to make my dish in an hour and i'm real worried about the substitution...saw this tip on the internet: For 1 cup coconut milk, substitute 3 tablespoons canned cream of coconut plus hot water or warm low-fat milk to equal 1 cup. i wonder if this is right? or is there any better way to make coconut cream as close as possible to coconut milk?
  • Kimberley S Rouxbe Staff
    Kimberley S
    You can thin it down to the consistency you like. Thicker will be richer and thinner will be similar to a low-fat milk product. Here is a drill-down on How to Buy Coconut Milk. Cheers!
  • Michael W
    Michael W
    Is the idea to roughly chop the galangal so it can be removed? Or is it suppose to be edible? Seems like biting into a large chunk of galangal is not that pleasant, but I'm not sure so that's why I ask.
  • Dawn T Rouxbe Staff
    Dawn T
    The larger piece of galangal is not necessarily meant to be eaten (though some might). Adding a larger piece adds a subtle galangal flavor the sauce. Alternatively, the galangal could be minced. In that case the flavor of galangal would permeate the whole dish/sauce and add a stronger flavor. Cheers!
  • Deborah G
    Deborah G
    I meant to review this dish ages ago, but was insanely busy the past while. So here it is now! I made this dish with the coconut rice a couple of months ago for a baby shower and it was to die for! It was so flavourful and delicious; everyone loved it! I would definitely make this again! One suggested tip: buy already shelled prawns. I cannot stress this enough! I didn't and this is a very time consuming task. Also, one other reviewer mentioned this, but about 99% of the ingredients can be found at one store in Granville Island (I can't recall the name, South China Seas?). When all of us gals were eating, I was already seated when I heard someone say, "Did someone order from Thai House"?, which totally made my night! :) Five stars from me!
  • Chris A
    Chris A
    This was easy to make and really tasty. I made it with prawns this time but will make it again and try chicken, then I might give the halibut a go. I ended up eating the sauce left in the pan with a teaspoon it was that good. Thanks Rouxbe!
  • Ken R Rouxbe Staff
    Ken R
    Hi Chris - Great news on how the recipe turned out. You can prepare this dish with chicken. fish, tofu, or even just an array of vegetables. Keep a focus on the variations of cooking times, though as chicken will take quite a bit longer than prawns. In any event, we're glad you liked it so much. Enjoy!
  • Noel G
    Noel G
    Is tomato paste the same as tomato puree ? Can they be interchanged?
  • Ken R Rouxbe Staff
    Ken R
    These are actually distinct products that are not easily interchanged. Puree is just tomatoes that are pureed until smooth whereas paste is cooked down until very thick and "paste-like" (hence the name). I hope this helps!
  • Echo S
    Echo S
    Hi, I'm having trouble finding the serving size on all of the video recipes. Can anyone tell me how many people will this dish be able to serve? Thank you!
  • Dawn T Rouxbe Staff
    Dawn T
    If you click on the text recipe tab, there you will see the serving size — near the top left of the recipe. This particular recipe says it serves 4 to 6. Cheers!

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