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The spicy curry: Jungle curry with crab 


Kaeng pa or jungle curry is from northern Thailand. It has a spicy thin sauce full of aromatic flavours, such as makrut lime, shrimp paste and lemongrass. I’ve adapted this recipe from David Thompson’s Thai Foodcookbook – the best and most in-depth Thai cookbook I’ve come across.

Serves 2
Crab carcass, shell and legs, for stock
125g crab meat 
2 crab claws, partially cracked
3 tbsp vegetable oil, for frying 
3 red shallots or 1 red onion, thinly sliced 
½ tbsp fish sauce
5 sprigs coriander, leaves picked, stalks kept for curry paste
Rice, to serve

For the curry paste 
5 green bird’s eye chillies, deseeded, finely chopped
1 stick of lemongrass, peeled, finely chopped
1cm galangal or ginger, finely chopped
1 red shallot or half a red onion, finely diced
4 garlic cloves, chopped 
5 stalks of coriander, finely chopped 
1 tsp roasted shrimp paste
Zest and juice of 1 lime
Salt, to taste

1 First, make the stock. Add the crab shell, carcass and legs, plus the scraps from preparing the curry paste veg, to a saucepan. Cover with water, simmer for 30 minutes. Strain and set aside.


2 Now, make the paste. In a pestle and mortar or blender, grind together the salt, chillies and lemongrass, add the galangal, shallot, garlic and coriander. Stir in the shrimp paste and lime juice. Set aside.

3 In a medium-hot, oiled wok or frying pan, fry the shallots in batches until golden and crispy, then set aside. Remove all but a little of the oil to fry the curry paste. Over a high heat, fry the curry paste, stirring constantly until pungent. Add the fish sauce and 500ml of the crab stock, then bring to the boil. Add the crab claws and meat, cover for 3 minutes. Stir in the shallots and coriander. Serve with rice.

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