Thai Prawn Curry with Pineapple

1 lb (450 g) uncooked fresh or frozen tiger prawns in their shells
1 lb (450 g) fresh pineapple, cut into ¾ inch (2 cm) chunks
2 x 400 ml tins coconut milk

For the curry paste:
4 dried red chillies, soaked with the juice and zest of 1 lime for 30 minutes
1 level tablespoon lemon grass, finely chopped
1 inch (2.5 cm) cube fresh ginger
5 garlic cloves, peeled
7 Thai shallots, peeled (or normal shallots if not available)
1 level teaspoon shrimp paste (if not available use 2 anchovies)
½ level teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons Thai fish sauce

To garnish:
2 kaffir lime leaves (if available)
2 medium-sized red chillies, de-seeded and shredded into hairlike strips

Method :
You will also need a wok or a very large frying pan.

If the tiger prawns are frozen, defrost them by emptying them into a colander and leaving them for about an hour to defrost. Then cook the prawns (either fresh or frozen) in a frying pan or wok. Add the prawns in their shells to the hot pan and dry-fry over direct high heat for about 4-5 minutes, turning and tossing them around whilst you watch their beige and black stripes turn pink.

After that remove them from the heat and when they\'re cool enough to handle, peel off the skins, then make a slit all along their backs and remove any black thread. Now keep them covered and refrigerated until you need them.

To make the curry paste, all you do is put everything into a food processor or blender, then switch on to a high speed and blend until you have a rather coarse, rough-looking paste. Remove the paste and keep it covered in the fridge until you need it.

When you\'re ready to make the curry, empty the contents of the tins of coconut milk into a wok and stir while you bring it up to the boil, then boil until the fat begins to separate from the solids. This will take about 20 minutes, and if you listen carefully you\'ll hear a sizzle as the fat begins to come out and the whole thing is reduced. Ignore the curdled appearance. Now add the curry paste, give it 3 minutes\' cooking time, enough for the flavours to develop, then add the prawns and the pineapple and let them heat through gently for another 2 minutes. During that time, shred the lime leaves by placing one on top of the other, then roll them up tightly and cut into very thin shreds. Serve the curry with lime leaves and chilli strips sprinkled over, and some Thai fragrant rice as an accompaniment.

This recipe is taken from Delia Smith’s Winter Collection. It has also appeared in Sainsbury\'s Magazine (Guide to Fish Cookery).

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