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I've never defined myself as someone who cooks out of a can and I generally take great efforts to avoid doing so. This recipe is the closest I've come, and I have no regrets. Mainly because the two key ingredients—yellow curry paste and coconut milk—just happen to be pre-packaged flavor bombs that make it possible to build a stick-to-your-ribs spicy and flavorful noodle dish in just ten minutes.
While the contents of red, yellow and green chili pastes vary, the yellow is typically a mix of curry powder, chilies, spices, and garlic, cooked down into a paste that delivers a ton of instant flavor. It's what gives this dish its surprising depth and character, especially considering how quickly it's ready. Meanwhile, coconut milk contributes a creamy richness that gives weight to the light rice noodles and balances the heat from the curry paste.
My approach is relatively straightforward and obviously very easy, with minimal prep. I start by sautéing shallots and garlic, followed by the curry paste, which I stir until aromatic. Next comes the coconut milk (you may need to stir it first to loosen it up, since the solids tend to separate in the can). Make sure to maintain a simmer to allow the flavors to blend together while the coconut milk reduces. Finally, I toss in the shrimp and some bok choy, both of which quickly cook through in the heated liquid.
As for the noodles? They'll be soaking in warm water before you start cooking, so that they're ready when the sauce has come together and the shrimp have finished cooking (the time works out quite well, I do say so myself). Simply stir in the noodles once your pan is off the heat, thoroughly coating them with the creamy sauce. You can garnish the dish with fresh cilantro, crunchy bean sprouts, and some chopped scallions for a filling meal that comes together faster than most.
As a friend said while eating it with me, "this is the perfect drunk food for when you come home late and want something creamy and warm in your belly." I couldn't agree more, though I think I'll add that it works just as well at any time of day or night.
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