Thai Shrimp[/Tofu] Curry and Pakistani Spicy Chickpeas

As planned (well, mostly as planned, anyway), we made Emeril’s Thai coconut shrimp curry (with a partial vegetarian preparation) and Pakistani spicy chickpeas for dinner tonight, with service for 12. As with nearly everything we cook for Monday Night Dinner, the preparation and cooking time estimates seemed a bit low, but not by not to a ludicrous degree–we still served dinner before 9 PM (…by at least five minutes). The results? Several compliments! I was fairly happy with the outcome of both dishes. Here are my brief notes.

Red Thai Coconut Shrimp Curry

The original recipe (courtesy Emeril Lagasse, 2003) claims to yield four servings, but, at least in combination with rice and our side dish, I think it produced five or six servings.

Ingredients (vegetarian adaptations in parentheses)

  • 2 tablespoons (Tbsp) peanut oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped shallots (though we accidentally substituted yellow onions)
  • 1 large red bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 2 medium carrots, trimmed and shredded
  • 2 teaspoons (tsp) minced garlic
  • 3 Tbsp Thai red curry paste (we used Thai Kitchen Red Curry Paste available in 4oz jars from grocery stores)
  • 2 Tbsp fish sauce (or slightly more soy sauce for vegetarians)
  • 2 tsp palm sugar or light brown sugar (we used the latter)
  • 1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk
  • 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined (or ~2 pounds fresh tofu, pressed / dried, cubed)
  • 3 Tbsp chopped Thai basil leaves
  • 3 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro leaves


  1. Start cooking the rice (separately; according to the instructions on the package or rice cooker) so that it’ll be ready when the curry is done.
  2. Over medium-high heat, use the oil to stir-fry the shallots (or onions), bell peppers, carrots, and garlic until soft (~4 minutes for us).
  3. Add the curry paste and cook, stirring, until fragrant (about a minute).
  4. Stir in the fish sauce or soy sauce, sugar, and coconut milk.
  5. Bring to a boil, then simmer until thickened slightly. We did this for 10-15 minutes, despite the recipe’s suggestion of two minutes.
  6. Add the shrimp and cook, stirring, until pink and just cooked through (about 4 minutes for us). (Alternatively, add tofu and stir gently until coated/saturated and warm.)
  7. Remove from the heat and stir in the basil and cilantro.


I didn’t really know what was meant about cooking with the curry paste until it becomes fragrant, but even being a little congested, I still distinctly knew once it actually happened. Adding the shrimp seemed to add a fair amount more liquid to the curry, compared to the tofu preparation, so if I had more time, I would’ve liked to have let that reduce a bit more. However, I’m not sure if that would’ve resulted in the shrimp getting overcooked, so take that as you will. Mary was especially impressed with how manageable it was to prepare, compared to how exotic or daunting it may sound.

Nutrition: My rough estimate, based entirely on copying from another entry that looked sort of similar, are that 1 cup of the shrimp curry comes out to be around 255 calories, 10g carbs, 7g fat, and 36g protein. 3/4 cups of cooked Jasmine rice is 160 calories, 36g carb, and 0g fat, and 3g protein.

Pakistani Spicy Chickpeas

I believe we prepared this recipe identically to its source, aside from a significant difference in cooking time and doubling the recipe.


  • 2 tablespoons (Tbsp) vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon (tsp) cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp lemon pepper
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans garbanzo beans, drained
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 onion, chopped


  1. In a large pot over low heat, warm oil and cumin; heat until cumin turns a darker shade of brown.
  2. Add salt, chili powder and lemon and pepper seasoning; mix well.
  3. Stir in tomatoes, and heat until the juice begins to thicken (this probably took about 20 minutes).
  4. Add the chickpeas and mix well.
  5. Add the lemon juice and onions, and stir until they become soft (we only waited about four minutes).


When I added the lemon pepper to the oil, etc, it smoked a lot, causing me to turn down the heat for a bit, so watch out for that. Letting the tomatoes reduce until it begins to thicken took a very long time (and I even cut it a little short, in my opinion, out of lack of patience). Once the chickpeas were added, I let it cook/reduce for another 10+ minutes, but the onions did help thicken the consistency a little, once those were added. I ate this over rice, but I think could be good on its own, too.

Nutrition: Another great reason to love AllRecipes is that they provide full nutrition facts for their recipes. The main highlights are that one serving (1/10th of what we made, or maybe roughly 3/4 of a cup?) contains: 205 calories, 7.1g fat, 30.3g carbs, and 6.4g protein.

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