Here is the raw truth. I cook but I don’t cook well with others. Especially when they are my own children. So I’ve decided to make a great effort to face my cooking selfishness and share this skill with my kids. I do it once in a while and require
a lot some wine prior to the cooking commences.
Cooking is a life skill on the verge of extinction. I want my kids to know how to cook—not to impress but just to survive…not in the wild…just in the real world. Maybe I’m just too optimistic, but if they can throw some fresh ingredients together without losing any fingers and getting burnt I’ll be happy. Apart from that, there’s always cereal and milk.
I poured a glass of wine and got cooking with my 12-year-old son. He loves Thai food. So do I. Since my 9-year-old daughter (the picky eater who hates Thai food and seafood) was out on a sleepover we decided to make Thai Shrimp/Squid Curry. It may sound fancy, but it’s easy and quick. We finished the dish before I could finish my second glass of wine. Check it out!
This recipe was for two so it only required one pound of shrimp and squid combined. My son chopped the onion and sliced the bell pepper with my supervision. I sipped my wine when he was done. Big sips. He also washed the shrimp+squid and gathered the ingredients. I chopped the lemongrass, a totally optional ingredient.
The real challenge was watching him try to open the can of coconut milk. O.M.G. More wine, please. How many of you out there have taught a kid to open a can? Specifically a boy? It wasn’t going well for us so I gave up. I opened the can myself. The “how to use a can opener” lesson would have to wait.
We started by sautéing the onions, bell peppers and lemongrass in hot coconut oil for about 3 minutes. Next, we added the shrimp+squid which let out some liquid. We used the liquid as a base to dissolve the curry paste and peanut butter. Then we added coconut milk, salt, and some sugar. We tasted. Not sweet enough. More sugar, a dash of pepper flakes and some basil leaves.
We let it simmer for about 5 minutes and served immediately over jasmine rice. My son plated and garnished it and this is what we ended up with:
No finger casualties. Only happy and spicy memories (despite the can opening moment.) Cooking with kids can be fun but here is the deal: keep it simple, cook something they like to eat, and let them do most of the work (including the cleaning!)
- 1 pound shrimp, seafood, chicken, beef or tofu
- 2 tablespoons refined coconut oil (can be replaced for vegetable or canola oil)
- 2 tablespoons red Thai curry paste
- ¼ teaspoon kosher or sea salt
- 1 stick of lemongrass chopped (optional)
- ½ red/purple onion, peeled and diced
- ½ red bell pepper, seeded and sliced
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon red chili flakes (optional)
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger (optional)
- 2 tablespoons basil leaves, chopped
- cilantro, chopped or whole to garnish
- 1 lime cut in quarters
- Rinse shrimp or seafood getting it ready to cook (if you using beef/chicken/tofu just cut it in 1 inch cubes.)
- Heat the coconut oil on a skillet over medium high heat. Add the onion, peppers, lemongrass and cook until softened.
- Add the shrimp or whatever protein of your choice. Cook it until ready (for seafood no longer then 4 minutes.)
- Add curry paste, peanut butter and a little bit of the coconut milk mixing it until all is dissolved and combined.
- Add the remaining coconut milk, basil, ginger, salt, sugar and pepper flakes.
- Bring to a boil then reduce to simmer.
- Serve over rice or noodles. Garnish with more cilantro and basil, and a splash of lime juice.