Lychee red curry

This is my spin on one of my favorite Thai dishes, a classic pineapple red curry. Not that it needed spinning, I just had some canned lychee, but no pineapple. The bromeliaceous tang of the pineapple was missing a little (and no amount of lime could mitigate that), but the slightly savory, sweet pop of juicy orbs was really perfect in its own right. My curiosity was rewarded.

I’ve been sitting on this for a few days, on the fence about whether or not to even post it. I thought about revisiting it in the summer, when I could use fresh lychee and get glare-free photos, when I’d make time to make fresh curry paste from scratch instead of scooping it from a tub.

I remember a time when to me, this was really authentic Thai cooking. Knowing where to buy Mae Ploy, at one time, meant I was braver than the rest of my friends. It required an adventure into an Asian market that smelled of dried fish, incense and moth balls, and bringing home a tub of red or green curry was like sneaking a secret weapon into my kitchen. My friends would ooh and aah at how much my curry tasted like the “real” stuff at the restaurants.

Nowadays, an adventure into an Asian market means I come home with armloads of lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, galangal rhizomes and chiles, jars of shrimp paste and discs of palm sugar and tamarind. These are the bases from which I construct my nowadays curries, and for me, it was a major phone-in to make dinner from a tub (even though I’m pretty sure that’s what the restaurants use).

But it was so tasty.