- 2 stalks fresh lemongrass
- 2 fresh Thai or serrano chile peppers, coarsely chopped
- 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped garlic (about 6 medium cloves)
- 1 pound peeled and deveined medium shrimp
- 3 tablespoons noc mam or nam pla (Vietnamese or Thai fish sauce)
- 2 teaspoons curry powder
- 1 teaspoon finely grated, fresh peeled ginger (about 1/3-inch piece)
- 3 1/2 teaspoons sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons peanut oil, or more if needed for stir-frying
- 1 teaspoon Thai red curry paste
- 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped onions (about 2 medium onions)
- 2 cups shrimp stock or canned chicken broth
- 2/3 cup unsweetened coconut milk
- 4 ounces dried cellophane noodles (bean threads), soaked in warm water for 20 minutes, drained and cut into 2-inch lengths (* Or leave out the noodles and serve over jasmine rice.)
- 1/3 cup dried tiny tree ear mushrooms, soaked in hot water for 20 minutes, then drained
- 3 scallions (both green and white parts), trimmed and thinly sliced
Peel and discard the outer leaves of the lemongrass. With a sharp knife, cut off and discard the upper half of the stalks at the point where the leaves branch out. Thinly slice the remaining stalks.
Process the lemongrass, chile peppers, and garlic in a food processor until finely ground. Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl. Add the shrimp, 1 tablespoon of the fish sauce, the curry powder, grated ginger, 1/2 teaspoon of the sugar, the black pepper and 1 tablespoon of the peanut oil, mixing together until thoroughly blended. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
When ready to stir-fry, heat a wok or large skillet over high heat. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of peanut oil and heat until smoking-hot. Add onions and stir-fry until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
Add the marinated shrimp to the wok, adding more oil if necessary, and stir-fry until the shrimp are just golden on both sides, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the shrimp to the bowl with the onions. Add the broth, coconut milk, remaining 2 tablespoons of fish sauce and remaining 3 teaspoons of sugar and bring to a boil. Stir in the cellophane noodles and mushrooms. Continue to cook for a minute longer, until the noodles are transparent and soft, then stir the shrimp and onions back into the sauce and cook until everything is heated through. Remove from the heat and stir in the scallions. Transfer the stir-fry to a warm platter and serve immediately.