Fern Curry with Shrimp
(Yum Pak Grood)
This spare though luscious dish is traditionally made with pak grood—young, wild ferns that grow in the jungles of southern Thailand. Fiddlehead ferns make an ideal substitute. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add 3 cups (about 1⁄2 lb.) fresh or thawed frozen fiddlehead ferns, reduce heat to medium, and cook until just tender, 2–3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer ferns to a bowl and set aside; return water to a boil. Add 8 large shell-on shrimp (about 1⁄2 lb.), reduce heat to medium, and boil gently until almost cooked through, about 1 minute; drain. When cool enough to handle, peel and devein shrimp; set aside. Combine 1 cup well-stirred coconut milk and 1⁄3 cup water in a medium pot. Bring just to a boil, add reserved ferns, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until softened, 3–5 minutes. Add reserved shrimp, 2 1⁄2 tbsp. fresh lime juice, 1 1⁄2 tsp. sugar, 3 stemmed and thinly sliced red thai chiles, 2 thinly sliced shallots, and salt to taste. Cook until shallots are softened, about 2 minutes. Ladle curry over steamed jasmine rice. Serves 4.