If you are from New England and you don’t love chowder, something is seriously wrong with you. Chowdahh as it is more accurately pronounced is a seaside staple, especially during the summer months. I remember going to the beach and feasting on chowder and clam cakes. One of my earliest memories of cooking myself revolves around chowder. I would open up a can of Snow’s Clam Chowder in a small saucepan thinking I was really cooking and add some pepper, red chili powder (that would be the Pakistani inside me), and some dried herbs. I was incredibly proud of myself and would make everyone in my family try what I “made.”
In this shrimp chowder I basically did the same thing, except I made the soup from scratch. I doctored up the original version. Although some would consider it blasphemous to alter a Clam Chowder, well the New England Version, at least. Come to think of it, it has been adulterated a few times. There are of course the Manhattan and Rhode Island clear version (which I never really cared for, not rich enough for me). Taking that into consideration my version is perfectly fine and any purists can…umm, not eat it, I guess.
In this version, I omitted the clams, because my husband is allergic to them, grrrrr. I think I was going for a Southwest feel for this chowder, but I can’t exactly say that turned out to be Southwest, it actually was a little Thai tasting. This is probably because I relate the taste of coconut milk so much to Thai food. I was anticipating that this soup would take hours with me hovering over the pot stirring away. This was not the case, it was done in 30 minutes and left me with some free time.
My husband loved this chowder and was oohing and ahhing, saying he can’t wait to come home for dinner and getting all sentimental. Ladies and gentleman, cook this for your significant other and you may get a similar reaction.
Shrimp, Coconut Milk, and Corn Chowder
adapted from Real Simple, recipe here
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 a pound of shrimp, peeled and deveined (I remove the tails, because it is a pain to remove when eating soup)
1 small red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Yukon Gold potato, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen
1-2 jalapenos, diced, seeds and ribs removed (use only 1 for a mild chowder)
1/2 cup haricots verts, ends removed and cut into small pieces on an angle
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
crushed red chilies, to taste (optional)
1 bay leaf
salt, to taste
4 cups chicken broth, preferably homemade and low-sodium
1 cup light coconut milk
chives, cilantro, and lime wedges, for garnish
Heat the oil on medium to medium-low heat in a large stewing pot or saucepan. Add in the onion, carrot, jalapenos, and bay leaf. Allow them to sweat and become translucent, about 10 minutes. Next, add in the potatoes, corn, and all the spices including the salt and cook for two minutes. Pour in the chicken stock and coconut milk and bring to a simmer. Let the potatoes get cooked through, about 10-15 minutes. When the potatoes are cooked, toss in the shrimp and the haricots verts and allow the shrimp to get pink and cooked, about 4-5 minutes. Serve with a garnish of cilantro and chives, and a wedge of lime.