Archives for posts with tag: Shrimp

I am the worst blogger ever.  My last post was in February.  I’m not even going to try and explain why I haven’t posted because there’s no real reason.  As a matter of fact, I photographed this recipe three weeks ago. Just. Plain. Lazy. Anyway, during my unplanned hiatus my husband and I took a much needed vacation.  We visited Thailand and had a fabulous time.  We went to Bangkok and Koh Samui.  Thailand was so different than what I had pictured in my mind.  It was the first time my husband or I had been there and we both loved it.

I pictured Bangkok to be a hectic city.  In some ways it is, but I mostly saw it as controlled chaos.  Traffic without beeping or honking.  Everything was beautifully orchestrated.  I can still hear the lovely greeting, “Sawadee kha”  echoing in my head.  I loved the Thai people.  They were so friendly.  I saw so many smiling faces in Thailand that I began to smile for no reason at all.

I could picture myself living in Bangkok.  I do say that for a lot of cities I visit, but Bangkok appealed to me very much.  Koh Samui was also fantastic.  The hotel we stayed at was super quirky and really fun.  The Island had some rundown parts and also some parts that were absolutely spectacular.  Beautiful ocean, like I’ve never seen before.  All in all I have fond memories of our trip to Thailand.

Let me discuss the food!  We ate and ate.  I got so used to eating lavish breakfast spreads that when I got back home a bowl of cereal and fruit in the morning was not cutting it at all.  We enjoyed spicy curries and surpassed our quota of seafood for a year.  I miss all the softshell crab dishes with lots of red chilies, Thai basil, and lemongrass.

We ate gargantuan river prawns, simply grilled and served with a refreshing fresh chopped vegetable relish.  This was one of my favorite dishes in Thailand.  We don’t get prawns like that here.  The week after we returned I was craving the grilled prawns so much that I had to make them.  I had no real recipe, but with some trial and error I got it right.

I was so excited that I was upset my husband wasn’t at home to try them hot and fresh.  When he got home and tried them, I sat next to him eagerly and kept looking at him to say, “these taste just like the ones in Thailand!”  After I finally asked him, he agreed and continued to watch the TV un-phased, typical.  Here’s the recipe and I hope you try them.  And if you’ve been to Thailand and find they taste THE SAME, do let me know. 😉

Grilled Thai Prawns with a Fresh Vegetable Relish

serves 3-4, as a starter, can easily be doubled or tripled

Ingredients

for the shrimp

1 pound large-size shell-on prawns/shrimp, de-veined

2 tablespoons neutral vegetable oil of your choice

2 tablespoons tamarind pulp

2-3 cloves garlic, mashed

1 inch piece of ginger

1 stalk lemon grass

zest and juice of 1 lime

1 long red chilli, roughly chopped, de-seeded if you like

1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder

1 teaspoon red chili flakes, or to taste (this much will make it spicy)

sea salt, to taste

for the Fresh Vegetable Relish

2 shallots, finely chopped

1 radish, finely chopped (I used a watermelon radish for color)

1/2 cup cucumber, finely diced

1 red chili, de-seeded and finely chopped

1/2 stalk of lemon grass, roughly chopped

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger

1 teaspoon sesame oil

juice of 1 lime

fresh chopped herbs like cilantro, Thai basil, or mint

salt, to taste

Method

Place the shrimp in a bowl.  Combine all the ingredients except the shrimp in a blender or food processor.  Pulse ingredients in the blender until pureed and well combined.  Pour the marinade over the shrimp and toss with the shrimp.  Marinate the shrimp in the fridge for 1-2 hours.  After 1-2 hours, heat a grill pan or use an outdoor grill and grill the shrimp on each side until cooked.  it should take about 2 minutes per side.  If you would like you may grill the shrimp on skewers.

While the shrimp is marinating prepare the relish by combining all the ingredients in a bowl and allow it to sit in the fridge for 30 minutes before serving.  Serve with the shrimp after it is done on the grill.  I also like to serve red chili paste on the side for some extra spice.  Serve with lime wedges as well.

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Bread and a combination of cheese, meat, vegetables, and spreads is absolute bliss to me.  This sandwich is so quick, I think everything was done in 15 minutes from start to finish.  My husband is having exams these days so he’s home for dinner then back to the library.  I’m on a deadline!  Sandwiches fit in perfectly with these “deadlines.”  No, he’s not at all a tyrant who will scream if dinner is not on the table, but I would just like him to maximize his study time.

I coated the shrimp in cornstarch, chili flakes, and salt and lightly pan fried them so that they would slightly resemble the shrimp in po’ boys.  MMMMmmmmMMMMmmm po’ boys, how I love thee.  I guess this is my ultra quick version of a po’ boy minus the remoulade and the french bread.  But, hey I had some sort of inspiration to lead me to this sandwich.

If you recall I used harissa in a salad. I wanted to spruce up the regular mayo but didn’t have the time to chop up herbs and the like, so a squeeze of harissa into the mayo created a really nice spicy mayo that I would make again the same exact way even if I had the time to chop herbs.  My favorite sandwich combination is arugula, tomatoes, avocado, and red onion.  I forgot the red onion in this one, though I have no idea how I did. 🙂  This turned out to be a triple decker club, hope you enjoy it!

This recipe is one of those recipes that you wonder why I would even post it because it’s so easy.  I feel like that when I watch some cooking shows and they teach you something anyone can do without thinking.  But this was really yum, so I wanted to share it with you. 🙂

Shrimp, Avocado, Tomato, Arugula, Harissa Mayo Club

Makes 2 sandwiches

Ingredients

1 pound peeled and deveined shrimp, tails removed

2 1/2 tablespoons corn starch

1/2 teaspoon red chilli flakes

1/2 teaspoon salt

handful of arugula

half an avocado, sliced

1 tomato, sliced

3 tablespoons of mayo mixed with 1 teaspoon of harissa paste

6 slices multigrain bread, or any bread of your choice (if you don’t want to add an extra slice of bread just use 2 slices)

2 tablespoons olive oil

Method:

Toss the shrimp with cornstarch, chili flakes, and salt.  Pan fry in oil about 3 minutes per side or until cooked.  Toast the bread and spread the harissa mayo on the bread (both sides or one side).  Add the shrimp and arugula to one layer and then tomato and arugula on the next layer of the triple-decker.  Cut across diagonally and serve.


IMG_8052Yesterday, on my walk home from the gym an entirely random craving for Spicy Wok Basil Noodles came over me .  This past summer my husband and I were both working research positions in New Haven, Connecticut.  New Haven, an unexpected mix of “Yalies” and urban culture had a surprisingly good restaurant scene.  It is also well catered to the student population.  Our living arrangements this summer, were last minute and may I say less than desirable.  I hardly stepped foot in the kitchen of the apartment we were staying at, much to my husband’s dismay.  Basically, we ate out quite often (everyday).  (Thankfully, we were able to move out after a month to a better place 🙂 ).  A note to women– please do not let your husband/boyfriend/partner pick out a place to live because they can adapt anywhere, whereas we cannot!  Anyway, enough with my rant!

Back to the food!  In New Haven, we stumbled upon a restaurant or more aptly, a dive called York Street Noodle.  It is an entirely “studenty” place that serves noodle bowls and wok creations.  Every time we went there I ordered the Spicy Wok Basil Noodle (either vegetarian or shrimp).  I always asked them to make it extra spicy for me and Yummmm, it just hit the spot!  I know my re-creation can never be AS good.  To my surprise, my version turned out quite good, not the exactly the same but pretty close.  My husband loved it so much he had three servings, which can only mean it was tasty!

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I have conducted an in-depth online search in order to find a recipe resembling it but, unfortunately, no luck.  But, I did find a photograph of the dish here yay!  My inspiration comes from this picture and my memories of the dish’s flavor.  A close cousin to this dish would be Drunken Noodles.

The noodles are wide and velvety.  There isn’t a sauce but a glistening glaze covering the noodles.  The flavor is smokey, nutty, and spicy.  The vegetables were pretty basic; green peppers (I substituted red peppers), mushrooms, white onions (I substituted shallots), wilted basil, and scallions.

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My version is as follows:

Serves 4

Ingredients

5 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon of ginger of galangal, minced

3 shallots, sliced

1/2 red pepper, sliced

1/2 cup shiitake mushrooms, sliced (stems removed)

Handful of snow peas (clean by pulling off strings)

1 cup firm tofu, cubed

1 pound peeled and deveined shrimp (any size to your liking)

3-4 tablespoons vegetable oil (or to your liking)

1/3 of 16 ounce package of wide rice vermicelli noodles, Banh Pho

5 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce

1 1/2 teaspoons fish sauce, Nuac Mam Dac Biet

1 tablespoon scant rice vinegar

juice of 1/2 lime

2 teaspoons chili oil

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teapsoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon cornstarch

crushed red chiles to taste (I used 1 tsp for spicy)

10-15 Thai basil leaves (I was not able to find Thai basil so I used regular basil)

2 scallions, sliced on a bias

a few cilantro and basil leaves, for garnish

1/2 a lime in wedges, for garnish

Method:

Make the sauce by combining the soy sauce, fish sauce, rice vinegar,  1 teaspoon of the chili oil, lime juice, sugar, cornstarch, kosher salt, crushed red chiles in a bowl, set aside.  Bring a large pot of water to boil, then put the noodles in a large bowl and cover with the boiling water allow to soften, about 15 minutes.  Meanwhile, fry tofu on medium heat in 1 teaspoon of oil until golden, about 5 minutes, set aside.  Keep heat on medium, add 2 tablespoons of oil to a wok, when oil is heated add the shallots and allow to sweat.  Add garlic and ginger and stir constantly so they do not burn.  Next add shiitakes and allow to soften, add red peppers and snow peas at the end, for about 1-2 minutes.  Remove from wok and set aside with tofu.  Put the remaining oil in the wok and fry shrimp lightly, add the vegetables and tofu that was set aside.  Add the basil leaves and allow them to wilt.  Next, add the sauce and combine everything together.  Add the softened noodles (make sure to drain the water).  Toss everything together until the shrimp are cooked, about 5 minutes.  (Do not over cook, they can become rubbery; also keep the vegetables crisp, otherwise they will be soggy).  Drizzle the remaining 1 teaspoon of chili oil on top.  Add scallions and garnish with limes, cilantro, and basil.  Serve immediately.

Note:  I know this dish requires quite a few ingredients.  But, keeping a well stocked pantry will avoid a high grocery bill when making such a dish.  I always keep these sauces on hand so that I can whip up a fast dinner.  Use whatever vegetables you have on hand, you do not have to make a special trip to get snow peas if you don’t have them on hand.  If you would like to substitute chicken, beef, or make it vegetarian, feel free!  Adapt it to your tastes!  This dish took me 45 minutes with all the chopping.  Enjoy!