SHRIMP TACOS WITH JICAMA-MANGO SALSA

We’ve had quite a few days with warm temperatures and that undeniable vibe of spring. This is a perfect light meal for the upcoming season. Simple, refreshing, full of flavors and textures. Make the salsa a few hours ahead if you have a chance.

SHRIMP TACOS WITH JICAMA-MANGO SALSA
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

for the salsa:
1 mango, peeled and cut into cubes
half a jicama, peeled and cut into small dice
2 Roma tomatoes, diced
1 large jalapeños, seeded, deveined and finely minced
juice of half a lime
drizzle of olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

for the shrimp:
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 quart water
1/4 cup salt
1/4 cup sugar
juice of half a lime
1 tablespoon grape seed oil
2 teaspoons chipotle chili powder
1 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
salt and pepper to taste (go easy on salt, as the shrimp will be brined)

to serve:
tortillas, taco shells, guacamole, Cotija cheese

For mango salsa, combine mango, jicama, tomatoes, and jalapeño in a bowl. Add the lime juice, olive oil, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Refrigerate for a couple of yours if you have the time.

Prepare a mild brining solution mixing 1 quart water with 1/4 cup kosher salt and 1/4 cup sugar, plus the juice of half a lemon. Submerge the shrimp in the solution for about 20 minutes. Remove shrimp from brine, rinse briefly and dry on paper towels.

In a small bowl, mix together chipotle, oregano, cumin, salt and pepper until evenly mixed. Sprinkle over shrimp, rubbing on both sides. Heat the oil on a large nonstick skillet, when really hot add the seasoned shrimp in a single layer. Cook until shrimp are opaque and sides are browned. Cut the cooked shrimp into pieces for serving, if you like, or leave them whole.

Arrange the shrimp inside tacos or over tortillas, spoon the salsa, and if desired, add guacamole and Cotija cheese.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: This salsa is a winner. Make it, serve it with any kind of protein you like. I admit that prepping jicama is not my favorite pass time, but it was worth it. As always, most important thing is to not overcook the shrimp, but the brining step helps with the texture, and will allow a little more room for error in that step. I can hardly wait to bring this back to our table!

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KAREN’S QUICK SHRIMP FRIED RICE

I jumped on this recipe right after I read the blog post in Karen’s site, because I knew we would love it. I modified it just a tiny bit, to adjust to our digestive issues – omitting garlic and onions. Visit her site for the regular version if you like. Fried rice with all kinds of different flavors is a dish I adore but very rarely order in restaurants because it is so heavy. And at the same time so easy to over indulge because one helping is never enough. I find myself going back for another little morsel of egg, another bite of shrimp, or chicken, and of course the rice just tags along… Plus the restaurant versions are normally loaded with too much oil and cornstarch-thickened sauce. Not that there’s anything wrong with it, but for the most part a couple of hours later I am not feeling too perky… This version has all the goodies, but is considerably lighter. Using the shortcuts recommended by Karen turns it into one of the easiest dinners to prepare. Make it, and you can thank her later…

QUICK SHRIMP FRIED RICE
(slightly modified from Karen’s Kitchen Stories)

10 ounces jumbo shrimp, cut into thirds
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
3 tablespoons neutral oil such as peanut, divided
3 eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon ginger, minced
12 oz microwavable-ready to serve rice
1 package (12 ounces) frozen peas and carrots, thawed
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

Toss the shrimp in the salt, pepper, and cornstarch and let marinate for 10 minutes.

Heat a wok or large skillet over medium high heat. When it is hot enough for a bead of water to evaporate instantly, add one tablespoon of the oil and swirl to coat. Add the shrimp and spread it out into a single layer. Let fry, untouched, for 30 seconds. Stir-fry the shrimp for an additional minute, until almost cooked through. Remove the shrimp with a slotted spoon to a plate.

Reheat the pan and add another tablespoon of the oil. Add the eggs and swirl the pan to spread the eggs out to a thin layer. When they are almost cooked through, remove them to the same plate as the shrimp. Cut them into approximately 1 inch pieces.

Add the last tablespoon of oil. Add the ginger, cook for a few seconds, then add the rice and stir to incorporate the ginger. Spread and press the rice over the surface of the wok and let it cook, untouched, for about one minute. Toss the rice, respread it, and let it cook for an additional minute, untouched.

Add the soy sauce and toss with the rice. Add the peas and carrots, the cooked eggs, the almost-cooked shrimp, the rice vinegar, and the sesame oil. Stir fry all of the ingredients together to heat through and completely cook the shrimp. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper and serve.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: Above you see the rice I used, which was surprisingly tasty. I don’t normally buy this type of product but Karen’s post made me open my horizons. If you are in a hurry, this is the perfect shortcut ingredient. Same goes for the frozen peas and carrots. Leftovers were great next day too. I am a bit picky about seafood leftovers, but the shrimp held up ok. Not sure I would enjoy leftovers with salmon or another type of fish, but maybe your tastebuds are more user-friendly than mine.

I love this type of meal that is one bowl with everything: carbs, veggies, animal protein. Of course, you can make a vegetarian version using mushrooms or seared tofu, the basic mixture will shine no matter what…

Karen, I don’t know how many recipes I’ve made from your blog, including breads, sweets, savory stuff, but this one is another big winner!
THANK YOU!

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MASALA SHRIMP

Quick to prepare, super flavorful, leftovers would be great next day but you won’t have any. Sorry about that.

MASALA SHRIMP
(inspired by many sources)

1 pound shrimp, large or jumbo, peeled and deveined
4 Roma tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1/2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp Kashmiri chili
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp Garam masala
1/3 cup water
juice of half a lemon
1/2 tsp chaat masala mix (optional, but nice)
fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

Heat the oil over a large sauté over medium-high heat. Add the tomatoes, and cook them for at least 5 minutes, stirring every once in a while, until they turn into a paste. Add the ginger and cook for a couple of minutes longer. Add all the seasonings up to garam masala. Stir well, add water and let it reduce gently for 5 minutes or so.

Add the shrimp, season with salt and chaat masala (if using). Cook until the shrimp is opaque, moving them often. Turn the heat off, drizzle the lemon juice and serve sprinkled with cilantro leaves.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: Traditionally, the masala shrimp would be less saucy, the tomato mixture is reduced longer. I took a slightly different route, so decide which way pleases you. If you want a shrimp more intensely flavored and almost dry, start with 3 tomatoes instead of 4, and reduce the masala further. Chaat masala is a nice spice mix to have in your pantry if you are fond of Indian cuisine.

You can use this masala sauce to serve with chicken, pork, I bet even scallops could be pretty nice too. And it is ready so quickly, perfect for a busy weeknight.

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TIGER SHRIMP IN CHILI SAUCE

Tiger Cookies, Tiger Shrimp. Both very appropriate for this time of the year, don’t you agree? This is a super simple and quick recipe, with intense flavors. Contrary to most Chinese-inspired stir-fries, this one does not take any thickening agent like cornstarch, so don’t expect that kind of a sauce with some texture and body. We loved it this way, it felt lighter and without any compromise in flavor, quite the contrary. It seems that without any cloying sauce, the spices spoke louder.

TIGER SHRIMP IN CHILI SAUCE
(adapted from The Woks of Life)

1 pound jumbo tiger shrimp (or another type of jumbo size shrimp, peeled and de-veined)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons chili garlic sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon Szechuan peppercorns, smashed
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon ginger (minced)
1 shallot, minced
1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine (or dry Sherry)
1/3 cup water (you may not use it all)
cilantro leaves

Rinse the shrimp under running water and pat dry with a paper towel.

Make the sauce by mixing the tomato paste, ketchup, chili garlic sauce, salt, pepper and sesame oil in a medium bowl.

Heat the oil in your wok until smoking hot. Fry the shrimp on both sides for 30 seconds each side. Remove the shrimp from the wok and set aside on a plate. Lower the heat to medium-low, add the ginger and shallots. Sautee for a couple of minutes, add the sauce, Shaoxing wine, cook stirring for a minute. Add half the water, let everything simmer together for another minute, add the shrimp and cook gently in the sauce until just cooked through. If needed, add the rest of the water. Add the fresh cilantro and serve over white rice with a favorite side dish.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: This was a super vibrant dish, and it is hard to find a simpler and faster way to have dinner at the table. Cooking the rice to go along took a lot longer… We enjoyed it with broccoli, prepared in one of my favorite ways (check it out here) because it is also super quick and very tasty. This one goes into our rotation, for sure! I hope you’ll give it a try…

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SHRIMP STIR-FRY, KUNG PAO-INSPIRED

This is not authentic Chinese cooking. It is my version of a stir-fry, inspired by a classic. By definition, Kung Pao is a stir-fry served with spicy sauce, and sprinkled with peanuts. So I guess I am reasonably safe with my concoction. The inclusion of sugar snap peas adds extra veggies that make the whole thing more satisfying to me. Tune the spices to your comfort level, but please make sure to include Szechuan peppercorns. You cannot get the same type of heat from any other pepper.

KUNG PAO-INSPIRED SHRIMP
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
1 tsp Szechuan peppercorns, lightly crushed
1/3 cup roasted cashews
1 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 yellow bell pepper, cut in large slices
sugar snap peas, amount to taste, around 6 oz
salt to taste
1/4 cup oyster sauce
1 tablespoons sambal oelek
1 teaspoon cornstarch dissolved in 1/4 cup cold water
drizzle of sesame oil

Heat a large saute pan over high heat for about 1 minute. When you see the first wisps of white smoke, swirl in one tablespoon of the vegetable oil, then add the peppercorns and sautee for a few seconds. Add the cashews, bell pepper and sugar snap peas. Season lightly with salt. Stir fry for a few minutes, remove from the pan, reserve.

Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan, when very hot add the shrimp and stir fry until it starts to get cooked through. Return the vegetables and cashews to the pan, add the oyster sauce and sambal. Stir for a minute or so, pour in the cornstarch/water. Let everything come to a boil, cook until fragrant and luscious. Adjust seasoning. Serve over white rice if you like.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: This was a great simple dish to prepare after an intense day of work. After more than a decade without facing a classroom, I am teaching college students and let’s say the stress level goes up a bit. It is nice to have a meal that does not require too much time and too much effort. Stir-fry to the rescue!

Adjust the spice level to your liking, if you are feeling brave get some habaneros to the party… I always flirt with the habanero idea, but never go for it. I guess my Dad would be disappointed.

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