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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VIETNAMESE “PIZZA”: BANH TRANG NUONG

I am super excited to share this recipe with you! I had never heard of this concoction, which is essentially a street food in Vietnam. But during our trip to California last month I had the chance to try it in a restaurant in Los Gatos and could not wait to make it at home. Rice paper instead of pizza dough. Scrambled egg instead of tomato sauce. Seafood almost always the topping, although the one I had used pork belly instead.

VIETNAMESE “PIZZA”
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

for each individual pizza:
2 rice paper round sheets
2 tablespoons olive oil
fresh herbs of your choice (I used basil and oregano)
1 egg, scrambled (it is easier to scramble 2)
salt and pepper to taste
cooked shrimp, 4 to 5 per serving
Thai sweet red chili sauce (store-bought is fine)
roasted salted peanuts

Make a flavored olive oil sauteeing the chopped herbs with the oil until fragrant. Reserve. Cook the shrimp by any method you like. I just used a little butter, salt, pepper and a squirt of lemon juice. Reserve. Scramble the egg with salt and pepper, and if you have a plastic squirt bottle, pour the egg mixture inside. Reserve.

Heat a griddle pan on medium heat. Grab two sheets of rice paper and spray water all over the surface of one of them, add the other on top. Quickly add the double paper to the pan, and carefully using a couple of spatulas or wooden spoons, make the heat stick them together. Once they start to join and the bottom is getting opaque, flip the papers and start heating the other side, always working on the surface to make them glue well. Once the paper starts getting white, brush a bit of the flavored oil on the surface, then pour the scrambled egg, a small amount will do. Push it to the edge with the back of a spoon, but don’t let it fall off on the pan. Cook until the egg starts to set, then quickly add the shrimp. Cook until the shrimp is warmed through. Sprinkle a good amount of sweet chili sauce all over, then the crushed peanuts, and serve. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

Best way to serve it is to cut in wedges with scissors!

ENJOY!

PDF coming soon, stay tuned

Comments: This was such a delicious meal, I think I still need to practice the preparation, particularly handling the double rice paper, but overall I am super happy with the outcome. It is quite unusual, I know we’ll be enjoying it often with different toppings. If you’ve never heard of BANH TRANG NUONG, give this concoction a try, chances are you will fall in love with it also.

You can see a video of the preparation here, but I should warn you things did not go as smoothly for yours truly. Maybe different brands of rice paper behave differently. At any rate, it is worth any trepidation to get to the finish line…

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SHRIMP STIR-FRY WITH SNOW PEAS AND CASHEWS

You simply cannot beat the speed and convenience of a stir-fried meal and I also love the fact that contrary to what the name suggests, very little oil is needed. I do a very quick brining step for the shrimp, 10 minutes is more than enough, but you can omit that if you don’t mind a slightly less tender texture.

SHRIMP STIR-FRY WITH SNOW PEAS AND CASHEWS
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 cups water
2 Tablespoons salt
1 Tablespoon sugar
squeeze of lemon juice
1 Tablespoon grape seed oil
minced garlic (optional)
grated ginger
6 to 8 ounces snow peas
1 yellow bell pepper, sliced thin
1/3 cup cashews, lightly toasted
salt and pepper to taste

for the finishing sauce:
1/2 cup water
2 Tablespoons dry sherry
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
1/2 Tablespoon cornstarch

Dissolve the salt and water in 2 cups of water in a medium bowl. Add the shrimp and leave in the solution for 10 minutes as you prepare the other ingredients. Make the finishing sauce by whisking all components in a bowl. Reserve.

Drain the shrimp, rinse very briefly and pat dry.

Heat a wok or large nonstick skillet over high heat for 2 minutes. Add the oil to the pan and swirl to coat. Add the ginger and garlic (if using), when fragrant add the snow peas and bell pepper. Stir-fry for a couple of minutes, add the shrimp, and cook for a couple more minutes, stirring frequently. Add the cornstarch mixture and cook until the sauce has thickened. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Top with the cashews and serve right away.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: Normally this dish would be served with plain white rice, but sometimes we cannot resist the appeal of the quick version of tahdig. So that ‘s how we enjoyed this delicious stir-fry. Also, maybe you’ve noticed a red pepper in the first photo? That was a Serrano from our garden, I added without knowing how hot it would be. If you feel brave, add some hot peppers to yours too. I often talk about how good a recipe can be a couple of days later as my lunch. No luck this time, zero leftovers!

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