Asian Persuasion…

Dinner plans began with a craving for shrimp. That led to a few ideas. Ultimately, I tried to give everything an Asian spin… even the shrimp scampi.

Scampi, by the way, is technically a type of lobster, but the Italian-American use of the word refers mostly to drowning in garlic butter. Tasty either way, I think.

It’s a lot of fun to pick a theme and stick to it, trust me. Though, those fast food joints offering Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and KFC may disagree (and I won’t argue. I love a taco and bread sticks for lunch. I really do!). A themed meal will make you think and get even more creative. Asian-inspired shrimp scampi isn’t an idea I keep in my back pocket (good thing, too. I’d have to buy cases of Shout!).

Below you’ll find 4 recipes. You can see them in their entirety here… or you can click on the name and open the file for easy printing. You can thank me later.

Each of these dishes was fun to create… and honestly, I did it while standing in the kitchen chopping, mixing and stirring. Nothing was planned out ahead of time. It’s a lot of fun. Try it!

I will tell you that a trip to Trader Joe’s will make this meal easier to prepare. If you don’t have one nearby, don’t worry. You can substitute rice for the Israeli couscous (little pearls of pasta) if your grocery store doesn’t sell it. You can also puree your own mangoes if you can’t find frozen puree. You want pure mangoes here, not mangoes sugar and 42-letter words you can’t pronounce.

The ginger salad sauce brought me back in time to all the nights I’d go to the sushi spot near my college. We always began the meal with a salad covered in this bright orange river that packed a bit of a bite. My version had the same color and pretty much the same taste. Whether or not the ingredients are similar, I can’t tell you. I served it over a wedge of iceberg lettuce. It’d be great on a traditional salad, too.

Ginger Salad Sauce

INGREDIENTS                                                                                        PROCESS

  • 2 Tbsp. fresh ginger, chopped
-1- In a food processor, puree carrots and ginger.
  • 10 Baby carrots
-2- Scrape bowl. Add mustard, soy sauce and vinegar. Puree.
  • 1 Tbsp. dijon mustard
-3- With the food processor running, add the extra-virgin olive oil. Let it run for about a minute to combine. (If you don’t have a food processor, use a blender. If you don’t have either piece of equipment, go to grocery store and buy your favorite dressing – Just kidding. You could mince the carrots and ginger and small as you can get them, then press on the mix with the side of a kitchen knife to create a paste. Put that in a bowl, add the mustard, soy sauce and vinegar and whisk. While whisking, stream in the oil.
  • ½ Tbsp. soy sauce
  • ¼ Cup rice vinegar
  • ½ Cup extra-virgin olive oil

Israsian Couscous

INGREDIENTS                                                                                              PROCESS

  • 1 8 oz. box of Israeli couscous (I use Trader Joe’s brand)
-1- Cook couscous according to package instructions, though they are not tailored to the whole box. I use make the whole package and increase the liquid amount to just under 2 cups. I substitute the oil for sesame oil and the water for chicken broth.
  • ½ Onion, chopped
-2- Remove cooked couscous from pot. Keep in a bowl for further use. In the same pot, add 1 ½ Tbsp. sesame oil, mushrooms and onion. Sautee for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly.
  • 8 oz. button mushrooms, sliced
-3- Once mushroom and onions are soft, add the couscous back to the pot. Stir.
  • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
-4- Add the soy sauce, stir. Cover and keep on low for about 10 minutes.
  • 2 Cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 ½ Tbsp. sesame oil

Nuts For Coco Shrimp

INGREDIENTS                                                                                     PROCESS

  • 1 Cup panko bread crumbs
-1- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  • 1 Tbsp. garlic powder
-2- In a small bowl, whisk the eggs and Sriracha.
  • ½ Tsp. black pepper
-3- In a large bowl, combine the panko, spices and coconut. Toss together.
  • ¼ Tsp. salt
-4- Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  • 1 Tsp. ginger powder
-5- Dip shrimp in egg, then into panko/coconut mixture. Be sure shrimp are coating. Push the breading onto then… be tough. Line them on a baking sheet, spreading evenly.
  • 1 Cup shredded sweetened coconut
-6- Bake in oven 8 minutes. Flip. Turn off oven, leave the pan in there for about 8 minutes.
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Tsp. Sriracha
  • 20 Shrimp, peeled, de-veined (I use froze shrimp – thawed)
  • -Dipping Sauce: Combine 4 oz. mango puree (I used frozen pouches from Trader Joe’s. You could put fresh mango chunks in a food processor),1/2 Tbsp. soy sauce, 2 Tsp. Sriracha, 1 Tbsp. honey and a dash of salt.

Amped Scamped Shrimp

INGREDIENTS                                                                                       PROCESS

  • 1 Tbsp. fresh ginger, minced
-1- In a large pan, add 2 Tbsp. butter, ginger and garlic. Over medium heat, let butter melt, stir and cook 5 minutes.
  • 6 Garlic cloves, minced
-2- Add chicken broth and lime juice, stir.
  • 3 Tbsp. butter
-3- Add shrimp and cook for about 5 minutes, or until pink. Remove shrimp to a plate.
  • Juice of one lime
-4- In a small bowl, which together the corn starch and 6 Tbsp. of the broth mix from the hot pan.
  • 2 Cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
-5- Add that back into the pan by whisking it. Whisk the broth mix for about 5 minutes. It should thicken pretty fast.
  • 2 Tbsp. corn starch
-6- Add 1 Tbsp. butter, let it melt. Sprinkle in salt and pepper. Stir.
  • 20 Shrimp, peeled and de-veined
-7- In ramekins, divide shrimp then fill with thickened broth mix. Serve.
  • Salt & pepper to taste.

Tip: Treat your freezer like a pantry. I always have a thumb of peeled ginger in there. Just buy the ginger in the produce section, use a spoon to peel it and then wrap it in plastic wrap. It’s there anytime you need it. I also keep a pack of bacon in there. I pull it out and cut it in the direction opposite of the slices. This gives me little chunks of bacon, or lardons. Toss ’em in a hot pan and you’ll have crisp bacon bits and bacon fat perfect for frying or sauteing! I always keep a bag of frozen peas on the door. Once thawed, they’re great for salads, rice dishes or curry creations. Use a little and store the rest. I have a bag of jalapenos I grew a year ago on the door, too. They’re excellent for salsas or other dishes where you need some heat.

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