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|Good food chases Monday blues away: Shrimp Curry Rice||Posted by: Chi Anh | March 30, 2010|
Mondays are always crazy at work. I left work at 7:45pm with absolutely no idea what to have for dinner. Dragging my feet across the street, I felt like any amount of cooking would take away my last strain of energy. But thinking of my dinner options available on the streets, I couldn’t help but cringe. And the fact that I was still walking around with a bruised eye didn’t help either. I look like a victim of domestic violence! I wanted good food. But quick. Scanning through the fridge in my head, I recalled that I had frozen shrimps and some cherry tomatoes. I decided to make the simplest dish possible – Shrimps sauteed in tomatoes with spring onions. Something my Mom would sometimes make, with the addition of Tofu. Once I got home, I stopped by at the Vegie shop downstairs to pick up some fresh tomatoes & spring onions for my simple shrimp dish. This is where I totally got carried away. Looking at the array of fresh vegies available, my mind immediately wandered to the colorful Brinjals and Lady fingers/Okras. That inspired me to make a curry base dish, as I love the texture of okras in curry sauces from Indian dishes. Suddenly my Monday night fatigue disappeared and I found myself sweeping the vegies off the shelves. I was now equipped with an exciting spread of fresh vegetable ingredients, and a bag of frozen shrimps:
Flipping through my Real Simple cookbook, I immediately found the perfect dish for the night that could make full use of my fresh ingredients: Curried Rice with Shrimp. Really not trying to sell the book here, but it’s really my favorite Go-To cookbook on weeknights right now. However, I tweaked the recipe by adding brinjals & okra, and instead of using normal curry paste/powder, I used my own concoction of curry powder (courtesy of Neeti): Garam Masala powder and Tumeric powder. It always works wonders!
Curried Rice with Shrimp (serves 4)
1 tbsp Olive Oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 brinjal or aubergine, cut into slices and rinsed in water to avoid browning
About 10 ladyfingers/okras, chopped into chunks
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp Garam Masala powder & 1 tsp tumeric powder
1 cup white rice (I didn’t bother to use brown rice this time, as it takes much longer to cook)
200g of frozen, peeled shrimps
Fresh basil leaves
Salt & Pepper
1. Heat the oil in a large skillet or wok over medium heat. Add the onion and carrots and cook + stir until soft, for about 6 – 8 minutes. Always a good start to any dish – sauteed onions with the sweetness of carrots (If you remember, my Sunday pasta dish started with this step as well).
2. Add garlic together with Garam Masala + Tumeric powder and stir quickly. Add in the Okras and Brinjals. This is why I could do away with curry paste – The okra and brinjals were releasing enough juice and esp the okra grease immediately glued everything together into a thick, fragrant paste. All this without having the oiliness and fattiness inside ready-made curry pastes. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper and stir for about 2 minutes.
3. Add the rice, 2.5 cups water and season with salt & pepper to taste. Bring to boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes. Do check on it in between as the rice can soak up all the water very quickly and start sticking to the wok. Add more water bit by bit if the rice gets too dry. The goal is to have slightly al dente rice fully integrated into the curry & vegie flavours.
4. Season the shrimps with 1/2 teaspoon salt and some pepper. This part reminds me of Paella: nestle the shrimps in the cooking rice. Let the heat of the rice cook the shrimps, without having to stir. Cover and cook for about 4 – 5 min, until the shrimps are pink and opaque throughout. This results in fresh, sweet and crunchy shrimps that is not overcooked until stiff and dry (I’ve always wondered how they cook such crunchy and fresh tasting shrimps in Chinese fried rice dishes. Now I know).
6. Fold in the basil. Serve on to dish and squeeze a bit of lemon juice on top. Garnish with some fresh cherry tomatoes (to complement the savoury taste of the dish, and also to finish up leftover cherry tomatoes I’ve been stuck with for days :P)
Final result: A wonderfully flavourful Rice dish that is like a cross between Paella and Risotto rice, but with Indian flavours. A really lovely surprise
Who says Monday nights have to be a bleak affair. Let the colors and flavours of your food chase away all your Monday blues, just as how it did for mine This goes straight into my lunch box for tomorrow’s lunch at work! Now time to feed my hungry bunny… Night foodies!
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