All posts tagged: shrimp

Sizzling Shrimp Spring Rolls

Thanks to my step-father-in-law, travel and Asian cooking classes, I’ve unintentionally become a master at making fried shrimp spring rolls or cha giò tôm. Accident or not, I’m thankful for this skill for spring rolls have turned out to be a fun group activity, popular cooking lesson and intriguing hot appetizer at parties. Just imagine your — or my — friends’ faces when offered a warm, crunchy, golden hors d’oeuvre and hearing the words, “Want to try some crunchy shrimp spring rolls? Nope, they’re not from the Chinese restaurant down the street. I made them myself!” Talk about impressing guests! Although I came to shrimp spring rolls through Vietnamese cuisine, these snacks have their origins in China. During the Tang Dynasty, between the 7th and 10th century, people began serving spring rolls to celebrate the Chinese New Year and the planting of the new season’s crops. The early version of this finger food featured sliced spring vegetables rolled up in a delicate pastry or pancake. Thus how it got the name “spring roll.” Once sealed, …

Shrimp Khao Soi in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Along with talking to locals, visiting historical sites and browsing museums and shops, eating—and cooking—the regional cuisine always helps me to understand a new place. When I don’t have friends to show me the culinary ropes, I turn to hands-on cooking classes. That’s how I ended up at the Green Mango Thai Cookery School in Chiang Mai,Thailand. Situated on a lush, bamboo- and coconut-tree lined property about 20 minutes from the center of Chiang Mai, Green Mango provided a lovely setting, well-stocked cook stations and delicious, classic recipes. Better still, it gave me a chance to learn from a native chef, shop for fresh ingredients and cook like Northern Thais do. Among the traditional dishes made at Green Mango was khao soi (also spelled “kôw soy”). A specialty of Chiang Mai, this spicy curry features red curry paste, wheat- and egg-noodles and beef or chicken. Since I was the lone pescetarian in attendance, I was allowed to make an untraditional version of this culinary icon, shrimp khao soi. To begin, I pummeled together such Thai …

Spicy Shrimp Scampi

Shrimp. It’s America’s favorite shellfish and, by some accounts, the country’s best selling seafood. Most Americans can rattle off at least one beloved shrimp recipe. Along with shrimp cocktail, the dish most often mentioned to me is shrimp scampi. By definition scampi is not a culinary preparation but instead a small lobster—about 10 inches in length—found from Iceland to Morocco. In French it’s known as langoustine. The Italians refer to it as scampi. Others call it a Norway lobster or Dublin prawn. Yet, in North America, scampi has come to mean sautéing medium- to large-sized shrimp alongside garlic, butter and white wine and then serving the resulting dish over pasta. Go figure! I’ve mentioned previously how you should purchase frozen shrimp and defrost the shellfish shortly before cooking. That way, you’re not buying already-defrosted-and-languishing-in-a-supermarket-seafood-case shrimp that you’re forced to cook right away. To defrost the shrimp, place the frozen bag in your refrigerator and allow the contents to thaw overnight. If you’re pressed for time, you can place the shrimp in a bowl filled with …

Luscious Lemon-Garlic Shrimp

In spite of my annual pledge not to binge from Thanksgiving through Christmas I’ve done what I do every year — eat, eat and then eat some more. Breads. Dips. Spiced nuts, crackers and chips. Not to mention the pies, tarts, cakes, cookies and trifles. How can I forget eggnog, Bloody Marys and poinsettia cocktails? By the time that New Year’s rolls around I need not only a diet but also detox! Tapped out on heavy holiday foods and hours spent in the kitchen, this New Year’s I’m opting out of the usual homemade sauerkraut, butter-drenched mashed potatoes and faux pork offering. Instead, on January 1 I’m serving Lemon-Garlic Shrimp. Even sticklers who insist on eating “lucky foods” on New Year’s Day can appreciate this dish. With it they get the color yellow or gold, signifying money or good fortune in the new year. Plus, they eat seafood, which somewhat satisfies the old custom of consuming fish on January 1. Tradition dictates that, because fish swim upstream, one should eat fish to ensure advancement in …

Sautéed Ginger-Scallion Shrimp at Shockingly Delicious!

I’m thrilled to be branching out this week and sharing Sautéed Ginger-Scallion Shrimp with the readers of Shockingly Delicious. If you’ve yet to check out this fabulous food blog, it offers “unbelievably drool-worthy, scrumptious, ‘scary good’ recipes for people who love food!” Such a nice venue for this quick and delicious shrimp recipe! Please head over to fellow journalist, food blogger and seafood fan Dorothy Reinhold’s site for more about Sautéed Ginger-Scallion Shrimp. You’re sure to get hooked. It’s Shockingly Delicious!

Simmering Heat of Szechuan Pepper Shrimp

Another week into the new year and I’m still fixated on lighter fare. Although Asian cuisine continues to dominate my dinner menus, right now it’s not so much a specific dish as it is a spice, Szechuan pepper, that I crave. With its mildly hot, slightly piquant tang Szechuan pepper brings a clean, wholesome warmth to my winter cooking. Contrary to its name, Szechuan pepper doesn’t belong to the peppercorn family or even grow on vines as peppercorns do. Instead these reddish-brown berries come from prickly ash trees. Originating in the Szechuan province of China, they also appear in parts of Japan, India, Tibet and Indonesia. Dried, the aromatic berries are sold whole and in powdered form. With a little searching I can find both whole and ground Szechuan pepper at Asian markets and well-stocked spice shops such as Kalustyan’s. Cooks often use Szechuan pepper to dress up spare ribs, pork loin or duck. Because I’m not a pork or beef eater, I add it to my favorite protein source, seafood. When tossed together with …

Shrimp!

They’re Americans’ favorite shellfish and, after canned tuna, their preferred seafood. Yet, until the 20th century, shrimp were not readily available to diners. Unless you lived in the South, where shrimp were sold live, you missed out on these flavorful, little crustaceans. By the early 1900’s, though, advances in fishing trawler refrigeration allowed the mass marketing of and subsequent nationwide craze for shrimp. Over 300 species exist worldwide but I tend to find six or seven in our markets. Gulf White, Pink and Brown, Ecuadoran or Mexican White, Chinese White, Black Tiger and Rock are the types that I see. As the names suggest, Gulf shrimp hail from the Gulf Coast, Chinese and Black Tiger come from Asia, etc. Of these Black Tiger is the largest, growing up to one-foot in length. It’s also one of the more expensive. As a general rule, the larger the shrimp, the higher the cost. Buy shrimp and you buy according to number per pound or count. The smaller the number in the count, the larger the shrimp will …