The Joys of Cooking with Coconut Milk

It’s time for a food post! I tried my hand at a new recipe from the May issue of Real Simple, but my Panko-Crusted Pork Chops with Roasted Broccoli Rabe was a bit of a failure. I’m not really a fan of pork to begin with, so I suppose it was meant to be.

I found this recipe for Curried Shrimp with Coconut Milk from Food Network a few months back, and I’ve used it enough that I think it’s time to blog about it, and even alter the recipe a bit. I watch copious amounts of Food Network (not good if you’re trying to curb an overzealous appetite), so I trust their tasty recipes when I find them. I also much prefer seafood to meat any day.

This recipe contains elements of all my favorite foods, tastes, and spices: curry, seafood, red peppers, cilantro, and mmm…coconut milk! Everything is better with some coconut milk; if someone simmered an old sneaker in coconut milk, I’d find it appetizing. I love the spices, the bright colors, and the personality that are signature of Thai food.

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I’d travel to Thailand just to walk through a fragrant spice market and bring home some of these treasures.

 

For this yummy recipe, I buy a pound of Nature’s Promise raw shrimp and a small-ish yellow onion and red pepper. You have to admire peppers–they’re bright and beautiful and packed with seeds, and you notice they have wonderful little water pockets when you bite into them (a friend once pointed this out to me). I also just grab a small package of cilantro, the kind you find nestled with other herbs, such as dill. I simply pull the cilantro leaves off and throw them in a bowl with the chopped scallions until my hands smell awesome. I always love slicing scallions, especially since the rubber bands wrapped around the stalks help keep our chopping even. Last time I made this, my lime didn’t yield very much juice; I must study up on how to properly pick out a lime…unless I just wasn’t very lucky this time. I also need to invest in a good mini citrus juicer, like this one.

I substitute extra virgin olive oil for butter–maybe it’s Paula Dean’s influence, but cooking with butter just seems like loading on lots of unnecessary calories. Besides, olive oil is delicious! I’m also planning on utilizing the coconut oil that’s been sitting in my spice rack for months now. I also use powdered ginger rather than the real thing, due to sheer laziness. I omit the squash, and if you peruse through the user reviews below the recipe on Food Network’s page, you’ll see I’m not the only one.

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I could drizzle this sauce over anything, and it would taste amazing.

Whenever I make a Thai dish, I love to make a nice bed of Jasmine rice for the main dish to rest on. I’ve also used Basmati rice, but I’m not entirely sure of the difference. The glazed onions add a nice sweetness to the coconut milk, and the red pepper offers a crunchy consistency. I also love the colors and scents you get when the spices mix with the coconut milk. My cat begged incessantly for a taste of this, and I realized that it wasn’t the shrimp she wanted but some of the tasty, fragrant sauce. I didn’t chop the cilantro, and it gives each bite a nice aftertaste. This would be a nice dish to serve outside on a patio or poolside with grilled peaches for dessert.

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The pepper is cut julienne, but really, you can dice it or do whatever strikes your fancy.

When I made this, I kept it light and had blackberries and sliced strawberries for dessert. Dessert is the whole point of the meal (says the beautiful Amanda Shelton from the wonderful food-centered rom-com Simply Irresistible)!

Happy tummies 🙂

-J

 

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