Tuesday, May 5, 2009

More Spice ...

I could certainly write another post, and perhaps several, limning my love of Monica Bhide's Modern Spice ... but let's be honest, what you really want is a recipe ... right? Right.

All kidding aside, my affection for this book prompted me to do something I've never done - contact an author. I wrote to Monica yesterday and asked her permission to reprint a recipe from Modern Spice. I'm just pleased as punch that she has graciously granted that permission, and I'm happy to offer her delectable shrimp recipe for you today.

Hot, Hotter, Hottest Shrimp:

Recipe reprinted from Modern Spice (Simon & Schuster, 2009) with permission.
  • 1/2 cup vinegar (I used red wine vinegar)
  • 1/2 tsp. grated lemon zest
  • 1 tsp. red chile powder or crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp. table salt
  • 1 pound jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1/2 large red onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 small, green serrano chiles, slit lengthwise
  • 2 whole dried red chiles, broken (I used dried chile d'arbol)
  • 1/2 tsp. granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup chopped dry-roasted peanuts
  • some chopped fresh cilantro for garnish (my addition)
In a large bowl, combine the vinegar, lemon zest, chile powder (or crushed red pepper flakes), turmeric and 1/2 tsp. of salt. Whisk to combine. Add the shrimp and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for about 20 minutes.

Heat the vegetable oil in a large non-stick skillet over high heat. When the oil shimmers, add the onion, serrano chiles and dried red chiles and saute for 3 to 4 minutes, until the onion begins to change color. Add the sugar and cook for another minute. Add the peanuts.

Drain the marinade from the shrimp and add the shrimp to the onion mixture. Cook over high heat for 2 to 3 minutes, until the shrimp are completely cooked through. Add salt, if necessary - I found it wasn't - and serve immediately, garnished with some chopped fresh cilantro. Enjoy!

As written this recipe will serve four *very* happy people.

A couple of notes on the recipe - be sure to have all of your ingredients chopped and ready before you begin cooking as this recipe is more or less a stir-fry ... once you begin cooking, it will progress quickly.

While the list of ingredients calls for red chile powder, we're not talking about the stuff one uses to make chili here. As Monica explains in her wonderful chapter on "The Modern Spice Pantry" - Indian red chile powder is not the same thing as American chili powder, which is a salted mixture of different spices. If you cannot find pure red chile powder, you may substitute crushed red pepper flakes or even some cayenne pepper.

For the heat-averse, you can certainly cut down on both the dried red chiles and the fresh serrano peppers. And, by all means, remove the seeds, stem and ribs from the serranos if you are looking to cut down on the fire factor. Though, personally, I wouldn't dream of it. The dish is perfectly balanced as is and the addition of the roasted peanuts is brilliant ... its that special little touch that really makes it sing. I hope you'll try it!

I simply can't say enough good things about this book. For those out there who fear the exploration of this cuisine, let Modern Spice be your guide. The pantry chapter alone will allay your fear of mysterious spices and by the time you've gotten to the first recipe you'll be chomping at the bit to get to your stove.

Modern Spice is more than a cookbook; its a deeply personal exploration of food, family, culture and more. Monice Bhide's passion for life and food is infectious - it will draw you in, keep you reading, and encourage you to explore. Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of this treasure - your heart and your palate will thank you.

Bon appetit!


stephchows said...

The shrimp look perfect!! I'd steer clear of that tumeric though... I'm scared of it now ever since that bitter salsa badness lol.

Debbie said...

Holy cow, the picture! I'm going to have to try this one.

Anonymous said...

Love the spice! This shrimp sounds excellent!

Astra Libris said...

Ooooooh, I love all the fire and spice in this recipe! How awesome that you contacted the author, and how beautiful that she let you post the recipe here! Thank you for introducing me to this gorgeous cookbook!

Anonymous said...

Woowee that sounds spicy! Can we handle all of that hotness? Sounds like we need to pull up a nice bowl of rice to finish this one off.

Anonymous said...

This recipe is indeed tempting but what I really need right now is one of your cocktails.

Did you see the Mom-osa at http://www.thekitchn.com/thekitchn/liquor/mothers-day-cocktail-hibiscus-mimosa-083966 ?

Melissa Good Taste said...

I made shrimp stir fry tonight!!!


Shrimps! Well, prawns here I suppose! I have a love of anything spicy and prawn-related so this recipe is going down in the book and is then going to be ruined by my totally incompetant cooking lol!

Scarlet xoxo

Daily Spud said...

You are selling me on that book bigtime!

The Diva on a Diet said...

Steph - I had a small chuckle at steering clear of the turmeric. You could leave it out, or replace it with some Tandoori Masala if you like. ;)

Debbie - I think you'd really like it ... its a bit Thai in flavor.

5 Star - me too, this is the good kind of spicy - hot, yet very flavorful. Yum.

Astra - You're welcome! I feel so honored that she's allowed me to reprint the recipe. :)

Duo - You two are spicy enough to handle the heat for sure! LOL I made a yummy brown rice pilaf to go with the shrimp and it was a great combination.

Dana - Awesome link! What a beautiful drink that is and another fine use of the St. Germaine. Love it! Will try my best to have something put up today ... have been under the weather this week and not drinking anything stronger than tea. Waah.

Melissa - yummy! Was it spicy?

Scarlet - don't sell yourself short my dear, you can totally recreate this dish for yourself. I know you can! Let me know how it goes. xoxoxo

Daily Spud - I'm glad to hear it. Really, its a great read the recipes are just fantastic. Enjoy!

Deb said...

Sounds yummy and you can never have enough heat in Indian food - there is just something about their spice combos that make it tasty without being painful!

Tangled Noodle said...

Looks like a wonderful recipe and dish from a wonderful book! I'll have to check it out - I'm all for cookbooks that go beyond the food . . . !