Curried Peanut Stuffed Shrimp
I was reading an article a few months ago where the author stated that even people who consider themselves to have international tastes will always still lean towards one type of cuisine in particular. I scoffed, read the article to Mike, and announced how that was patently not true because I enjoy making all types of food and really couldn’t pick a favorite.
I disagreed most vehemently. That’s SO untrue! Falsities! Fatuous promulgations!! If anything, maybe I make a bit more Middle Eastern food than the average, or possibly Italian, or maybe even –
Mike: “No. Indian.”
Then I thought about it, and…well…..he’s right. I refuse to tell him that and I will still wildly protest if he brings it up, but you should know the truth. And so will he after he reads this. The only case-pleading that I have left to do here is to say that I do make a lot of Asiatic food, but I separate it into Pakistani, North Indian, South Indian, Malaysian, Thai – whereas to Mike, a curry is a curry is a curry. The net result is that I FEEL like there’s some variety, but when push comes to shove….I make a lot of curries.
Anyway, because we hadn’t had a curried dish in over a week (horrors!!) and I happened to have some colossal shrimp that I got for a PHENOMENAL price ($6.99/kg for size 6-8 shrimp) out comes the curried peanut stuffed shrimp. Because really, when you have shrimp that size, you might as well stuff ’em.
Curried Peanut Stuffed Shrimp
Serves: 4 – 6 depending on hunger, shrimp size, and affection for curries.
- 12 – 15 raw colossal (6-8 or 8-10) size shrimp
- 1 tsp fennel seed
- 1 tsp coriander seed
- 1 inch chunk of fresh ginger root
- 3/4 cup of unsalted peanuts
- 1 jalapeno pepper
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 1/2 small bundle of cilantro, about a wee handful
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp turmeric
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1 can (400 ml) unsweetened light coconut milk
- 3 green onions, chopped
In a smallish (okay, medium) sized skillet toast the fennel and coriander seeds until they’re fragrant and starting to crackle ever so quietly.
Add in the unsalted peanuts and give everything a stir. When the peanuts are nicely toasted as well, take the pan off the heat.
Meanwhile, peel your ginger and slice the inch long unit of root into two equal pieces.
In a small food processor pulse two cloves of garlic (save the other two) with the jalapeno and one chunk of ginger until everything is in mighty small pieces. In terms of the jalapeno, I left the seeds and ribs in because I like a bit of heat. If you’re a milder soft soul, feel free to scoop the seeds and ribs out, or only use half of a jalapeno.
When the peanut mixture has cooled, add this to the minced savories along with your bunch of cilantro – stems and all.
Pulse that until it is combined and the peanuts are well chopped, but not peanut butter. A bit of texture goes a long way. Sprinkle lightly with salt, if you so desire…and I did.
I should mention that if you’re going to serve this with rice (basmati, of course) which I would recommend, you probably want to put it on now so that it has adequate time to cook.
Peel the shrimp but leave the tails intact. Butterfly the shrimp by carefully cutting down the back where the vein is/was (if it’s still there, remove it) without cutting all the way through. Open the shrimp up so that it sits flat, like a book. In a lightly oiled/sprayed casserole dish lay the shrimp down and press about 1 – 2 tbsp of filling into each one, tamping down as you go to mold it into a slightly firm mound. The peanut mixture will not hold together on it’s own, but there’s enough moisture from the other ingredients that it can be packed and pressed into the shrimp and will keep it’s shape.
Heat the oven to 350F and let the shrimp sit as you start on the sauce.
Back to your reserved garlic and ginger!! Finely mince the garlic and chop the ginger up into very thin matchsticks.
Sautee the garlic and ginger in 1 tbsp of olive oil until they’re fragrant, and then add the turmeric and cumin. Stir this around so that the spices are able to lightly toast in the oil as they latch onto the garlic and ginger.
Pour in the unsweetened light coconut milk and bring this up to an easy boil on medium heat, stirring regularly. At this point, tuck the shrimp in the oven. They will need to cook for 10 – 20 minutes, depending on the size and the heat of your oven. Take them out as soon as the tails are pink and they’re opaque all the way through. In the time that it take the shrimp to cook, the sauce should reduce by about half. Taste it, and adjust the salt as necessary.
Serve the shrimp on a bed of basmati rice with the sauce drizzled all around and garnish liberally with the green onion.
Look at that sexy, curvy shrimp with his pink tail. He’s just lounging lazily on the rice, and loving every minute of it.
There you have it! One more East Asian dish to add to your repertoire. And yet another curried dinner in our kitchen, because that’s just how I roll. And Mike loves it, even though he won’t say so.