Friday, February 10, 2012

Taste & Create: Shrimp Laksa


*Taste & Create is an amazing monthly food blog event, created by my friend Nicole of For the Love of Food. Participants are paired up randomly, and each create a recipe from their partner's blog! It is so fun! Please join us. The deadline to sign up is the 8th day of each month, email me at cowgirlmin07[at]gmail[dot]com if you're interested!

My partner this time was Vicky from Avocado Pesto. I'm sorry to say this recipe is embarrassingly late, but better late than never, I suppose.

So initially I was intrigued by these pork/dough things on Vicky's blog, called Cha Sui Bao, don't they look fabulous, and Vicky even emailed me the recipe! I decided I didn't have the ambition, let alone the ingredients, to prepare that dish now. But I WILL. Some day.

After some more searching, I decided to make Vicky's Almond Macaroons. And then that just didn't happen. Am I glad that I didn't settle for making some cookies with which Vicky herself wasn't thrilled.

I was searching again, in desperation now, when I found it. A recipe that sounded so delicious, I just had to make it that night. It is called Shrimp Laksa, and it is heavenly. A fairly simple Malaysian shrimp soup, with coconut milk and curry paste and a dollop of peanut butter, shrimp and lightly crunchy fresh vegetables. It was so good. I will definitely be making it again!

My pictures look different than Vicky's, perhaps because her cilantro appeared to be used whole, as more of a garnish, while I just chopped mine and tossed it in the pot. You can see what a colorful, flavorful soup this is! Did I mention, I'm making this again? ;-)

I do have two young boys, and although one of them eats Cholula sauce by the spoonful, he doesn't like his regular food to be spicy, so I modified a bit. Also couldn't find lemongrass (no surprise) in my teeny tiny grocery. But hey, we even had a box of rice noodles in the pantry! It was destined. You'll find my modifications below in parenthesis. Follow the link to check out more of Vicky's creations!

So the verdict from the boys: the 8-year-old loved it, the almost-6-year-old did not. We also loved it, so the 6 year old is out of luck, I'm making it again!!

a very bad, poorly lit iPod photo, but here it is served up with the noodles!

Shrimp Laksa
Serves about 6

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 small red onion, finely diced

2 teaspoons fresh lemongrass, finely diced (I used a few long strands of fresh lime peel, knowing that cilantro would be added at the end, I read online that citrus peel + cilantro is a fair substitute although not exactly the same)

1-2 teaspoons red chili, chopped (I wasn't sure which type of chile, so I didn't use any)

2 teaspoon ginger, grated, DIVIDED

10-12 oz raw shrimp, halved lengthwise (we left them whole)

1 can coconut milk (400 ml)

1 liter chicken stock

1 tablespoon chunky peanut butter

4 teaspoons lime juice (I used juice from one half a lime)

3 teaspoons red curry paste (I used 2 teaspoons)

2 teaspoons fish sauce

4 oz sugar snap peas, thinly sliced

1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced

4 green onion, sliced into 4 pieces lengthwise and then into long strings (this was hard, I did it the first time but next time I'll probably just chop them up)

handful of fresh cilantro, chopped

8 oz vermicelli thin rice noodles, cooked according to package directions and rinsed with cold water

sriracha, to taste

1. Heat olive oil in a saucepan and cook onions over medium heat for 3 minutes and then add lemongrass, red chili and 1 teaspoon ginger and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. (I didn't read this, and just added everything together. It still turned out)

2. Add the coconut milk, red curry paste and peanut butter to pan, whisking until smooth.

3. Add the fish sauce, chicken stock, ginger, shrimp, sugar snap peas and red pepper. Cook until shrimp is pink and vegetables have cooked a little but are still crunchy.

4. Add lime juice, green onions and cilantro.

5. Serve with vermicelli noodles and add sriracha to taste.

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