I love quiet Saturday evenings when nobody is around and I can try out new recipes. And tonight I had a swing and a miss. So I'm thankful nobody was around to witness my disgrace. And it was all due to my own stupidity and for breaking my own rules. I've been trying to beat it into the heads of my ladygirls forever to lay out all of their ingredients first, before they begin to cook. I went so far as to tell them that only a common fool would have to run out for a lemon in the middle of a recipe.
Well today, some kind of lazy devil got into my soul. I read my recipe and went to lay out all the ingredients and I didn't have everything. I just did not want to go to the store under any circumstances today either since there was a big carrot festival going on in town and I couldn't bear the thought of the road detours and the traffic. So I went one worse than not laying out my ingredients. I attempted to substitute! Shame on me and slap my wrist because I know better. And I especially know how to substitute if I must, and what flavour marries well with what. I didn't even do that much right because my larder was empty! And the biggest rule of all that I broke was to not use the freshest ingredients possible. I should be tarred and feathered just for that alone.
So I used frozen shrimp that I knew on sight I wouldn't enjoy because they were in the freezer too long. Strike One! The recipe called for freshly chopped cilantro (my favourite food on earth) and fresh limes. I had neither, so I used that cilantro in the tube (ugh!) and lemon instead of lime. Strike Two! And the silliest error of all is that the recipe called for canned tomatoes. Me, being the queen of tomato canning, was all out, so I used a fresh tomato. Duh! Strike Three and you're outta the kitchen!
The problem is that I really wanted to eat that exact thing for dinner. So I threw it all in the garbage and went to the store and bought the ingredients and started over. This time I used beautiful, big, fresh jumbo shrimp. I followed the recipe exactly except I added some fresh Thai basil leaves because I love them. I served it over steamed rice and I can honestly say I will use this recipe often. It was bloody delicious once I got my act together and stopped being a lazy sloth! So let's cook, and let's do it properly this time!
Steamed rice enough to serve however many people you have. For two people, I use 1 cup of rice to 2 1/2 cups of broth.
Olive oil enough to just coat a skillet (about 1/3 cup or just less)
1 finely chopped onion ( I used a red onion on the 2nd try)
3 large cloves minced garlic
2 teaspoons of freshly grated ginger
2 tablespoons of coriander
1/2 teaspoon of cumin
1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon of cayenne powder (or less if you don't like the heat)
1/8 teaspoon of turmeric
1 can of drained chopped tomatoes (for God sake, don't use a fresh one or you'll be left with only the skin)
1 can unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon of salt
1 1/2 pounds of good shrimp
1/4 cup freshly chopped cilantro (a key ingredient!)
a few fresh Thai basil leaves (my own idea!)
Saute the onion in the oil for a couple of minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and let it sweat for a couple more minutes. Add the spices and stir it all around until everything is coated. Add the water and the tomatoes and coconut milk. Also the basil leaves. Bring it up to a simmer for about 8 minutes until the flavours develop and add the shrimp and the salt. Let it simmer for only about 5 minutes till the shrimp turn pink and flip the shrimp over. Let it simmer for a few more minutes. Add the lime juice and the chopped cilantro. Stir it all around and serve it over your steamed rice. This is more prep than cooking. It's fast, easy and delicious. The one thing this recipe taught me well is that if you're not committed, either pull yourself together or call out for pizza! Cheers!