Monday, April 9, 2012

Let’s Get Together Thai Shrimp

Recipe modified by You Want Me to Cook? – September 11, 2011
For a commentary-free and printer-friendly version of it, please click here.

Let’s Get Together Thai Shrimp recipe originally published in Taste of Home – August 2011.

I love Thai curry dishes and consistently make the same recipe over and over again.  This one made me read the recipe twice.  Yes, it is the basic curry base with shrimp, but it also has cherry tomatoes, mushrooms and cashews.  That sounded too good to pass up.

© You Want Me to Cook?
Let's Get Together Thai Shrimp
The shrimp looks perfect.  The curry sauce isn’t overbearing the dish and has a great color.  The rice and cashews totally complete it.  I was absolutely proud of the way this dish turned out and kept my fingers crossed that it tasted as good as it looked.

© Taste of Home
When I put the pictures side-by-side, I want to eat mine more.  It does make me wonder what type of curry powder they use.  My curry powder is the color of my sauce – a bright red/orange.  Often, I see curry sauces the color of khaki pants.  I don’t know why, but I think the pink color of my curry makes it more appetizing.

Also, I think that amount of rice is absolutely ridiculous.

My dish wins!

for more details about what my ratings mean, go to Gretchen’s Rating System

MessEH – There’s a lot of equipment – something to cook the rice, something to chop the nuts, juicer and pan to make the curry.  Nothing makes a “giant” mess, but there is a lot of potential for it.

Start-to-Finish Time: ABOUT AN HOUR – Being completely honest here… I should have started the rice BEFORE I started prepping my ingredients.  You will see that addition to the directions with commentary explaining why.  My faux pas added approximately 18 minutes on to my time.

Prep Work: SLIGHT BLOOD LOSS – I made things easier on myself by buying pre-sliced mushrooms.  That can take a toll on your time AND your fingers.  The rest is fairly basic and easy slicing and chopping.

Ease of Recipe: THE BASICS – Sauté, simmer and slice/chop is about all the skill you’ll need.  If you don’t have a well stocked spice pantry, you’ll have to buy some curry, but it is fairly standard even in the most meager of spice selections.

OverallYUMMY – It was just as tasty as the other curry/shrimp/rice dishes I’ve made.  Every single bite was gone within a couple of days.

Recipe Information:
I am not a doctor or dietician.  I make my nutritional assessments with the aid of Spark Recipes.  I run the original recipe and my altered recipe through their calorie counter and then compute the differences I find.  My numbers are to be used as a guideline.  Anyone who is under dietary medical supervision should follow the advice of their medical professional if their opinion differs from mine.  PLEASE!

Servings: 2
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes

Even though they don’t specify it in the recipe, the picture shows a ridiculous amount of rice for a serving.  Speaking of the serving – only two servings for 3/4 pound of shrimp!  My husband and I made two meals out of this, which is about 3-4 servings.

Their prep time must also include all of the hands-on time as well, but it still took me twice as long.  Of course, I made a small mistake when making the dish… I didn’t start the rice before prepping the ingredients.  That added about 15 minutes to my overall time which was still more than the recipe specified.

Here is how my timing worked out:
  • Prep: 18 minutes
  • Prepare Rice: 45 minutes
  • Hands-on Time: 12 minutes (done while rice cooking)
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes (done while rice cooking)
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Had I started the rice before prepping the ingredients, I’d still be 10 minutes over the specified time.  So, pretty close, but not quite, and if you’re slicing the mushrooms yourself as well as having to devein and peel the shrimp, plan for at least double the time.

Nutritional Information – 1 cup curry:
  • 362 calories
  • 19 g fat
  • 5 g saturated fat
  • 207 mg cholesterol
  • 715 mg sodium
  • 16 g carbohydrate
  • 2 g fiber
  • 32 g protein
This nutritional information only is for the curry and not the rice.  That means that before I verify the nutritional information, I had to figure out the quantity of the rice.  The rice on my plate is approximately 1/4 cup.  It looks like they have at least doubled that and used the white variety.  So I plugged in the ingredients with a 1/2 cup of cooked white rice and got the following:
  • Calories 421.7
  • Total Fat 17.5 g
  • Saturated Fat 5.4 g
  • Cholesterol 258.4 mg
  • Sodium 750.8 mg
  • Total Carbohydrate 26.2 g
  • Dietary Fiber 2.3 g
  • Sugars 4.5 g
  • Protein 40.4 g
Obviously the big jump was in carbohydrates.  The rest looked fairly accurate with a little extra thrown in for the rice.

I made some changes, one of the biggest being that I used an entire pound of shrimp.  The reason I did that was because I had a pound of frozen shrimp in my freezer and I wasn’t going to throw 1/4  pound of it away because of this recipe.  I used organic vegetable broth that has lower sodium content and brown rice instead of white.  Also, I only figured in 1/4 cup of rice per serving.  Finally, I calculated it using 4 servings.  With the changed ingredients, the nutritional information computed as follows:
  • Calories 337.2
  • Total Fat 12.5 g
  • Saturated Fat 3.7 g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat 1.9 g
  • Monounsaturated Fat 5.3 g
  • Cholesterol 229.7 mg
  • Sodium 539.4 mg
  • Total Carbohydrate 21.6 g
  • Dietary Fiber 1.8 g
  • Sugars 3.1 g
  • Protein 34.4 g
It definitely looks better in fat and has a decent poly- and monounsaturated fats which are the healthy fats you want in your diet.  Also, it was significantly lower in sodium, which always makes me happy.

Another perk – it is great in:
  • Vitamin Dmaintains normal blood levels of calcium and phosphorus and aids in the absorption of calcium (healthy and strong bones)
  • Selenium The body needs selenium for normal growth and health. Selenium is needed for certain enzymes that help with normal body functions.
Changes denoted by red text

© You Want Me to Cook?
Let's Get Together Thai Shrimp - ingredients
Brown Rice

1 pound uncooked medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

2 tablespoons lime juice, divided

1 shallot, chopped

1 teaspoon minced fresh gingerroot

1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
10 cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup sliced fresh baby bella mushrooms (approx 2 ounces)
1/2 cup organic vegetable broth
1/2 cup light coconut milk
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons chopped salted cashews
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
Fit Wash

Ingredient Notes:
Brown Rice – the difference between brown rice and white rice is that the outer layer is still intact and that’s where most of the nutrients are stored.  You can always use it as a substitute when it is an accompaniment to a dish, but be careful when including it in a casserole… it takes a little longer to cook than white rice.

Shrimp – As I said before, the original recipe called for 3/4 pound, but I used a pound because it was what I had left in my freezer and didn’t want to waste any.  The frozen shrimp was deveined and even though it still had the tail-on, it is still much easier to prep.  If you have to devein and peel your shrimp, make sure you add on at least 5-10 minutes of prep time.

Lime Juice – I got my two tablespoons from a small-to-medium lime.

Ginger Root – I used pre-chopped, which I found in the produce department in a jar.  You can also buy a piece of ginger and finely grate it with a microplane.  If you have to do this, it is going to add some time to your prep.

Garlic – I used pre-minced garlic, but obviously the most tasty minced garlic is one you do yourself from a head of garlic.  Again, if you are mincing your garlic, it may add some time to your prep work.

Olive Oil – If you’re wondering if you need the good stuff, don’t worry – you are using it as a cooking medium, so save the really tasty and expensive stuff for marinades and sauces.

Baby Bella Mushrooms – The original recipe doesn’t specify any type of mushroom, so you can usually default to white mushrooms (and the picture on the website seems to verify that).  I went with baby bellas, which are closely related to cremini/white, but slightly more flavorful.  Also, go with pre-sliced if you can find them.  Slicing mushrooms can be tedious work and add significant time to your prep work.

Vegetable Broth – The original recipe called for chicken broth, but I had organic vegetable on hand.  The reason I mention it is organic is because the kind I buy is lower in sodium and fat.  You can use regular vegetable or chicken broth, but keep in mind it is going to add significant calories and fat, but more importantly sodium to the dish.

Light Coconut Milk – You can use regular coconut milk if you have it on hand, but the “lite” version has about 60% less fat and calories.

Crushed Red Pepper Flakes – This was my mistake… I thought I had some in my spice cabinet, but I didn’t.

Cilantro – So I didn’t want to buy an entire bunch for only 2 tablespoons of fresh cilantro and decided to use dried.   Then I forgot to add it to the dish.  Like a dork.

Fit Wash – You don’t need it, but I think the citrus-based wash removes waxy residue without a lot of scrubbing of the vegetables and fruit.

Equipment Needed:

© You Want Me to Cook?
Let's Get Together Thai Shrimp - equipment
(2) Medium Bowls
Cutting Board
Sharp Knife
Rice Maker
Dutch Oven / Large Skillet
Large Spoon
Slotted Spoon

Equipment Notes:

Medium Bowls – I use the bowls for when I’m cleaning my shrimp.  One is meant as a garbage bowl and one holds on to the cleaned shrimp.

Mini-Chopper – My cashews were whole, so I needed to get my mini-chopper out.  If you find them pre-chopped, you won’t need this equipment and probably can subtract some time off your prep work.

Rice Cooker – I love my rice cooker, but of course you don’t need one to make rice.  Remember the old-fashioned way to make it is in a small saucepan with a lid and a fork.

Dutch Oven/Large Skillet – Your large skillet will need to be about 12” and also deep to fit all of your sauce, shrimp and vegetables.  If you don’t have one that size, use your Dutch oven.

(1)   Before prepping ingredients, start rice. Prep the rest of the ingredients.
Do this even if you’re using instant.  It’s better to have your rice cool off a little than have cold or overcooked curry.
(2)  Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
You want your oil and pan to be hot as you start adding vegetables and shrimp.
(3)  Sprinkle shrimp with salt, pepper and 1 tablespoon lime juice.

(4)  In pre-heated oil, saute the shallot, ginger and garlic in oil for 1 minute.

(5)  Add shrimp; cook and stir for 2-3 minutes or until shrimp turn pink. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

(6)  Add tomatoes, mushrooms, broth, coconut milk, curry powder, pepper flakes and remaining lime juice to the skillet.

(7)  Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 8-10 minutes or until mushrooms are tender and sauce is slightly reduced, stirring occasionally.
It took me about 2 minutes to bring the mixture to a boil.  Remember, a simmer is not a steady boil.  You don’t want to see a lot of bubbles breaking the surface, if any.  It also took me approximately 10 minutes to get the mushrooms tender.
(8)  Add shrimp; heat through.

(9)  Garnish with cashews and cilantro.

To wrap things up, this dish was very similar to other Thai/curry dishes that I’ve made, but it was still delicious enough to put it in regular rotation over some of the other recipes I've used.

If I were to make any changes, I would:
  • Use another shallot to give it a little more kick.
  • Remember to buy red pepper flakes.
  • Try substituting salmon for the shrimp (as suggested in the member comments for the recipe) or even a firm tofu.
No matter what kind of protein you use, you won’t be disappointed with this recipe.  As always… Happy Cooking!!!

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