Coconut Shrimp Curry, for PFB Challenge #2

I'm so happy to report that I was selected to move past the first round in Foodbuzz's Project Food Blog and onto Challenge #2, where you can now vote for me in round 2 here. Thanks to everyone who voted for me and get ready for some copious begging this week for votes to launch me into round 3! And if you missed the first post that got me to Round 2, check it out here: Why me?

When I read that Challenge #2 would include cooking a classic ethnic dish, I immediately thought of one of my favorite cuisines - Indian.

While I'm a pro at ordering up naan, tandoori chicken and palak paneer, whipping up something like tikka makhani in my own apartment kitchen hasn't exactly been a weeknight staple. After all, Shaun and I live a few blocks away from Jersey City's Little India and the food is seriously authentic, so why bother whipping it up in my own apartment kitchen? But since I'm always up for a challenge, I concocted a shrimp curry dish that's upped the ante with the addition of some additional Southeast Asian flavors including coconut milk and bamboo shoots. Oh and I should mention that I have never cooked with these ingredients before. Until today.

Fragrant and extremely flavorful curry lightened up by the fresh flavor of coconut milk really pulls this dish together and keeps the strong curry at bay. The bamboo shoots add just the perfect bit of crunch while the shrimp is the meat of the dish, if you will. And if you're not of the shrimp eating nature, I could see this working just as deliciously by substituting veggies for the shrimp - fresh string beans and bell peppers would really shine here. But let's get down to the details, shall we?

Coconut Shrimp Curry
1 lb shrimp, cleaned, deveined and lightly cooked
1 onion, diced
3 tbsp olive oil
2 cinnamon sticks
1 bay leaf
2 tbsp curry powder
2 tsp cumin
1 clove garlic, minced
kosher salt
1/4 C Greek yogurt
1 can coconut milk, unsweetened
1 can bamboo shoots, drained
1 sprig basil, for garnish
For the rice:
1 C dry basmati rice, I used brown
2 C low sodium chicken broth
1 tbsp butter

In a small saucepan, combine the rice, broth and butter and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer, cover and cook for 50 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a saute pan, heat the olive oil and add the onion. Cook for a few minutes to soften (is there anything better than the smell of sauteeing onions? Nope, there isn’t). Add cinnamon sticks, bay leaf and garlic and cook for about a minute.

Add the curry powder, cumin and about half of the coconut milk.

Whisk together to get rid of the lumps with the stove on low heat. Stir in the Greek yogurt and bamboo shoots and add a bit more coconut milk. The mixture thickens very quickly, so I kept adding more coconut milk throughout the cooking time. Toss in the cooked shrimp.

(Note: if your mixture is too thick, you can add a tablespoon of water to thin it a bit).

Serve over a bed of basmati rice.

Since this dish can be a bit brown, I added a sprig of basil to keep it all looking fresh. In hindsight, white rice would have been best for presentation purposes, however, I was overjoyed that our local bodega had Basmati rice so I scooped it up! This dish can also pack a bit of a kick. If you want to tone it down, try halving the amount of curry powder. Doesn't it look good enough to eat? Admittedly I did devour this gorgeous meal...and it may or may not have been for breakfast. The result was nothing short of warm, delicious and pretty authentic to boot.

 

If you like what you see, please feel free to vote for me to advance to Round 3 of Project Food Blog! So what do you think? Have you ever tried whipping up something outside the realm of your comfort zone?

 

Project Food Blog Challenge #1: Why me?

Challenge #1: Ready Set Blog!

I never knew that I loved food.

sampling a buttercream-topped cupcake at the San Gennaro festival, 2009

Sure, I loved a good slice of buttercream-topped chocolate cake or a great, meaty burger. But I never really knew that my simple enjoyment of these things would turn into a full-blown food obsession, spanning kitchens and restaurants, cities and countries.

lemon blueberry pancakes, one of my favorite breakfast creations!

It wasn’t really until I married the love of my life on a beach in Aruba that I decided to follow in my domestic goddess of a mother’s footsteps and learn what this whole cooking thing was all about. I was always mystified by her ability to transform any dish or even whip up the most delicious dinners on a weeknight between soccer practice and piano lessons. I so wanted those skills. And once married, I really wanted to be the cool, fun wife who not only watched (and could avidly discuss) football but could do some damage in our tiny apartment kitchen. You know, in a good way. And so a kitchen of food fun and exploration was born.

pizza dip, always a favorite in the Humiston household!

While not every dish that comes out of my avid kitchen is worthy of a gold star, (like my pizza dip pictured above which is always a crowd-pleasing winner) I’m all about trying new things, working with what I have, and sharing dishes that can be made and enjoyed by all - regardless of your cooking level. After all, I’m no expert. I'm learning as I go, just like many a reader here on TAA. And you gotta love my ultimate recipe taste tester, blog supporter and super amazing husband, Shaun, for always encouraging my cooking and blogging and for letting me rule our kitchen 24/7. Except when it’s grilling season (that’s his specialty).

enjoying a beer 'n brat at Jersey City's Zepplin Hall

It’s not just about cooking up the goods. Living just outside New York City, home of some of the best food in the world, my thirst for new foods just never seems to be quenched. With decadent food like truffled honey at Otto, mascarpone crostini at Fig & Olive and sweet potato hash or pineapple upside down cake at Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill, can you blame me? I’ve turned into a veritable food disposal...and I’m always hungry for more.

poached eggs over chicken & sweet potato hash at Mesa Grill...mmmm

Oh, and the fact that I love travelling just kindles the proverbial fire of my love of food. This year alone, I traveled to Antigua, Las Vegas, Atlanta, Aruba, the Hamptons, Wyoming and Montana, eating my way through each and every place. Not to mention my history of sampling local goods in Paris (can we take a moment for the genius of frites with mayo sauce?), Germany, Prague, Budapest, Sweden and Estonia.

Dutch pancake with walnuts, brie and honey at Linda's Pancakes in Aruba

I may not be experienced, trained, or all that ‘gourmet’ but turning my love of food into a full-blown lifestyle has changed my life for the better. And sharing it with all of you is just the icing on the cake. Having the opportunity to share my love of food, learnings and kitchen mishaps with all of you has been so personally fulfilling and I just can’t seem to get enough. I hope that you enjoy reading about my culinary adventures as much as I enjoy having and writing them...and above all, I hope that it inspires you to explore new food and get cooking in your own kitchen, whether big and fancy or tiny and basic! So with all of that in mind, I'd be honored to earn the title of The Next Food Blog Star! And with my love of all things food and having become the go-to foodie for friends and family, I just might earn it.

Please vote for me here!

http://www.foodbuzz.com/project_food_blog/challenges/1/view/558