Shrimp Curry

Lately, Billy and I have been paying extra attention to what we eat. Not necessarily to make big changes in our diet, but to be aware of what we’re eating and to try to stay on a healthy track. My opinion has always been, if you’re cooking it…it’s probably a lot healthier than going out to eat. Which is true, for the most part. But, I decided to go out and buy a few healthy-eating cookbooks anyway to make sure that we are actually on the right page.

We made this shrimp curry recipe that’s featured in a book by the American Institute for Cancer Research called The New American Plate. The book is awesome! It’s more than a cookbook, actually. It’s got a pretty long introduction section that explains why American’s are more unhealthy and overweight than ever. It also explains how to prepare a “proper” meal with the right portions of meats and veggies. Anyway, the shrimp curry recipe was really good, and can easily be altered to include the meats and veggies you like most.

Here’s what you’ll need:
– 1 tbsp cornstarch
– 2 tsp curry powder (or more if you like)
– 1/2 tsp sugar
– 1 tbsp (reduced-sodium) soy sauce
– 3/4 cup chicken broth
– 3 tsp oil (the recipe calls for canola or peanut, two of the healthiest oils, but whatever you have on hand is fine)
– 8 asparagus spears, cut into one inch pieces
– 1 bell pepper, diced
– 1/4 lb (about 20) sugar snap peas strings on both edges removed
– 2 tsp peeled ginger, minced
– 1 large garlic clove, minced
– 3/4 lb medium shrimp, peeled and deveined (the frozen package will do)
– rice or noodles

The first thing you’ll do is prepare the curry sauce. To do this, combine the cornstarch, curry powder and sugar in a bowl and whisk together. Next, add the soy sauce and combine, then add the chicken broth and give it one final whisk. Set the mixture aside.

In a wok or high-sided skillet, heat 1 tsp of the oil over very high heat. Add all of the veggies (including the ginger and garlic) to the pan and saute until everything had turned bright, about two minutes. (If you like any of the veggies cooked through a little more, add those to the pan first.) Remove from the pan and set aside.

Heat the remaining oil (2 tsp) in the same pan, still over high heat. Add the shrimp and cook on each side until they turn pink, about one minute per side. Return the veggies to the pan and pour in the curry sauce (stir it up if it’s separated a little). Bring to a boil and simmer for about two or three minutes until the shrimp is cooked through and the sauce thickens.

Shrimp Curry over Udon Noodles

Shrimp Curry over Udon Noodles

You’d never know this is a “healthy” meal. While we were cooking, I kept thinking, “This isn’t any different from a normal night for us….” Which is, of course, a good thing considering we’re trying to make sure to eat healthy meals. The biggest difference we did notice is the proportion of veggies compared to the shrimp. But, according to the book, your plate should be 2/3 veggies and starches and 1/3 meat…so I guess that’s how all recipes from this book will be. No big deal, really.

But really, the shrimp were so tender and all the veggies were perfectly cooked — still crunchy and fresh, but cooked enough to not have that raw taste. The curry sauce was so flavorful, and the Udon noodles we made on the side sopped it up nicely. I think next time we make it I would add more curry powder for a little extra flavor and maybe change up the veggies. But overall, a really great dish.

P.S. I also highly recommend The New American Plate Cookbook. It’s so informative and all of the recipes look really tasty. Plus, all of the nutritional information for the dishes is right there.

Butter Stuffed Shrimp on the Grill

Apparently we’ve been in a grilling mood. I guess we’re trying to catch up on all the grilling we didn’t do over the summer. At least the weather is still good. It takes a pretty good chef to be able to call your dishes “the ultimate,” but I think Tyler Florence has the chops. His book, Tyler’s Ultimate, has “the ultimate” recipe for everything. Let me tell you, his grilled shrimp with lemon-basil butter stuffing were amazing.

Here’s what you’ll need:
– 1 stick butter, softened (make sure it’s not melted)
– a large bunch of fresh basil
– the juice of 1 lemon
– salt and pepper
– 16 large jumbo shrimp, shells on and split down the back

This recipe is really easy, but it takes some time to individually stuff each shrimp. We ended up with a really good system where one of us would put a drop of butter under each shell and the other would rub it around a bit. However it gets done, make sure you’re not shy with the butter because it gives the shrimp so much flavor. To make the butter, throw the softened stick, basil, lemon juice and salt and pepper into a food processor and puree until smooth. Stuff the butter under the shells of the shrimp, about a half a teaspoon for each shrimp.

Heat the grill over medium-high heat and spray with cooking spray so the shrimp don’t stick. Once the grill is hot, throw the shrimp on and don’t touch until they’re ready to flip, about three minutes. Baste them with more butter as they begin to cook, then flip. Baste again and let them cook through, about another three minutes. Simple as that!

Leaving the shells on the shrimp while they’re grilling gives them so much extra flavor, but nothing can top the amazing flavor from the lemon-basil butter. The shrimp had such a buttery flavor, but the flavors of the lemon and basil resonated throughout the meat of the shrimp. I’ve had grilled shrimp before, but there’s no doubt that these are truly the ultimate grilled shrimp.