Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Spicy Pineapple Shrimp - Srilankan style

SriLanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh, India - cooks all use pretty much the same spices and follow more or less the same cooking methods but the tastes are usually very different. Shrimp is a favorite around our house and specifically the shrimp stir fry my SriLankan friend makes is something that is enjoyed by all of us. Spicy and sour at the same time it is delicious. While the spices and ingredients are almost the same as I use but the method is slightly different.

So I set out to cook shrimp the way my friend makes it. She normally does not add pineapple but what can I say, pineapple and shrimp are a match made in heaven. I had some fresh pineapple and I had just finished cutting it and could not resist adding it to the dish.

You might have read the latest US government guidelines on nutrition which is very different from the past 40 years where cholesterol and fat were the villains. The shocking news is that foods high in cholesterol does not increase the cholesterol in blood or put you in risk for heart disease. So all of you who remove the yellow from the egg, no need to do that anymore :) Read the full article here.

While the science on nutrition is evolving and the villain in the story keeps changing, there is no need for us throw our hands up. We all instinctively know that too much of anything is not a good thing. A diet that includes a variety of foods and if the majority of the nutrients come from vegetables and also include whole grains is perhaps the best that we can do for ourselves.

But today we will celebrate some cholesterol heavy shrimp with some vegetables and fruit.

Toss the shrimp with the chili paste and set aside. Heat oil in a pan and cook the shrimp in high heat for 2-3 minutes and set aside.
Remove the shrimp and add a bit more oil to the pan and add the onions and white parts of the green onion and saute till they start to turn brown.
Add the ginger, garlic and salt and saute for 2-3 minutes followed by the diced bell pepper and green parts of the green onion.
When the bell pepper has been cooked enough, add the vinegar, chili powder, coriander and cumin powders. Mix well.
Add the shrimp and 2 tbsp of water if required. Mix and cook for 5 minutes.
Toss in the pineapple and turn off the heat.

Spicy Pineapple Shrimp
Preparation Time:10 minutes
Cooking Time:20 - 25 minutes
  1. 20 medium sized shrimp wash and pat dry to remove all moisture
  2. 1 red bell pepper seeds removed and diced to about 1 inch pieces
  3. 8-10 stalks of green onions, root trimmed, green stalks cut into 1 inch pieces and the white sliced smaller
  4. 1/4 cup of red onion cut into moons
  5. 2 tsp of grated ginger
  6. 1 tbsp grated garlic
  7. 1 tbsp rice vinegar (or any clear vinegar) if required
  8. 1 tsp chili paste (I used harissa)
  9. 1/2 tbsp red chili powder
  10. 2 tsp coriander powder + 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  11. 1 cup of diced pineapples
  12. salt to taste
  13. 1/2 tbsp oil

  1. Toss the shrimp with the chili paste and set aside for 5-10 minutes while you get the other ingredients ready.
  2. Heat a wok or wide mouthed pan and add half the oil and when hot add the shrimp and cook on high heat for 2-3 minutes till it just starts to turn slightly white and the tails start to curl. Remove and set aside.
  3. Add the rest of the oil and add the sliced onions and the white part of the green onion, saute till it gets browned a bit. Add the garlic and ginger and saute for a minute more along with salt.
  4. Add the bell pepper and the green onions and cook for about 4-5 minutes till the pepper is cooked (see note:).
  5. Add the vinegar if adding and then the powders, chili, coriander and cumin. Mix it in and add the shrimp.
  6. Add a couple tbsp of water if you want to get a bit more gravy. Cook for about 5 minutes more in low flame, add the pineapples.
  7. Give a good toss and turn off the heat.
  8. Note: I like the bell pepper to be fully cooked so I cook it a little longer. If you like it on the raw side cook it a few minutes less.
Serve with rice. We had them with millets.

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