Sunday, January 3, 2016

Pan Fried Shrimp in Coconut Oil with Ginger-Cilantro Dipping Sauce


And with this post I'm officially a part of the Coconut Oil brigade!

No... not entirely.

Its true that I have a habit of trying out every healthy fad that is thrown at our face. But not necessarily I embrace it. I do have a weak spot for Quinoa and Kale, but I haven't been able to accept the slimy texture of Flax and Chia seed. Not wholeheartedly, that is!




It doesn't matter if Coconut Oil is a "Miracle Food" or not. You cannot deny the wonderful and unique flavor it brings to the dish. Food cooked in Virgin Coconut Oil has a soft coconut aroma and pronounced flavor. Personally, I wouldn't like it in all my recipes, but it would be a fine flavor enhancer in certain curry based or stir fired recipes, especially if it involves shrimps or other seafood.

It took a long time for me to warm up to the idea of using Coconut Oil as a cooking medium. Growing up, Coconut Oil was a part of out hair care routine. Thick, greasy and with an extremely unpleasant scent. That is how I remember it.

But the sweet, nutty fragrance of Cold Pressed Virgin Coconut Oil is anything but unpleasant. Its sweet and very coconut(y), in a mild and pleasant way. For me, it it smells more like Narkel Naru, a sweet ball of grated coconut and sugar (or jaggery), a confection dripping with nostalgia.




Shrimps and Coconut go hand in hand in Bengali cuisine. Most of our Shrimp recipes have some form of  coconut in them; either grated or as coconut milk. So I thought why not infuse the coconut flavor in form of oil! And I am so glad I did. The resultant dish was an incredible amalgamation of flavor, which left us and our guests begging for more.







The dip is pretty simple and straightforward. It came together as a result of a fridge-raid operation.

I was little lost regarding the dipping sauce. The guests had already arrived and I was inclining towards the Ketchup, when I caught hold of a small bunch of cilantro. The rest of the dip ingredients came together, depending what I had in my pantry and fridge.

I was skeptical.

Soy sauce, fish sauce, ginger and lime - they are classic Thai/ South East Asian flavors. I was not sure if they would complement the Coconut oil seared Shrimps.

Coconut Oil is also South East Asian staple, so it will complement.
At least that was my rationale!

Thankfully, it did workout. We loved it.

Our guests loved it.
The kids loved it too.
And here's hoping you'll love it too.

Have a wonderful year ahead!


Recipe Snapshot: Pan Fried Shrimp in Coconut Oil with Ginger-Cilantro Dip 


Serves: 6 - 8 serving
(1 serving = 4 - 5 shrimps with 2 tablespoon of dip)

What I used:
For the Pan Fried Shrimp:
Large Shrimps - 1 lb (30 to 40 pcs), thawed, cleaned (tails on) and deveined 

Lemon juice - 2 tsp

Ginger-Garlic Paste  - 1/2 tsp 

Coconut Oil - 1 tablespoon

Salt 
Freshly cracked pepper

For the Ginger-Cilantro Dip:
Cilantro/ Coriander Leaves - 1 large bunch, thick stems discarded (about 2 cups, loosely packed), roughly chopped

Ginger - 1 (2" ) knob, roughly chopped

Soy Sauce - 1 tablespoon

Fish Sauce - 1 teaspoon

Lime Juice - juice of half a lime, about 2 tsp


What I did:
For the Pan Fried Shrimp:
1. Marinate the thawed out shrimps in lemon juice, ginger-garlic paste, salt and freshly cracked pepper for 15 to 20 minutes.


2. Heat a non stick pan over medium heat. Melt the coconut oil in the pan. 



3. Add the marinated shrimps in a single layer. Do it in batches and do not overcrowd the pan. We want a nice seared shrimps and not braised ones. 



4. Sear the shrimps for 3 minutes on once side. Flip and sear for 2 minutes on the other side. They will turn opaque and pink and the juices will run clear. Keep tossing till all the moisture is evaporated and  we are left with jucy seared shrimps.


5. Serve with the Ginger-Cilantro Dipping Sauce.

For the Ginger-Cilantro Dip:

1. In a blender combine roughly chopped coriander leaves (cilantro), ginger, soy sauce, fish sauce and lime juice.



2. Puree it into a smooth dip. Serve it as a dipping sauce to the Pan Fried Shrimps.



Diabetic Platter:
Virgin Coconut Oil is neither Evil personified nor an Angel reincarnated. While I'll keep on using it externally, I will have my reservation about taking it internally. Virgin Coconut Oil has a beautiful aroma and brings a ton of flavor to cooked and baked dishes. And it is perfectly fine to cook with it as long as you enjoy the flavor and treat is like you would treat any other fat - in moderation. Virgin Coconut Oil is definitely better and healthier alternative to Butter or Margarine in baked goodies but cannot replace Olive Oil in cooking. 

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