Monday, December 6, 2010
Five Spice Shrimp with Onion Rice, Oriental Celery and Onion Rings
Somewhere between Peyton's 2nd and 4th interception of the game, my mind started wandering... to food. What was I going to fix for dinner when we got home? What needs to be finished in the freezer? What do we have all the ingredients for? Alas, the game went into overtime and we didn't even get to our car til 8:00. At that point we decided to stop at the grocery on the way home instead of trying to cook an elaborate meal. So, when we finally got home around 7:00 Monday I was ready to cook. More than ready!
How did this come about? A couple of years ago when I was one of the ones who cooked the issue in Fine Cooking's cook the issue challenge, one of the dishes was a salt and pepper shrimp. It was one of our favorites from the issue and I'd not made it since. The celery was reminiscent of the stir-fried chicken and celery we made a few weeks ago. The fragrance of the ginger and the little bit of heat would be perfect here. In my new 1001 Ways to Cook Southern Cookbook there's a recipe for a five onon sauce. An onion blend has been running around in my mind since reading that. What if I did a very finely sliced red onion with the batter from the Deep Fried Green Beans then mixed a blend of green onions, shallots and chives into the rice - brown of course.
What did we think? Amazing. The sum was better than the parts. And, unless you want to eat at 8:30, please start dinner a bit earlier than I did- lol. I really can't think of any changes that I'd make other than possibly omitting the onion rings and serving them with a different dish. I thought that by putting a good pinch of the five spice powder into the batter, they'd blend more with the other three dishes. They didn't but we really didn't care since they were fabulous. Now, I confess that I threw together the ingredients for the celery and the rice and didn't measure any. I did, however, take a lot of photos so that'll help those of you who want measurements. And, I've put some guesses in the directions.
for the celery:
4 ribs of celery
sweet chili sauce
for the rice:
scallions or green onions
for the shrimp:
shrimp - the number per person will vary depending on the size - we used 20 of the 20-25 size
4 T corn starch
2 t sugar
1/2 t five spice powder
for the onion fries:
1 small red onion
1/2 c flour
2 t cornstarch
1/4 t five spice powder
2/3 c beer
For the rice:
Start the water for the brown rice. I wanted to end up with about a cup and a half of cooked rice so started with the correct amount of dry rice. We much prefer the real brown rice to the instant stuff. I love the chewiness of the real stuff! Once the water is boiling, add the rice and simmer until it's done - the time will depend on the type of rice you're using but I typically count on about 25 minutes.
Dice the green onions and mix them with chives and shallots. I used about 5 green onions, a tablespoon of shallots and a teaspoon and a half of chives. Since it was about 9 degrees out, I didn't venture to the herb garden to see if any of my chives made it, so I settled for freeze dried. And, I typically use Penzey's freeze dried shallots.
Start half olive oil and half toasted sesame oil in a small skillet. You'll want about a teaspoon of each. Heat the oil to shimmering before adding the onion mixture. Once you add the onion mixture,
cook on relatively low heat until the onions are softened. You can either remove the mixture from the heat or turn it to low while you finish everything else.
When the rice is done, drain it well and toss it with the onion mixture.
For the shrimp:
Thaw, peel and dry the shrimp. Mix the cornstarch, sugar, salt, pepper and five spice powder.
Toss the shrimp in the cornstarch mixture.
Heat 1 1/2 T of vegetable oil in a large skillet. Once it sizzles when you toss a drop of water into the oil, you're ready to add the shrimp. When the shrimp are nice and brown on one side,
flip them with a pair of tongs and brown them on the other side. Drain on paper towels.
For the celery:
Mix about 2 t each of brown sugar, sweet chili sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil and dry sherry.
Thinly slice the ribs of celery. Pour the sauce into a medium skillet and heat it to bubbling. Add the celery and a finely minced knob of ginger (about the size of your thumb from the middle knuckle to the end.)
Cook the celery only until you've taken the edge off. It should still be pretty crunchy.
For the onion rings:
Strangely enough, these actually take longer to cook than the shrimp or the celery. Thinly slice the onion on a mandoline or with a knife.
Mix the batter.
Toss the onion rings in the batter.
Heat oil about 1/4" deep in a skillet. Make sure it is nice and hot or you'll just simmer the onions. Carefully add the onions to the oil.
Once they're crispy and brown on one side, turn them over and cook the other side. Drain them on paper towels.
To put it all together:
Make a bowl or plate of a serving of rice, a serving of celery and a serving of shrimp. Spoon the remaining sauce from the celery over the rice. Top with the onion rings - or not. We wound up eating our onion rings then stirring everything else together.