Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Shrimp in Coconut Milk (Page 323)


  • Date: Sunday, January 4, 2009 -- 8pm
  • Location: Bloomington, IN
  • Kitchen: My Apartment
  • Fellow Chef: Matty
  • Recipe Rating: B

By the time Sunday a couple weekends ago rolled around, I was already starting to get sick with pneumonia. I was painfully tired and refused to make dinner. I suggested we have oatmeal for dinner, but my special gentleman offered to make this recipe instead. So while I did help a bit, he did most of the work on this one. I peeled the shrimp, putting the shells in a saucepan of salted water. The shrimp got combined with lime juice and salt and refrigerated. My special gentleman boiled the shrimp shells for 20 minutes to form a shrimp broth, then strained it and discarded the shells. He then cooked garlic, red bell pepper, and onions in vegetable oil, then added flour then chopped tomatoes, coconut milk, and shrimp broth and simmered for about 20 minutes. He then drained the shrimp and added them to the simmering mixture, cooking for about 3 minutes until the shrimp were cooked through. He seasoned with salt and pepper and served the dish over rice, topped with scallion greens and cilantro. This dish was pretty good. Our main complaint about it was that it was very one-note. It tasted like coconut milk. The addition of any of a number of things: some curry paste, some more lime juice, some fish sauce, etc... would have given it a more interesting flavor. As it was, coconut milk is so rich that it was hard to eat too much of it without feeling overwhelmed. That said, the flavor certainly wasn't bad. It was just disappointing in that the recipe was somehow very close to being a delicious shrimp curry dish, but it lacked the two or three more ingredients that would have gotten it there. The blurb before the recipe seemed to indicate that this dish was supposed to be more Brazilian than Southeast Asian, but it's dangerous to create a dish that is so close to something well known and delicious, but not as good! I think there was no way to eat this without thinking, "This would have been a really nice curry. If only it had a few more ingredients..."

Here is the recipe.

The central printers in my department at work have a Powersave Mode that they go into when they haven't been used in a while. So, particularly on the weekends when not too many people are around and printing, I often find myself standing in the printer room, waiting for the printer to get going. The little display reads, "Warming Up," when it does this, and it always seems to take longer than it seems like it should.

This week, I have been living my own version of Powersave Mode. Going into the week I knew it was going to be a little rough starting the semester sick. So I identified which tasks were essential (i.e. teaching my course) and I funneled what energy I had towards doing those tasks, and resting to get well again. Now that I am starting to feel better, I am in that Warming Up mode. I am slowly bringing my usual activities back into my life: going to seminar, doing a little cooking, trying to get some work done. It's slow going (for instance, today after I taught my class I slept for more than two hours on the sofa in my office), but by the end of the week I think I will be a fully functional printer, err, I mean person. That will be very exciting!


Clotilde said...

I thought about you the other day when I saw this article saying that mathematician is the best rated job in the US:

If only it was that easy!

Teena said...

Yeah, that article circulated through my department. We decided with the average salary they listed they must have been talking about industry mathematicians and not academic ones! I do love my job though... I would rate it number one!