Baby Octopus, Soft-Shelled Crab, and Wild White Shrimp in Red Curry

It’s been a really long time since I last made Thai red curry at home. I wanted something quick to reheat for lunch with less fuss. The seafood for this initial dish is quite fussy but mainly because my kitchen is so small. For lunch reheats, I’m just going to cook the number of shrimp I would like to eat in the portioned curry plus some vegetables.

[Makes 2 quarts]

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For the Curry

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2-inch ginger, sliced into thin planks
  • 2 shallots, sliced thinly
  • ½ cup red curry paste
  • 1 TBS fish sauce
  • 2 TBS brown sugar
  • ½ cup dashi broth
  • Three 14 oz. cans coconut milk
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • Olive oil

In a large pan, coat the bottom of it with olive oil on low-medium heat. Sweat the shallots. Then stir in the minced garlic and ginger, and cook for 30 seconds or until aromatic.

Add the curry paste, fish sauce, brown sugar, and mix well to coat completely. Shake the cans of coconut milk before opening and pour into the pan with the dashi broth and lime juice. Increase heat to medium, and bring the curry to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Adjust seasoning for taste. Pour through a mesh strainer and into a clean pot.

TO ASSEMBLE

Arrange whatever seafood (or protein or tofu) you want into a bowl, add in vegetables (I used bok choy and cucumber), pour the curry into the bowl, garnish with sliced jalapeño, cilantro, and Thai basil. Serve with jasmine rice.

Grilled Shrimp in Thai Curry Peanut Sauce with Cilantro and Lime

I held a rooftop party yesterday and this was one of the things on the menu. I’m amazed at how well the sauce came out. It was so good that I was drinking it.

Yields 1 quart sauce.

shrimp[100% organic, shrimp from Thailand]

For the Shrimp

  • 1 lb shrimp, peeled with tail intact, deveined
  • ½ cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ TBS ground tumeric
  • ½ TBS fish sauce
  • 1 tsp red curry paste
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • ¼ tsp dried ginger

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except for the shrimp and mix well. Stir the shrimp in, cover, and marinate overnight in the refrigerator.

Grill/sauté/bake the shrimp until cooked through then skewer shrimp.

For the Peanut Sauce

  • 3 cups unsweetened coconut milk
  • 2 TBS Thai red curry paste
  • ½ cup (fresh) peanut paste
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 2 TBS soy sauce
  • 1 TBS fish sauce
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2 TBS brown sugar

Heat the coconut milk in a pot over medium heat. Add the red curry and whisk thoroughly to blend the paste into the milk. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes.

Take the pot off the heat, and let the sauce cool down to room temperature (or slightly warmer), and serve the sauce with the grilled shrimp.

For the Garnish

  • Fresh cilantro, picked
  • Roasted peanuts
  • Sprouts (not pictured)
  • Lime wedges

TO ASSEMBLE

Add the peanut sauce to the bottom of whatever you are using to serve, sprinkle and arrange the garnish ingredients. Place the shrimp skewer in the cup/glass and serve.

Coconut Panna Cotta with Spiced Apple Hibiscus Granita & Chicory Soil

Before coming back home to Hong Kong, I was told that I should showcase my professional talents to my grandfather.

This was the third and final course to my three-course meal for my family, grandfather, and cousin.

Serves 6.

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[100% organic]

For the Coconut Panna Cotta

  • Two cans 13.5 oz. coconut milk
  • 2 TBS sugar
  • 5 gelatin sheets

Bloom gelatin in ice water. Bring coconut milk and sugar to a boil. Squeeze out excess water from gelatin sheets and melt into coconut milk. Stir to combine and once completely melted, strain into a container.

Pour coconut milk in serving cups/bowls and place in refrigerator to set. At least 4 hours undisturbed.

For the Spiced Apple Hibiscus Granita

  • 2 cups apple juice/cider
  • 1 cup dried hibiscus flowers
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 star anise

Bring all ingredients up to a low simmer for 10 minutes. Take off heat and let it continue infusing until liquid is at room temperature.

Strain liquid into a long shallow tray/pan/container and place in freezer for an hour. Remove and scrape the crystallized mixture from the sides of the pan and return to the freezer. Repeat this process every 45 minutes, until completely frozen or for about 4 hours.

For the Chicory Soil

  • ½ cup chicory root
  • ½ TBS AP flour
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp orange zest

Since this is such a small portion, a food processor or spice grinder may not work. I used a mortar and pestle.

Grind all ingredients together except for zest, and then place in between two sheets of parchment paper. Using a rolling pin, roll into a flat even layer and bake for 5 minutes at 300°F.

Remove from oven and toss in orange zest and combine well.

*Adapted from Chef Jasmine Shimoda.

TO ASSEMBLE

Fluff granita with a fork to serve. Take panna cottas out from the fridge and scoop a good amount of granita flakes onto the pannas. Top with sprinkled chicory soil.

Seared Shrimp with Savory Coconut Risotto

I loved the savory coconut risotto that I did during my New Year’s Day Dinner so much!!! It hasn’t even been that long yet and I’m craving for it again! When I was in bed, writing my ingredients list, I couldn’t decide if I wanted to go the lump crab meat + mango or shrimp + pineapple set. Ultimately, I love eating shrimp. It’s one of my staple foods.

At Whole Foods, I bought mango but I completely forgot about it. Damn.

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[100% organic, gulf shrimp]

For the Coconut Risotto recipe, click here.

Seafood Medley with Seared Coconut Risotto Cake

This was the third course to my 6-course New Year’s Day Dinner party for 8 people.

I love sauce making. Love it! And this sauce was particularly “TO DIE FOR!”

I wasn’t entirely happy with the plating because by this time, it was getting late and the pick-up time for this dish was already taking a long time. I was hungry and I was sure my friends were too. I wished I had planned out the plating for this dish more.

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For the Risotto Cake

  • 2 shallots, finely diced
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 1½ cup Arborio rice
  • ¾ cup dry white wine
  • 4 cups dashi stock, or as needed
  • One 13.5 oz. can unsweetened coconut milk
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper

In a pan on medium-low heat, heat the olive oil. Sweat the shallots until translucent. Stir in the rice and make sure the oil fully coats the rice. Cook until the ends of the rice are transparent, stirring often, about 2 minutes. Then add in the wine and cook until completely absorbed and the alcohol has evaporated.

Add 1 cup of the hot stock mixture and simmer, stirring frequently, until all the liquid has been absorbed and the bottom of the pan is almost dry. Adding ½ cup stock at a time, stir until almost all the liquid has been absorbed between each addition. Be careful not to let the bottom of the pan dry out. Continue to stir often, and repeat until the rice is almost al dente. Add in coconut milk and continue cooking until rice is done and mixture if fairly dry.

Season the risotto and pour out onto a half-sheet pan and refrigerate until thoroughly cooled.

For the Seafood Medley

  • 2 lbs shrimp, with head and shells
  • 16 scallops
  • 2 lbs mussels, cleaned and beards removed
  • 1 TBS butter
  • 3 shallots, finely diced
  • 2 parsley sprigs
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • Canola oil
  • Salt & pepper

Remove heads and shell shrimp. Peel shrimp until the last segment of the tail and the tail itself. Place heads and shells in a bowl, set aside. Devein shrimp and set aside, either over ice or back in the refrigerator.

Get a pan very hot and throw in mussels, butter, shallots, parsley, and bay leaf. Cover the pan with a lid and shake the pan over the heat vigorously. Add in white wine and simmer until mussels open up, 3-4 minutes. Season lightly with salt. Mussels will be halfway cooked. You’ll finish cooking the mussels when the sauce is ready.

Strain the mussel liquor and set aside. Remove each mussel from its shell and set aside, either over ice or in the refrigerator. Discard shells, unless you want to plate mussels in their shells.

For the Shrimp/Mussel Sauce

  • Reserved shrimp heads and shells, from above
  • 3 carrots
  • 2 onions
  • 3 celery stalks
  • 3 TBS brandy
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 2 TBS tomato paste
  • 1 garlic head, cut horizontally
  • 2 tarragon sprigs
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 TBS black peppercorns
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • 7 oz. diced tomatoes
  • Reserved mussel jus
  • Canola oil
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper

In a Dutch oven or very large pot, heat canola oil until smoking hot. Add in shrimp heads and shells and develop a deep orange color, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Then sauté mirepoix (carrots, onions, celery) until there is some color. Add in tomato paste and cook it thoroughly. Flambé with brandy then deglaze with white wine.

Add in diced tomatoes, garlic head, tarragon, bay leaves, peppercorns, and thyme, along with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil then simmer for 1 hour. Strain and discard solids. Continue to reduce and reduce until you have around 2 cups of sauce. Add in reserved mussel jus and taste for seasoning. Adjust for seasoning and set aside, keep warm.

For the Finish

  • Risotto
  • Reserved mussels
  • 16 scallops
  • Reserved shrimp, deveined
  • AP flour, as needed
  • Butter, as needed
  • Tarragon, as needed, finely chopped
  • Parsley, as needed, finely chopped
  • Canola oil
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper
  • Lemon wedges

When the risotto has cooled and solidified, punch out eight 2-inch risotto rounds. Brown/sear the risotto round on both sides in a non-stick pan and transfer to a tray. Flash in a 500°F oven before plating.

Make a beurre manié and add it to the sauce until you are satisfied with the consistency. The sauce shouldn’t be too thick. I added just a small pinch of beurre manié. Add mussels to sauce and keep sauce on simmering-heat. As you sear the rest of the seafood, the mussels will be done.

Sear both shrimp and scallops, separately, with salt and pepper. Squeeze some lemon juice over cooked shrimp and scallop, keep warm and set aside.

TO ASSEMBLE

Place risotto cake in the center of the plate. Arrange 2 scallops and shrimp (4-6 pieces) around. Top with spoonful of sauce and mussels. Sprinkle freshly chopped tarragon and parsley over everything and serve immediately.

Mini Turkey Spring Rolls with Duo of Sauces

I wanted to try something new by using ground turkey and I still have been obsessed with making finger food/appetizers/amuse bouche/canapés. I have a lot of dumpling wrappers and I wasn’t in the mood to make pot-stickers so I decided to make spring rolls!! Because there is a deep fryer in my new apartment. OMG! How cool is that? I no longer need to make an oil bath in a saucepan to fry my things!

[100% organic]

For the Filling

  • 1 large carrot, julienned
  • 1 red bell pepper, small cubed
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced on the bias
  • ½ lb ground turkey
  • 3 TBS soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Peel the carrot and on a mandolin, julienne the carrot, then cut into 1-inch lengths and set aside. Remove the seeds from the bell pepper and cut them into small cubes (small macedoine).

In a sauté pan, heat some oil and sweat the carrots and bell peppers until tender. Season with some salt and pepper. Set aside.

In another sauté pan, heat some oil and sauté the ground turkey, making sure to break apart the clump of ground meat. Add the garlic, scallions, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Cook until almost done and then add in the carrots and bell peppers. Cook until meat is fully cooked and taste for seasoning and adjust.

Let the filling sit on a strainer to allow all the excess juices and oils to flow through, then cool on a sheet tray. The filling should not have too much moisture because that will make the spring rolls soggy.

*This can be made 1-2 days in advance and stored in a quart container.

For the Duo of Sauces

  • One 13.5 oz. can coconut milk
  • Sriracha
  • Peanut sauce
  • 1 TBS powdered sugar

Before mixing the coconut milk with the sauces, bring it to a simmer and stir in powdered sugar. Mix half of the coconut milk with sriracha and the other half with the peanut sauce.

For the Spring Rolls

  • Filling from above
  • 1 granny smith apple, tiny dice
  • 1 package of wonton wrappers
  • Oil for frying

Mix the apple into the filling and wrap the wonton wrappers into spring rolls using a teaspoon of the filling for each wrapper. Set aside on a dusted surface or on plastic wrap. You may use water or egg wash to close the wrappers. You may freeze these as well before frying.

When the oil reaches 375°F, fry spring rolls for 2-3 minutes, just so that it’s golden brown and hot in the center. Serve with the sauces.

*I made this for my birthday get-together.

Thai Corn Chowder

I’m in garde manger, and level 5 has a corn chowder on their menu. My group sneaked a few ladles of it because it is so delicious!!!! It tasted like pure “heart attack” – reduced cream and sweet corn. I thought the soup was odd for the current season. If I was dining at L’Ecole on a hot humid day, I would not want hot creamy soup as my appetizer. Even in the kitchen, we were taking sips of it and then mouthfuls of ice cold water because it’s so hot in the kitchen. For the first two days, I was working on the lobster dish, which is a cold dish. I wasn’t even near the stove yet my legs were trickling with sweat! Nahhhh-stayyy!!

I was going to make an exact replica of the corn bisque from school but it’s so unhealthy. There was bacon grease, reduced cream, and lots and lots of butter!!! I like Thai influences so I came up with this. And it tasted BETTER; better in my opinion since it’s healthier!!!! No butter. No cream. No milk.

[100% organic]

For the Chowder

  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 ears corn, shucked and cores reserved (broken in half)
  • 2 Idaho potatoes, chopped into small squares
  • 4 celery stalks, sliced
  • 1 leek, white part only, thinly sliced
  • 2 TBS Ginger, grated
  • 6 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 lime, juiced and zested with a peeler
  • Bouquet garni – 8 black peppercorns, Thai basil, cilantro stems, lemongrass
    stalk (smashed & cut into thirds), lime zest
  • One 13.5 oz. can coconut milk
  • EVOO
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper

In a large pot/pan, heat extra virgin olive oil over low heat and then sweat onions until translucent. Add smashed garlic, ginger,  and leek whites and continue to sweat until soft. Season gently. Add in the celery, potato, corn cores, bouquet garni, and enough water to cover halfway. Bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes.

Then add in corn kernels and lime juice to pot and continue simmering for another 10 minutes. Remove cores and add in coconut milk until boiling. Season with salt and pepper. Stir until simmering. Remove from the heat and strain and then blend with an immersion or regular blender.

For the Finnish

  • 4 radishes, thinly sliced
  • Cilantro leaves, garnish

Taste and adjust seasoning. Garnish with radishes and cilantro leaves. Soup can be either hot or cold to serve.