shrimp with spicy green rice

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A Southeast Asian-flavored dish inspired by Venetian risi e bisi, an Italian rice with peas. To me, this dish is reminiscent of  khao tom, a Thai rice soup with meat or seafood, served with steamed rice in a broth. In Thai cooking, condiments are served on the side so you can make it as salty, sour, sweet or spicy as you like. Although this recipe recommends seasoning the dish in the kitchen, I have reserved some of the herb sauce for seasoning at the table. 

Shrimp with Spicy Green Rice (adapted from Martha Stewart)
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 21 minutes

2-4 large cloves garlic
1-2 green Thai chilies, sliced with or without seeds, depending on your preference for heat
1 cup packed fresh cilantro, plus more for serving
3 tablespoons fresh ginger (4-inch piece), minced
1 cup fresh Thai basil leaves, plus more for serving
2 teaspoons fish sauce
1/4 cup veg oil
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 small leek, thinly sliced (2 cups)
3 cups chicken broth/stock preferably home made and low sodium
4 oz sugar snap peas, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces (1 1/2 cups)
1/2 cup long-grain white rice (recommend: Thai jasmine rice)
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails removed
Salt

For serving:
Herb sauce
Cilantro, chopped
Basil, chopped
Lime wedges

Special equipment: a medium-sized Dutch pot with a lid

Prepare all ingredients.

In a food processor, pulse garlic until finely chopped. Add 2 tablespoons ginger, chili, basil, cilantro, fish sauce, and sugar. Process until finely chopped. Add 1 tablespoon oil and 3 tablespoons water and process finely. You should have about 2/3 cup of sauce. Set aside

In the pot without the lid, heat remaining 3 tablespoons oil on medium-high heat. Add leeks and remaining 1 tablespoon ginger. Cook until leek is translucent, 3-4 minutes. Stir in rice and broth along with 1 cup water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Cover pot and simmer rice until it is very soft, 17-18 minutes. The texture will be soupy.

Add shrimp, simmer, stirring once or twice, until shrimp just turns pink, 1-2 minutes. Stir in peas and 2 tablespoons of the herb sauce. Taste for seasoning and heat. If you wish, add more sauce—it’s quite salty and you won’t need any additional salt. It’s better to be cautious and not add all the sauce to the pot, but reserve the remainder for spicing up individual plates at the table. Remove from heat and serve with more cilantro, basil, and lime wedges, as well as the remaining sauce. I found that the dish didn’t need any additional cilantro, basil, or lime so I left them out, and just served it with the remaining herb sauce.

easy baked risotto with shrimp and sugar snap peas

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Ina Garten’s risotto recipe gave me the idea to bake this risotto instead of standing at the stove and slowly stirring the rice after each addition of stock. It cooked up so quickly in the oven, in 30 minutes, so I quickly took it out and added the shrimp and other ingredients, including a handful of minced Chinese celery (คุณไชย). I forgot the wine but this risotto really didn’t miss it. It turned out buttery, with the crunch of the peas, the mild zing of the celery, and the fresh taste of just cooked shrimp. It’s Italian with a Chinese accent!

Easy Baked Risotto with Shrimp, Ham, and Sugar Snap Peas
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 37 minutes

1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
5 cups chicken stock, preferably home made (I used 2 1/2 chicken bouillon cubes to 5 cups water)
1/2 cup dry white wine (optional)
1 pound shrimp, shelled and deveined
2 cups sugar snap peas, trimmed, blanched 30 seconds and dunked in cold water to set the color
1 cup cooked ham, chopped into strips (optional)
1 sweet bell pepper, chopped
2 tablespoons Chinese celery, stems only, minced
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place the rice and 4 cups of the chicken stock in a Dutch oven that is heat-proof. Cover and bake for 30-45 minutes, until most of the liquid is absorbed and the rice is al dente.

Remove pot from the oven, and put on stove top on medium high heat. Then add the remaining cup of chicken stock, shrimp, bell pepper, wine (if using), butter, and stir vigorously for 2 to 3 minutes, until the rice is thick and creamy and the shrimp just turns pink. Don’t overcook the shrimp!

Add the ham (if using), Chinese celery, and sugar snap peas, then stir until heated through. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve hot.