curry-flavor shrimp with sesame rice

Curried Shrimp wth Sesame Rice

It’s been so cold that I decided to cook something hearty but quick and easy. I found this recipe for Sesame Rice Salad in the South Beach Diet cookbook, the blue cover. Since then, I’ve adapted it in some form or another depending on the vegetables I have on hand. One thing I won’t swap is the asparagus. It must have asparagus! Bright green, cooked asparagus is such a pretty contrast in this dish. Though the rice and shrimp are spicy, the crisp-tender asparagus cools the mouth.

Curry-Flavor Shrimp with Sesame Rice

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes

20 medium shrimp, shelled and deveined, washed and patted dry with paper towels
2 teaspoons curry powder (I recommend Montego, the Jamaican curry powder)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
3 cups cooked brown rice, room temperature
8 stalks asparagus, cut in thirds
1/2 cup frozen edamame
1/2 cup frozen sweet peas
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
cooking spray
2 scallions sliced thin on the diagonal
2 tablespoons cilantro, minced fine
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
Red pepper flakes, to taste, optional
salt and pepper

Season the shrimp with curry powder, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. Set aside.

Boil a saucepan of water, lightly salted. Add the asparagus and cook until bright green. Remove from the heat at once, drain, and rinse in cold water to stop the cooking process. Drain and set aside.

Spray cooking spray in a large skillet. Heat the skillet until a drop of water sizzles on the surface. Add the shrimp and cook on one side until no longer pink, 1 minute. Turn and cook on the other side, 1 minute.

Add the frozen edamame and peas to the hot skillet and cook until they are heated through, scraping up the browned bits or fond on the bottom. Add the rice and the cooked asparagus. Toss to combine. In a small bowl, mix the canola oil, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Whisk until the mixture emulsifies. Pour over the rice and toss lightly. Add the scallions, cilantro and sesame seeds. Toss lightly. Add red pepper flakes, if desired. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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chickpea cakes with tzatziki sauce

It was one of those nights where I had leftover sides but no main course. For a healthy dinner tonight I made this chickpea cake with tzatziki or cucumber sauce. I served it with the green apple-corn slaw left over from the grilled fish tacos, and some cannellini and green beans leftover from lunch. I love asparagus so I pan-roasted a bunch and served it with a dressing of tomatoes, garlic, and ripe olives. Simple and delicious!

Chickpea Cakes with Tzatziki Sauce (from America’s Test Kitchen)
Serves 6

Ingredients:

2 slices high-quality sandwich bread, torn into pieces (I used 2/3 cup Panko breadcrumbs and skipped Step 1)
1 cucumber, peeled and halved lengthwise, seeded and shredded
Salt
1 1/4 cups nonfat Greek yogurt
6 scallions, sliced thin
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
Black pepper
2 (15 oz) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon garam masala (see Cook’s Note)
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 shallot, minced (about 3 tablespoons)
Lime wedges for serving (optional)

Preparation:

  1. Prepare to make the chickpea cakes. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350˚F. Pulse the bread in a food processor to coarse crumbs, about 10 pulses. Do not wash the food processor bowl afterwards. Spread the crumbs on a rimmed baking sheet and bake, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and dry, 10-12 minutes. Let the crumbs cool to room temperature.
  2. Make the Tzatziki Sauce. Meanwhile, toss the cucumber with 1/2 teaspoon salt in a colander and let drain for 20 minutes. Combine the drained cucumber 3/4 cup of the yogurt, 2 tablespoons of the scallions, and 1 tablespoon of the cilantro in a bowl and season with salt and black pepper to taste.
  3. Make the chickpea patties. Pulse the chickpeas in the food processor to a coarse puree with large pieces remaining, about 8 pulses. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, 2 tablespoons of the oil, garam masala, cayenne, and 1/8 teaspoon salt together. Stir in the toasted bread crumbs, remaining 1/2 cup yogurt, remaining scallions, remaining 3 tablespoons cilantro, processed chickpeas, and shallot until just combined. Using a 1/3 cup measure, scoop the chickpea mixture and roll into balls. Flatten. Repeat.  This amount makes about 10-12 cakes.
  4. Cook the patties. Spray cooking spray in a 12 inch non-stick skillet and heat over medium heat until hot. Carefully lay half the cakes in the skillet and cook until well browned on both sides, 8-10 minutes, flipping them halfway through. Repeat.
  5. Serve. Transfer the cakes to a plate and tent loosely with foil. Serve with tzatziki sauce and lime wedges.

Cook’s Note: To make garam masala:  1/2 teaspoon ground coriander, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom, and 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Per serving (1 cake plus 1/4 cup sauce): Cal 240; Fat 12g; Sat fat 2.5g; Chol 75mg; Carb 23g; Protein 12g; Fiber  5g; Sodium 610mg

Indonesian Pork Tenderloin

This pork tenderloin recipe has a sweet glaze with the tang of chili pepper. It is very easy to make and only takes 40 minutes in the oven. The next time I make this I will increase the chili pepper to two teaspoons to give it more bite to play against the sweetness in the peanut butter and mango chutney.

1 one-pound pork tenderloin, trimmed of fat and silver
2 tablespoons all natural peanut butter
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1-2 teaspoons crushed chili pepper (to taste)
2-4 cloves garlic, minced
Cooking spray
1/4 cup mango chutney

Preheat oven to 375˚F. Prepare a baking tray by spraying it with cooking spray.

In a small bowl, combine the peanut butter, soy sauce, chili pepper and garlic. Use a teaspoon to spread all over the tenderloin. Place in the prepared baking tray and put in the oven for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, chop up the mango chutney to get a chunky appearance without any large pieces of mango. Spoon on the top and sides of the tenderloin and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 160˚F.

Remove the pork from the oven and allow it to rest for 10 minutes before slicing. I served it with barley,  sautéed kale, and pan-roasted asparagus with tomatoes, ripe olives, and garlic. If you wish, serve with mango chutney on the side.