curried cashew shrimp with garlic cilantro rice

I’m in the mood for curries this week! From coconut curried chicken to curried cashew shrimp with garlic cilantro rice, these two recipes demonstrate that curries are savory and versatile accompaniments to just about any meat and vegetable.


For rice
4 teaspoons canola oil,
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups uncooked long-grain rice
1 1/4 cups chicken broth or water or enough water to come up to your first knuckle
1/2 teaspoon salt (omit if using chicken broth)
1/4 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

For shrimp
1/4 cup cashew nuts, whole or in pieces
Vegetable oil cooking spray
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 pound medium shrimp, shelled
4 teaspoons mild curry powder, such as Madras
1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large red or orange sweet pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 small zucchini, cut into 1-inch pieces
3/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk (e.g. Aroy-D, Chaokoh)
1 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons fish sauce


For rice

Heat 2 teaspoons canola oil in a 10-inch skillet and add the garlic. Cook 30 seconds until garlic becomes fragrant and golden brown. Add uncooked rice and cook an additional 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a rice cooker. Add salt, if using, and 1 1/2 cups water. Press the button and cook. When the rice is cooked, stir in cilantro just before serving. Set aside on the keep warm feature of the rice cooker.

For shrimp

In a medium bowl, toss shrimp with curry powder, ginger and salt. If cashews are raw, toast nuts in a large skillet over high heat, stirring occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes. Spray a light layer of cooking spray over the cashews. Raise heat to high; add 2 teaspoons canola oil. When the oil is hot, add shrimp, peppers and zucchini. Cook 2 to 3 minutes until shrimp begins to turn pink. Reduce heat to medium; add coconut milk and bring to a slow boil. Cover and simmer until vegetables are soft and shrimp is cooked through, 5 to 6 minutes; remove from heat. Slowly incorporate yogurt until a smooth creamy sauce forms. Stir in sugar, and season to taste with fish sauce. Serve with garlic cilantro rice.

Shrimp Fauxsotto

I found this recipe in Famous Footwear’s in-house magazine Mind Body Sole. Really! But you know me, I’m willing to try anything if it looks good. We’re now on Cycle 3 of the 17-day diet which allows us to have carbs at dinner. So why not? The author of this recipe calls it a mock risotto or fauxsotto, which I hoped would not taste like shoe leather, just because it’s made with instant brown rice rather than arborio rice. As if rice wasn’t rice. Anyway I am quibbling. It’s the English teacher in me. It was a satisfying meal, tasty, but too soggy for my taste–instant rice just does not hold up well to “stirring often” required for a  risotto, even a fake one. Anyway I like rice al dente. I think I will reduce the liquid by one cup the next time I make this. In order to clean out the fridge and freezer in the Teeny Tiny Apartment I made my own chicken broth out of bones, scraps, and leftover vegetables.

Shrimp Fauxsotto

5 cups low fat reduced sodium chicken broth
¾ cup dry white wine
6 tablespoons butter substitute
1-2 tablespoons minced garlic
¼ to ½ teaspoon dried crushed pepper
¾ pound uncooked medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
½ cup finely chopped shallots
1 ½ cups instant brown rice
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup cut asparagus
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
¼ cup fat free chive and onion cream cheese
½ cup low fat herbed goat cheese
Salt and pepper

Warm broth and wine. Keep broth warm in a saucepan on the stove top. Warm ¼ cup wine in the microwave.

Cook shrimp. Melt 2 tablespoons butter substitute in a skillet over medium heat. Add half the garlic and crushed red pepper and sauté 30 seconds. Add shrimp and sauté until the shrimp just turns pink, about 2 minutes. Add remaining ½ cup wine. Simmer until shrimp are cooked through, about 2 minutes. Do not overcook shrimp. Drain shrimp, reserving cooking liquid.

Make rice. Melt 4 tablespoons butter substitute in large skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and remaining garlic; sauté until shallots are pale golden in color, about 4 minutes. Add rice and stir to coat, about 2 minutes. Add 1-2 cups broth. Simmer until liquid is absorbed, stirring often. Continue adding broth ½ cup at a time, stirring often and simmering until liquid is absorbed before adding more, about 20 minutes total.

Add cheeses. Make sure there is a little liquid left at the bottom of the skillet and stir in cream cheese and goat cheese. Place peas and asparagus in a layer on top of the rice. Cover and allow remaining liquid to steam vegetables.

Put on the finishing touches. Uncover and cook until rice is just tender and creamy, about 5 minutes. Add a final shot of white wine. Stir in reserved shrimp cooking liquid. Add shrimp. Remove from heat.

Serve. Stir in 2 tablespoons parsley into risotto. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to plates. Sprinkle with remaining tablespoon parsley.