Spicy Thai Shrimp and Black Rice Salad

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Kitchenclown recently discovered black rice and is thrilled with this dark discovery.This type of rice originated in China, but is now cultivated in parts of Italy. It’s  aroma while cooking is intoxicating, and it’s chewy texture and nutty flavour add even more appeal. It’s said to have more antioxidants than blueberries, and who wouldn’t want to incorporate all of those characteristics into a healthier diet?

Ingredients:

1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 cup black rice

1 cup fresh pineapple, diced

2 large mangos, peeled and diced

3 scallions, minced

1/2 red pepper, diced

1/2 cup fresh cilantro, minced

1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, minced

3 Tablespoons fish sauce

1 to 2 serrano peppers, stems and seeds removed, finely diced

3 teaspoons brown sugar

2 cloves garlic, pressed through a garlic press

2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated

juice of 2 small limes

Directions: Place the rice into a lidded pot and cover with 2 cups water. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil. As soon as the water comes to a boil, turn the heat down to it’s lowest setting. Cover the pot, and cook for 40 minutes to an hour. Taste for doneness. It should be chewy, but not brittle. If there is any remaining water in the pot, but the rice is the proper consistency, simply pour the rice into a strainer and strain off the excess liquid. Remove to a medium sized bowl and cool.

Bring a small saucepan of water to a gentle simmer. Add shrimp and cook for about a minute, or just until the shrimp turn pink. Immediately remove from heat, drain and set aside.

Dissolve the brown sugar in the fish sauce in a medium bowl. Add the garlic, ginger, serranos, lime juice, mint, cilantro, and red peppers. Toss in the shrimp, along with the mangos and pineapple and mix well. Note: If not serving immediately, do not add the pineapple. The acidity of the pineapple can change the texture of the shrimp, turning it mushy, so wait till serving time to add it.

Add the shrimp mixture to the black rice and mix well. Taste and adjust seasonings and serve either over lettuce leaves, or in individual lettuce cups.

Yield: 6 servings

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Positively Perfect Pad Thai

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Pad Thai…my, oh my! This Thai noodle dish is a classic, and loved by all who have had the experience of tasting a really well prepared version. There are many variations, but I’m including chicken and shrimp in this one, because they happen to be my personal favorites. Feel free to substitute pork, for the chicken and shrimp, or tofu, if you prefer a vegetarian version. Give it a go…your tastebuds will be eternally grateful! .

Ingredients:

3/4  pound rice stick noodles

3 chicken breasts, cut into 2 inch strips

1/2 lb. shrimp, peeled, deveined, and chopped in half

1/2 cup fish sauce (nam pla)

1/3 cup sugar, plus 3 Tbs.

!/2 cup white vinegar

2 Tbs. tamarind paste

1/4 cup ketchup

1 teaspoon paprika

2 Tbs. soy sauce

1/4 cup vegetable oil

4 cloves garlic, finely minced

2 Tbs. vegetable oil

3 eggs, beaten

2 cups mung bean sprouts

2 serranos, finely minced

8 scallions, thinly sliced

1/2 cup roasted peanuts, finely chopped

2 limes, juiced

4 limes, cut into wedges for garnish

1/4 cup finely minced cilantro( optional, but recommended)

Directions:

Place the noodles in a large bowl. Pour boiling water over them and let soak about 12 minutes. Do not over soak them. You want slightly firm noodles. Drain in a colander.

Combine the sugar, fish sauce, ketchup, paprika, tamarind paste,vinegar and soy sauce in a small saucepan, and cook over medium heat, until the sugar has dissolved..

In a large wok, or saucepan, heat the 1/4 cup oil over high heat. When hot, add the garlic and chicken. When the chicken looks almost done, add the shrimp and continue cooking, stirring often, just until the shrimp turn pink. Add the noodles and toss very, very gently.

In a separate, large saucepan, heat the remaining 2 Tbs. oil. Add the beaten eggs, and cook over medium heat just until the eggs are set. Do not stir…simply swirl them until set. Remove and slice into strips. Add to the noodles, along with the scallions and bean sprouts.

Bring the sauce to a boil, and add the minced serranos and lime juice to it.Remove from heat and pour over the noodle mixture. Cook over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring very gently, so as not to break up the noodles. Remove from heat and place on a large serving platter. Sprinkle peanuts over all, and garnish with lime wedges and cilantro.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Vietnamese Caramelized Chicken Wings

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These chicken wings, from  Nicole Routhier’s cookbook “The Foods of Vietnam”, are glazed in a glorious caramel sauce, with fresh ginger and shallots, and will stop you in your tracks! The first time I made them, I was stunned by their sheer deliciousness. Great for a party, easy, and addictive, your guests will be pleading for more., Note: KC would recommend doubling the sauce…if you want to cover other things…perhaps, Jasmine rice, for a full meal.

Ingredients:

2 pounds chicken wings

1 Tablespoon finely shredded fresh gingerroot

For the caramel sauce:

1/3 cup sugar

1/4 cup Vietnamese fish sauce

4 shallots

Freshly ground black pepper

Directions: Cook the sugar in a small heavy saucepan over low heat, swirling constantly, until brown. It will smoke slightly. Immediately remove the pan from the heat and stir  the fish sauce into the caramel, being careful to guard against splattering.The mixture will bubble vigorously.

Return the mixture to low heat, and gently boil, swirling the pan, until the sugar is completely dissolved. Add the shallots and black pepper to taste. Stir to combine. Note: Cool the sauce thoroughly before using. If cold food is added to a caramel sauce that is hot, the sugar will harden instantly, and you will end up with a dish full of candy chips.Yields 1/3 cup

Cut the wings into three pieces: the main wing joint, the second joint, and the wing tip. Discard the tips. In a 3 qt. saucepan, add the chicken wing pieces and shredded ginger to the cooled caramel sauce. Stir to combine. Set over high heat and bring the mixture to a rapid boil.Cover the pan, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the chicken is tender. Skim off any fat. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with black pepper.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings