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

Korean Pancakes

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These Asian pancakes are ridiculously easy to whip up, and make a great snack, lunch, or light dinner. Throw whatever you’ve got a hankerin’ for into the batter. I threw mushrooms in mine, because that’s what I had on hand, but feel free to experiment with other vegetables, or cooked chicken, pork or shrimp. Use your imagination, but whatever you do, don’t skip the scallions! Invite a friend over. Pour the sake. Whip these up. Your friend will think you’re brilliant!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup flour

4 scallions, finely sliced

1 egg, beaten

1 teaspoon soy sauce

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup sliced mushrooms ( I used cremini and oyster)

1 to 2 Tablespoons canola or vegetable oil

For the sauce:

1/8 cup soy sauce

1/8 cup seasoned rice vinegar

2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

Directions: Make the sauce first, by putting the vinegar, soy sauce, grated ginger and sesame oil into a small dipping bowl. Set aside. To make the pancake batter pour the water into a small bowl. Add the flour and mix well, until you have a batter-like consistency. Mix in the beaten egg, along with the salt, the teaspoon of soy sauce, scallions, and mushrooms. Mix well.  Heat the canola oil, over medium heat, in an eight inch non stick skillet. When the oil is hot pour half the batter into the oil. Cook about two to three minutes, or until the bottom is golden brown. Carefully flip the pancake over and cook the other side. Repeat with the remaining batter. Remove the pancakes, when cooked, to a cutting board. Cut into wedges and serve along with the dipping sauce.

Yield: 2  8 inch pancakes