I have recently started writing for the Patch– which is a online blog owned by AOL. Most towns around Maplewood have their own local patch.
I recently did a restaurant review for the Chatham patch and talked about a restaurant called Taste of Asia. We had a really nice meal and I decided to replicate a dish called jungle shrimp. It was delicious at the restaurant and I came home and did a lot of research to figure out the ingredients. It turned out it had a lot of Thai flavors. I went shopping to Whole Foods and bought some kaffir leaves, lemongrass and palm sugar. I made a sauce out of orange juice, tamarind and fish sauce etc.
I sauteed the shrimp with some sweet peppers and onions and added the sauce. The dish was delicious- not the same as what we had at the restaurant but very enjoyable.
I loved the complex flavors of the sauce with the tamarind and the palm sugar. I served the dish with some fried rice to make it a complete meal.
If you are able to get all the exotic ingredients- no problem. You can substitute the palm sugar with honey, tamarind with lime juice, kaffir limes with lime zest, etc. The idea is to get a similar flavor- it doesn’t have to be exact. I would highly recommend it!
- 2 cups orange juice
- 1 teaspoon tamarind concentrate
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons tamari
- 1 tablespoon or more palm sugar (to taste) same amount of sugar or honey can be substituted
- 2 stalks lemongrass (if using jarred, then use 2 teaspoons)
- 2 kaffir leaves, sliced thin (if using jarred, then use 2 teaspoons)
How to use the fresh lemongrass: cut off the lower bulb and remove tough, outer leaves. Simply cut the inner yellow stalk into 2-3 inch lengths. Then
bruise these sections by bending them several times. Keep aside.
Add the orange juice, tamarind concentrate, fish sauce, tamari, palm sugar, lemon grass and kaffir leaves into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer for 20 to 25 minutes or till the liquid reduces to about a cup. Strain the sauce. Taste for seasonings and keep aside.
- 2 tablespoons extra light olive oil
- 1 pound jumbo shrimp, cleaned and deveined
- 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons ginger, minced
- 2 green onions, chopped fine
- 1 large or 2 medium yellow, orange or red peppers, cut into 1-inch squares
- 1 large white onion, cut into 1-inch squares
- ½ cup cilantro, chopped
In a wok like saucepan, heat the olive oil on a high heat and sauté the shrimp for 30 seconds on each side. Take out onto a paper towel lined plate.
Reheat the saucepan and add the garlic, ginger and green onions. Saute on high heat for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the pepper and onion and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the tamarind sauce and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a medium and add the shrimp. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, till the shrimp are cooked yet tender. Garnish with cilantro and serve with fried rice.