Seafood Pasta Paella

Sometime ago I was given a largish packet of saffron. I knew it was expensive so I used it sparingly. Until the other day when I saw that its expiration date was drawing near. It would have been more wasteful if I just left it to expire, so I set about to cook with it!

My first project? Paella of course!!! But not with rice, with pasta!

I planned to serve this to “the boys” – hubby’s friends who come to the house twice a month or so.  They were polite enough to rave and gush at my cooking!

*smile*

400 grams spaghetti

2 tablespoons hot water
large pinch of saffron

1/4 cup olive oil
1 red bell pepper, sliced into strips
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 head of garlic, smashed and minced
4 large tomatoes, sliced into large dice

4 pieces small crab
6 pieces large shrimp
4 pieces large mussels

1/2 teaspoon paprika
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper to taste
chili flakes, to taste

5 to 6 cups of fish stock or water

Get 2 pots ready on the stove – one for the spaghetti (with salted water) and the other for the paella (I took out my paella pan!!!)  Start the water boiling for the spaghetti and heat the paella pan.  Meanwhile, steep the saffron in the hot water.

When the paella pan is hot, quick fry the bell pepper; remove when it is almost done.  Toss in the garlic, onion and tomatoes.  Stir-fry several minutes.  Add the saffron and the infused water.

(At this point, check the other pot, the water should be boiling, in which case, throw the spaghetti in and cook until halfway done, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.)

Add the crab, then remove when almost done.  Add the shrimp and the spices (paprika, bay leaves, salt and pepper and chili flakes, to taste.  Add about 4 cups of fish stock.  When the mixture simmers, add the half-cooked spaghetti and cook until almost done.  Towards the end of cooking, add the mussels and crab.  Add stock or water as necessary.  Season to taste.  Do not over-cook!

Before serving, arrange the seafood decoratively on top of the pasta.

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Salted Egg Prawns

Salted egg yolks are the “IN” thing right now.  salted egg yolk potato chips, waffles, vegetables, chicken, shrimp…

So here is  my take on the shrimp dish.

Let me just say that I have an issue with just using the yolks.  I keep wondering what to do with the salted egg whites!!!  So to avoid wastage or the problem of what to do with the whites, I threw them right into the dish (hence my dish is salted egg shrimp and not salted egg yolk shrimp).

Also, i kind of dislike the “creamy” or “saucy” kind…

20 pieces large shrimp
cornstarch or tapioca starch
sea salt
fresh ground pepper

3 salted eggs, organic preferred*
thumb-sized ginger, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 piece siling pansigang (green chili), sliced**

The first thing to do is to prepare the shrimp/prawn. Cut the heads from the bodies.  Trim the heads and remove the “horn”, as well as any “whiskers” and “feet”.  Set aside in its own bowl.  Sprinkle with a large pinch of sea salt and several turns of pepper grinder.  Mix lightly.

Remove the shell from the bodies.  Make a long slit at the back and remove the “vein”.  Make the slit a bit deep, but not past halfway.  Pat dry.  Place in a bowl.  Sprinkle with a large pinch of sea salt and several turns of pepper grinder.  Mix lightly.  Leave to marinate about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a deep frying pan, to deep fry the shrimp.

Sprinkle the shrimp heads and shrimp bodies (in their separate bowls still) with  cornstarch or tapioca starch.  Eye-ball it, use just enough that they are coated but not thickly so.  When the oil is very hot, deep fry the shrimp heads and shrimp bodies.  In my smallish wok, it took 3 batches for the shrimp heads to cook and 4 batches for the bodies.  (The shrimp bodies should curl in a “round” shape.)  Drain on paper towels.

While the shrimp is frying, remove the shells from the salted eggs and chop coarsely.  Set aside.

Remove excess oil from the pan, leaving only about 1/2 tablespoon.  Sauté the ginger and garlic.  When fragrant, add the chili (whichever you prefer).  Add the chopped salted eggs.  Stir lightly over low-medium heat until the mixture in foamy.

Return the fried shrimp to the pan and mix lightly.  Season to taste, if desired (in my case, I felt it was not necessary).

Serve immediately.

*the salted eggs found in the supermarkets here are already cooked and ready to eat.  they are usually colored purple, but the organic ones are not colored and are of better quality.

**if a spicier dish is preferred, use the smaller, spicier bird’s eye chili (labuyo), the more, the spicier!

 

Flat Bread… and Shrimp Curry!

The little girl likes flat bread.

When she discovered that I had bread dough in the fridge, she (sort of) requested her favorite flat bread.

And I am happy to oblige!  But then I couldn’t leave it at that.  The bread had to have something to slop up.

The perfect dish?  Curry of course!

The flat bread is easy – grab a small piece,flatten it and then cook it in a hot, lightly oiled frying pan… what’s important is to keep the flat bread warm.

As for the shrimp curry, clean and devein 500 grams of shrimp or prawns.  Set aside.  Sauté some ginger and sliced onions.  Add 2 to 3 tablespoons curry powder mix (I get mine from the local Indian store – they have a really nice chicken and seafood curry blend) and stir fry several seconds.  Add about 1-1/2 or up to 2 cups of coconut milk then add the shrimp.  When the shrimp is done, add sliced red bell peppers (I used a large red one that BFF gave me) and season to taste.  The dish is ok to serve at this point.  But I like to add about 1/2 cup coconut cream just to have extra creaminess.

So yummy!!!

 

XO Prawns and Mushrooms

I always say that the secret to any good XO dish is a good XO Sauce!  There are good ones readily available in the supermarket but the best one I’ve seen is a homemade one that a good friend gave me last Christmas, which is, sadly, down to its last use.

Given that this is the last dish I can make with that special homemade XO sauce, I decided to go all out… with my favorite mushrooms combined with my favorite seafood – shrimp… the largish kind…

And, as with good XO sauces, the best way to highlight their complex flavors is to simply sauté it.  So what I do is heat some oil in a non-stick pan and sauté 1/2 to 1 tablespoon of XO sauce.  Add in 12 large shrimps and stir fry until shrimps are done.  Take them out and arrange decoratively in a serving dish.

In the same pan (with much of the stir fry sauce still present), dump in any combination of mushrooms that you like (in my case I used 100 grams each of fresh shitake, enoki and shimenji mushrooms).  Sauté lightly until heated and cooked through.  Spoon over the shrimps.

Then get your drink of choice (mine is Coke Light), sit down and enjoy!

 

 

 

Chawan Mushi, Bastardized version

Chawan Mushi is simply a steamed egg custard, Japanese style.  It is similar to the Chinese steamed egg.

Anyway, I based my bastardized version on a recipe I found in this book:

00_chawan-book

And I say bastardized because I skipped a lot ingredients… and (oh the horror) used instant dashi to make the dashi stock!

Here is my bastardized recipe:

1 tablespoon rice wine (sake originally)
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
12 shelled prawns, cleaned
6 fresh shitake mushrooms, sliced

1 tablespoon rice wine (sake originally)
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
600 ml dashi stock
1 teaspoon salt
4 eggs

Marinate the shrimp and mushrooms in soy sauce and rice wine, for about 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, break the eggs into a bowl and stir gently (do not create bubbles). Add the rice wine, soy sauce, dashi stock and salt into the eggs.

Divide the shrimp and mushrooms into 4 heatproof bowls. Pour egg mixture over the shrimp and mushrooms. Steam, covered, over medium-low heat for 15 minutes or so. Garnish with sliced leeks.

 

 

Steamed Eggs with Shrimp

This is not the soft type of steamed eggs.

This is the type of steamed eggs – the firm type – that I grew up on!  My mother’s version had dried shitake mushrooms (rehydrated of course) and ground pork.  My take on it, this particular time, is with with shrimp.

It really is an easy dish, even if our guests were impressed by it!

5 eggs
1/3 cup water
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
salt and pepper, as desired or to taste
about 8 fresh shitake mushrooms, cleaned and sliced into strips
about 12 pieces of medium-sized shrimp, cleaned and trimmed
dash of sesame oil

Begin by readying a 9-inch pie plate and the steamer.  Bring the steamer pot to a gentle simmer.

Place the eggs in a bowl and add the water (or stock, if you prefer).  Stir gently (so that air will NOT be incorporated into the eggs).  Season to taste.

Place the mushroom slices on the bottom of the pie plate.  Pour the egg mixture in, through a sieve (this is the secret to a smooth, bubble-free dish).  Arrange the shrimp decoratively.

Steam for about 15 to 22 minutes.  Keep the heat low to low-medium. If a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, it is done.

Right before serving, splash the steamed eggs with a little sesame oil (a little really goes a long way!)

Serve immediately.