Thursday, February 26, 2009

Coconut Shrimp Quinoa "Risotto"

Shellfish is almost never in my house. My husband doesn't like it, and since we're Jewish, there's a little weirdness about cooking something so blatantly non-kosher at home. Nonetheless, I love shellfish, and I've been craving it constantly during this pregnancy. My daughter seems perfectly happy eating it, too.

I happened to buy a 2 lb. bag of frozen shrimp at Costco last week, most of which will be used to make a dish to bring to a friend's house after her baby is born. But the remainder of the shrimp needed a home, and we found it this week in lunch.

I was inspired by a Ming Tsai recipe that I happened to catch on TV, Creamy Risotto with Shrimp and Bok Choy. I stole the shrimp and the bok choy, but I changed most of the rest of the recipe.

Since my version of this risotto uses quinoa (making it not really a risotto at all, save the cooking method), it needs something to create the creaminess of risotto that usually would come from the starchiness of the rice, and of course, the cheese and butter. Wanting to make this lighter, both in consistency and fat, I went with light coconut milk and a little coconut butter. The end result has a strong resemblance to risotto - the quinoa maintains bite because it is a whole grain, and the "sauce" is creamy and flavorful. Still, the flavors are not at all traditional for risotto.

Coconut Shrimp Quinoa "Risotto"
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 shallot, minced
1 cup quinoa (red, white, or a mix)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 15 oz. can light coconut milk
1 quart homemade or low-sodium veggie stock, brought to a simmer
2 large heads baby bok choy, thinly sliced
1 sheet of toasted nori, cut into thin strips, and then cut in thirds
1/2 lb. frozen shrimp, thawed, peeled and deveined
1 Tbsp. lime zest
2 Tbsps. fresh lime juice
2 Tbsps. coconut butter
salt, to taste

In a large stainless steel skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots, cooking for about 2 minutes. Add the quinoa and toast for about 2 minutes. Add the wine, and allow the wine to absorb into the quinoa, stirring frequently. Once mostly absorbed, add the coconut milk, and allow that to absorb, stirring frequently. Once that is almost completely absorbed, add one ladle of stock at a time, allowing each ladle to absorb before adding another, continuing to stir. Once the curly "tails" of the quinoa grains are showing, the quinoa is fully cooked.

Add the bok choy and nori, and cook until each is wilted, adding small amounts of stock when necessary to loosen the risotto. Add the shrimp, cooking through, about 5 minutes. Turn the heat off. Add the lime zest, lime juice, coconut butter and salt. Whip the risotto briskly with a wooden spoon until it is very creamy. Serve hot, as either a main dish or side dish.

Serves 4-8.

1 comment:

NJ Macaroni Kid said...

I made this recipe for my family one night and it was a big hit. I was looking forward to eating some leftover for lunch the next day but there weren't any. Delicious!