I love Thai cooking, in particular Esan Thai cuisine. Its flavor profile of spicy, sweet, salty and sour inspires me as I contemplate new recipes. I’d say my fascination with Thai cuisine led me to include, among my foodie resolutions, learning more about Mexican cuisine and its various chili peppers. The world of “hot” cuisine seems to encourage fusion experimentation, and I’m happy to report that in this case, the cuisine culture clash works. (This recipe was adapted from the book, The Elements of Taste.) —NakedBeet
Test Kitchen Notes
This recipe brings together all of the best Thai flavors, from smoky heat to sweet shrimp and the warmth of ginger. By rubbing the toasted spices on the shrimp, (instead of just putting everything into the broth), you’re sure to get a mouthful of flavor in every bite. The lemongrass-infused coconut broth is delicate and well-balanced, as are the rest of the flavors in the dish. This is one I’ll want to make over and over. —ChefAndrea
serves 4 as a main, 8 as an appetizer
Broth and Shrimp
white onion, chopped
garlic cloves, diced
lemongrass stalk, chopped and smashed
celery root, chopped
fresh slices of ginger
coriander leaves, chopped
large chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
shrimp shells from 1 lb of shrimp (use the heads too, if you have them)
large tomato, quartered
1 1/2 cups
coconut milk (full fat)
large shrimp, shelled
Ancho Cardamom Spice Mix (see recipe below)
Oil your pan and heat to medium-high. Add garlic, onion, and lemongrass, and sauté until the onions start turning brown. Add the ginger, coriander seeds, coriander leaves, celery root, and the chipotle, stirring the pepper into the mix to distribute some of the flavor. Sauté this for 2-3 minutes and add a little more oil if the vegetables begin to stick in the pan.
Toss in the shrimp shells and heads, if you have them, and cook for another 2-4 minutes. Once the shells start turning pink, add in the tomatoes and cook for a minute, followed by the coconut milk. You want to add enough to cover most of your flavored vegetables. You can add an additional 1/2 cup of coconut milk and also 1/4 of water at a time to cover the mixture. Let simmer for 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes, strain through a fine mesh sieve, pushing down on the mixture with a spoon to release any flavors caught in the vegetables. Put the sauce back into a saucepan and add butter. When it dissolves, use an immersion blender or milk frother to froth the sauce, keeping it warm on low heat.
Coat all the shrimp in the ancho cardamom spice mix. Set a skillet with oil and sauté all the shrimp until cooked through, adding coriander and parsley leaves toward the end of cooking. Salt to taste. Serve shrimp and broth together.
Ancho Cardamom Spice Mix
In a dry skillet, toast the coriander seeds, star anise, and cardamom seeds. Combine all the spices in a coffee grinder or spice mill and grind together. Thoroughly mix the ground spices with the salt and ancho powder. Store in a tightly-sealed container.