Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Asian Shrimp & Dumpling Stir Fry

Asian Shrimp & Dumpling Stir Fry... I love dumplings. Why I have never tried making them from scratch I don't know - but I haven't and I won't like, the ones I used last night were straight out of the freezer section of Trader Joe's. However, these were little mini dumplings I'd never tried before and they were super Dahlish. OK actually I lied, as a child in elementary school every year for Chinese New Years a few class moms came in and taught us about the holiday, and surprise surprise my favorite activity was making pot stickers. YUM.

Anywho, if you like dumplings but you haven't yet had the urge to make them yourself, I'd highly suggest trying these little pockets of chicken cilantro yumminess from TJ's. Here is how I made them into a meal:

First I started with a little marinade for my shrimp. Lime juice, soy sauce, sriracha - pretty simple.

Next - while the shrimpies were soaking up that flavor in the fridge, I started sauteing/steaming a head of broccoli cut into bite sized bits in a bit of oil. Once they were mostly cooked I tossed in my shrimp.

While the shrimp were getting nice and pink on each side (2 or so minutes per side) I popped the dumplings in the microwave for 2 minutes to steam. You could also pan fry them per the directions but I don't have non stick pans and I'll say from experience pot stickers REALLY do stick to the pot if you don't have the right cooking utensils.

Once the dumplings were nicely steamed I pulled dumped them into my sauteing shrimp/broccoli mixture and quick added a sauce I whipped up. The sauce was made of things I had, sadly no fresh herbs but oh well. It was a liberal pour of soy sauce, a quick dash of water, a few drops of sesame oil, juice from half of a lime, and a squirt of sriracha - quickly whisked and tossed into the pan.

I turned the heat down so that the dumplings didnt stick to my pan and let everything toss around in the liquidy sauce until it thickened after a minute or two. Simply plated in a large flat bowl and voila! Shrimp and dumpling stir fry in literally 12 minutes.

Super easy meal and super satisfying - I'd say it was 75 percent home made. I cooked the shrimp and the broccoli and the sauce, but the dumplings I can't take credit for. Still 3 out of 4 aint so bad for that quick of a Tuesday night meal!

Hope this provides some of you out there with inspiration to make your own dumplings, and if you do, please let me know how it goes!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Coconut Poached Salmon with Spinach & Lentils

Coconut Poached Salmon with Spinach & Lentils... Ok so this sounds way more intimidating and time consuming than it was - so don't run away yet!! Just read through this post and seriously you will want to try this yourself... well if you like coconut thai flavors that is.

I'm not sure why I have never tried cooking with coconut milk before but I'm sure glad I got the hankering for it that I did because tonight's culinary exploration in my kitchen was fantastic.

What I used for the sauce:
1 can coconut milk
1 cup chicken broth
1 lime (and the rind)
1 lemon
1 bay leaf
A bunch of cilantro

Trader Joe's cooked lentils
tablespoon Biryani blend
1 small can water chestnuts

In a large sauce pan I brought the cup or so of chicken broth to a light boil. I then added the full can of coconut milk, juice from a lime and half a lemon, a slice of lime peel, a few drops of sriracha, and a pinch of salt. Let that come to a light boil/simmer and place the salmon filet skin side up into the pan. Add a few cilantro stems and a bay leaf then place the lid on the pot. Let the salmon poach on a light simmer for 12-14 minutes.

Simmering chicken broth


Poaching the salmon - cover with a lid

Take the salmon out and place it on a plate, also remove the bay leaf, lime peel, and cilantro stems. Let the coconut liquid come to a light boil - add sriracha/salt to taste and toss in the drained water chestnuts.

On the side, sautee a bunch of spinach in a little olive oil and add the lentils. I heated the lentils for about 3 minutes in the microwave before tossing with the spinach. Add some biryani blend if you have it or salt and pepper - or any seasoning you think might be Dahlicious! A squeeze of lemon is always good too.

After I went through all of the above I took a heaping scoop of the lentil/spinach mix and placed my perfectly poached salmon on top. I ladled enough broth over the top to give the lentils a chance to soak it in and then topped the plate with more chopped fresh cilantro.

Sauteed spinach/lentils/biryani

Plated lentils and poached salmon

Soaking up the Dahlicious broth!

In total the prep took about 10 minutes and the actual cooking only about 15. This is seriously a meal you can make in 30 minutes despite how complicated or intricate it might seem.

There are lots of things that could be added to this - lemongrass, green onions, jalapenos, chili paste, ginger, shallots... any veggies or proteins. The options are limitless!

I will definitely be making this again, however I will say it was pretty rich. Next time I do it I may use a bit more chicken broth and a bit less coconut milk, or try using some light coconut milk. The flavor was fantastic, but full fat coconut milk is pretty heavy and fairly caloric. I personally am of the camp that there are worse calories out there for you than coconut milk, but if you are watching your calorie intake I'd just thin it out a bit.

All in all I was super pleased with how this turned out and would definitely suggest trying it! Enjoy this Dahlicious coconut dish!