One nice thing about living with so many people is that there is always someone to sample your culinary endeavors. Most of my roommates love shrimp and other forms of seafood. I say most because since Sharon is Kosher she can't partake in this dish or any other seafood masterpieces I might whip up, but I like to think my culinary soul mate would enjoy this just as much as I do. You could always make this dish with chicken if you don't like shrimp, but it still wouldn't be kosher. I modified this dish from a few recipes one night when my roommate Dan and I were looking for a little something different. That's exactly what this dish is. A perfect change from the norm that hits all the right flavor notes and is light enough not to weigh you down. This dish is also delicious enough to have mild mannered roommates clamoring for a second or third helping. And so without further ado...Thai Basil Rice with Shrimp.
Today's Cast of Characters:
Its kind of exotic today with a few semi hard to find ingredients. Oyster sauce and Fish sauce are by far the smelliest things in my kitchen. Warning...this dish has a few moments where it smells like death. Don't panic as soon as it cooks a bit these fragrant sauces tone down on the reek factor. A teaspoon white sugar is added to the sauces to even out the flavors and lend some sweetness to the savory notes. I use coconut oil for frying. I used to use peanut or canola but since Trader Joe's started to carry this stuff I've been blown away. I also like the subtle flavor this lends to the dish. Lots of garlic and 4 or 5 Serrano peppers are the perfect complement to the shrimp, onion, and red pepper combo that are also added. Finally the star of the meal: Thai Basil. You can use dried or fresh basil for this but note that that the proportions will change along with the flavor. I usually use dried but I try to use fresh when it is available. You will also need some cooked jasmine rice, chilled. I just have the rice be room temperature.The Sriracha is only there to put on at the end, and I do this because I like an extra bit of kick to the dish. You don't have to add it to your dish at all but I put it on the table for people to doctor their dish at will.
What to do:
First you need to whisk together the oyster sauce, fish sauce, and sugar in a bowl. Again this is a smelly process. You'll thank me later though because it adds wonderful depth to the dish.
Get the oil good and hot in the pan over medium-high heat. Coconut oil needs a bit of time to come up to temperature since it is a solid at or below 76 degrees. I try to let it smolder but I usually test cooking readiness by flicking a bit of water in the pan and watching it sizzle. Add the garlic and Serrano peppers, stirring quickly so it doesn't get burned.
Next stir in the shrimp, bell pepper, onion and oyster sauce mixture. Here is where the dish starts to smell a bit like death. Again don't panic just let it cook out a bit so that the smell is all gone. Your kitchen will go back to smelling great in no time! I promise the final dish smells good too. Cook until the shrimp is basically all pink and is cooked through.
Now, raise heat to high and stir in the chilled rice and the basil. Make sure you stir quickly so that the sauce is blended with the rice. Use the back of a spoon to break up any rice sticking together.
Remove from heat, serve it up in a pretty bowl with a nice squirt of Sriracha, and enjoy!
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 teaspoon white sugar
1/4 cup Coconut Oil for frying
4 cups cooked jasmine rice, chilled
8 or 9 large cloves garlic, crushed, diced, or pressed
4 or 5 serrano peppers, thinly sliced
1/2 pound uncooked shrimp, peeled and de-veined cut into thirds
1 red pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
1 onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup dried sweet Thai Basil
Sriracha Sauce for the top (optional)
Sriracha Sauce for the top (optional)
1. Whisk together the oyster sauce, fish sauce, and sugar in a bowl.
2. Heat the oil in a wok over medium-high heat until the oil begins to
smoke or smell like it is ready to cook. Add the garlic and serrano
peppers, stirring quickly.
3. Stir in the shrimp, bell pepper, onion and oyster sauce mixture
4. Cook until the shrimp is basically all pink and is cooked through.
5. Raise heat to high and stir in the chilled rice and the basil.
6. Stir quickly until the sauce is blended with the rice. Use the back
of a spoon to break up any rice sticking together.
7. Remove from heat and enjoy!