For our Saturday dinner, I decided to prepare a meal with shrimps. I wanted to try out a new ingredient I’d never cooked with before, too: lemongrass. This is a tropical plant from Southeast Asia, very common in Philippine and Thai cuisine, with a subtle citrus flavour. You can buy it fresh, dried (less tasty, needs to be soaked in warm water before use) or deep-frozen.
I, of course, had to have fresh lemongrass. Alright, I’m maybe a bit stubborn, I admit. Anyway, let me give you a precious piece of advice: if you set out to buy an ingredient you’ve never used before, gather as much information beforehand as you can. Information and, most important: photos! I confess: I didn’t have the foggiest what lemongrass looked like! Thus, I was wandering around the fruit & vegetable section of my supermarket for quite a while, like the perfect idiot I am. They have that huge stall where they lay out everything exotic (mangos, passion fruit, yam, you name it) without really bothering to stick the price tags to the respective products. I finally took something I thought could be lemongrass and put it onto the electronic scales. Bingo! The pictogram that automatically appeared on the screen read “Lemongrass”.
photo found on http://wikipedia.org
And now for the recipe (for 4 persons).
What you need:
- 500 g of shrimps (I bought them peeled, which saved me from hand-peeling them for hours)
- 3-5 broccoli heads
- 2 spoonfuls of chopped lemongrass
- 2-3 garlic cloves
- Olive oil
- 200 ml coconut cream (or creamy coconut milk if you don’t find the cream)
- Salt, pepper
- Peel your shrimps if you haven’t bought them already peeled.
- Chop your garlic.
- Chop your lemongrass into large chunks (you will have to remove them from your sauce afterwards; thus, if you chop it into tiny, tiny bits, good luck for finding them!). Remove the outer leaves and cut the two ends of the rod; you will only need the tender centre of them stem.
- Heat up your olive oil (approx. 2 spoonfuls) in a wok or a frying pan (a sauteuse is even better).
- Add the shrimps and the chopped garlic, fry them for some minutes (five to six).
- Add the broccoli heads little bit by little bit.
- Add the chopped lemongrass.
- Add salt and pepper.
- Cook for several more minutes.
- Add the coconut cream and reduce heat.
- Take out the lemongrass pieces (they won’t soften and stay rather crunchy to the bite; if you like that, leave them in your sauce).
- Serve with rice.