Sunday, 8 January 2012

Sautéed Shrimps and Broccoli with Lemongrass and Coconut Cream

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
Well, I’m just too fabulous for words, am I not? Anyway, you do not need to answer. No, really, don’t. In order to save you from making the same mistakes I made, here’s a photo. Once you know what to look for, it’s rather easy.

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 
How to proceed:
  1. Peel your shrimps if you haven’t bought them already peeled. 
  2. Chop your garlic. 
  3. 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. 
  4. Heat up your olive oil (approx. 2 spoonfuls) in a wok or a frying pan (a sauteuse is even better). 
  5. Add the shrimps and the chopped garlic, fry them for some minutes (five to six). 
  6. Add the broccoli heads little bit by little bit. 
  7. Add the chopped lemongrass. 
  8. Add salt and pepper. 
  9. Cook for several more minutes. 
  10. Add the coconut cream and reduce heat. 
  11. 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). 
  12. Serve with rice. 
I really liked this new dish; it tasted sweet with that telltale subtle citrus flavour I mentioned before. Cheers then, sweeties, and bon appétit


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