Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Bringing Singapore Home

Pulling one from the archives today because I'll be at the Chicks Who Click conference; wish me luck!

It's no secret that we love all things spicy here at Chez T. Awesome Stepkid R. is a heat freak and so am I. And like me, Awesome Stepkid R. is a bit of a show-off. So when he announced that he was bringing two friends home with him this past weekend, I decided to make something spicy. And, of course, mock his friends mercilessly if they couldn't handle the heat.

Yeah, I'm a cool Evil Stepmonster like that.

I clipped this from the November issue of Food and Wine; it's a variation of a recipe for "Singaporean chili crabs."** And best of all, it looked pretty easy!!

Chili Shrimp
serves 4
from Food and Wine Magazine, November 2009

2 pounds large shrimp, preferably head-on (ummmm, no. Barf.)
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons dry sherry
2 tablespoons Asian sweet chile sauce
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 medium jalapenos, seeded and minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 stalk of lemongrass, tender inner white bulb only, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Steamed rice, for serving

Using scissors, cut down the back shell of each shrimp and remove the dark intestinal vein, leaving the shell intact. In a small bowl, combine the ketchup, sherry, chile sauce, lemon juice, soy sauce and sugar.

In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil. Add the deveined shrimp to the skillet and cook over high heat, turning once, until they start to curl and turn pale pink, about 2 minutes.

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the skillet with the jalapenos, garlic, lemongrass and ginger and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the scallions and the ketchup mixture and stir fry for 30 seconds. Spoon the shrimp onto plates and serve with rice.

I whipped this up, called the boys into the kitchen to eat, and watched like a spider in the corner, gleeful.

"It's got some spice," Friend 1 (aka: Enormous Yard Ape) said, choking a little.
"It's not hot at first, but it kind of sneaks up on you," said Friend 2 (aka: Prince Lilliput).
"This isn't spicy at all," said Awesome Stepkid R. (aka: The Boy Who Suddenly is Hairy).

I had to try it myself, just to see. First off--Delicious! These are very, very, good.

Second: the heat is definitely not an out-there, smack-you-down kind of heat. It does show itself, but it's not at all overwhelming or tongue numbing. At least in my opinion.

If you like things racy, you can do as Awesome Stepkid R. did and add some crushed red pepper to your pile of shrimp.

The boys ate the whole batch, tossing shells into bowls and licking their spice-stained fingers. Then Yard Ape, Prince Lilliput and TBWSiH grunted their thanks and descended back into the Man-Cave, which was already starting to reek of teenager and angst and promise.

**WTF is it with Asian recipes that say "crabs" and "shrimps"??? It's just weird.


  1. Hah! I LOVE the idea! You are an awesome "Evil Stepmonster!"

    I will have to try these later. Baby doesn't like spice : (.

  2. Hee hee! You devilish kitchen witch you! Fun reading and they do sound deliciously tempting! Hmmmmmm... xxx

  3. Evil Stepmonster with scissors attacks innocent shrimps, I can see the headlines now.

  4. Sounds good, I like anything spicy too and shrimp gotta love em.

  5. We had one of these in my house growing up: a "Man-Cave, which was already starting to reek of teenager and angst and promise." I always attributed the smell to showers taken too long after a game of pick-up basketball, but you're probably on to something with the "angst and promise bit."

  6. These sound totally awesome. (And look delicious too. Great job on the photo!) I am going to pick up some lemongrass and make these next week.

  7. Great looking shrimp dish....and I have found teen boys will remain cool no matter what you throw at them! Good try for a reaction though.
    (I left you a surprise on my blog!)

  8. Is it wrong to want this for breakfast? And when my son has friends over, all they want is pizza rolls and maple syrup. Or something. (Known as maple syrups somewhere in Asia, I'm sure.)

  9. The Mistah would love these spicy treats. Maybe I can convince him to give this recipe a try...as in get his ass in the kitchen and give me a night off.

  10. Kitchen Witch, this recipe rocks! A shrimp dish kicked-up a few notches. YES! You can't have too many good shrimp dishes in the familly recipe notebook. This one is a keeper.

  11. mmm we love shrimp and heat around here...except my mom. B and I like to give her something hot and then sit back and watch the show....ya we are kind of immature that way..heheheh

  12. You are too funny! I can almost hear your sinister laugh as I read the post :)

  13. Those look yummy! I'm printing the recipe now!

  14. These look great, great to me, but I am the only person here who likes spice. Guess they're all for moi.

  15. Shrimps always make me giggle, but who are we to judge with our messed up plural- panini. One panino Two panini

  16. That's funny...you "evil" stepmom you! I love spicy food, my daughter is getting there, hubz...a whimp :P

    Nice photo BTW!

  17. Ah, the sweet stench of promise. These "shrimps" (hee hee) sound yummy and you have inspired a future post about metaphorical spice. You could say that I am a metaphorical heat freak. That counts for something, right?

  18. I love finding different ways to make shrimp. This looks great!

  19. You'd have to call 9-1-1 if I ate this. I adore shrimp, and a leeeeeeeetle bit of heat. I'm a whimp. You'd never know I'm 50% Mexican. My German DNA keeps me from handling that kind of heat. My husband would love you forever. You are a sadistic chef, and that's what I adore about you!

  20. I love it! Like a spider in the corner ... perfect.

    I have a devilish idea to up the ante for Awesome Stepkid R. (and provide at least five minutes of entertainment for spectators). If he really wants to be TBWSiH, have him challenge his pals to eat a single habanero apiece. My husband did this to his coworkers over lunch (peer pressure is necessary here, so the more people available to join in the fun, the better). Awesome Stepkid R. will obviously have to participate, but if he likes heat ... :D

    Oh, and it's really helpful to have a large bowl of ready-to-eat fruit nearby for the aftermath. Apples work well.

  21. I'm picturing you hunched in the corner manically rubbing your hands together waiting to see which kid breaks first. LOL

  22. I bet those boys LOVE the Evil Stepmonster! ;)

  23. That sounds fabulous...where the hell do I buy lemongrass???!

  24. Ok. I've discovered the *one* thing that sets us apart - I'm NOT a fan of super spicy. But my husband is. But he doesn't do shrimps (sorry, couldn't resist.) And I don't have an answer for why the Asian references to crabs and shrimps but I will say this...every time I see crabs on the menu I think of something else - more the creepy crawly variety, if you know what I mean.

  25. i love chilli crab/prawns. they're awesome.
    the spicier, the better!
    i'm singaporean btw :P

  26. MOTH would love this. Me, not so much with the spicy. When we were out with friends at our favorite Thai place, MOTH and the three of them all shared dishes, all spicy. I ordered my bland little Pad Se Eew with chicken, "no spice, please." My friend teased me about my mild palate and how I need everything bland like baby food. When the fifty-something Thai woman came with our dishes, she set them down while telling us what each dish was ("Panang curry, medium-hot..."). Finally, she presented me with my dish: "And the baby food..."

  27. Falling (Baby): I love that story! My Mama is the same way--she always jokes that she will only eat the "castrated" Indian/Thai food!

    Jane: I'm laughing, evil twin!

  28. Jessica: We live in Rocky Mountain Suburbia, but we have lemongrass in our produce section with the wonton wrappers and bean sprouts...Kroeger even has them here. If you can't find it at your grocery store, do you have a Whole Foods (Paycheck) near you?

  29. God, I'm an idiot. I somehow was tapping into an older link and didn't see half of these comments...Me Sofa King (retarded)...forgive.

    Feast: You are just a leeeeeetle bit hilarious.

    Barbara: Going to your blog now. I love surprises :) Thank You.

    Goldfish: I'd eat these suckers for brekkie any day...but I'm strange like that...glad to know there are other mutants out there like me.

    Devon: Yeah, what is it with panini/panino? WFT?

    ADR: Are you the 6th Spice Girl? Metaphorical Spice? You'll be the most interesting, by far. :)

    Contemporary: Habanero Showdown? Oh, you evil genius, you.

    The Jens (1 and 2) and Corinne: Great, now you have me stuck on this visual of Mr. Burns, rubbing his hands together, with that pointy-ass nose of his.

    Wendi: Whaddafuckyamean, "Night off?" Yougettadose?

    Velva: I absolutely LOVE that you used the term "kicked up." Remind me to tell you the story of Miss M. and "BAM!" BTW: Are you secretly shagging Emeril??

    Love you guys. Hubs is snoring away and I am awake for the 3rd night in a row (karmic assholery is afoot) but you all make me smile. I am so grateful for you.

  30. I love a woman that calls her food "racy"...

    The shrimps look succulent. I love saying that word. Succulent.

    *Asian recipes say crabS and shrimpS because we are trying to teach you that the English grammar does not make any sense at all!!! WTF is with all these words that do not use an "S" for their plural form?? You know how many of us cry to sleep because we can't memorize the damn rules? And excuse me, when the rules are not consistent, they are NOT rules. And don't get me started on the irregular verbs... *sobs*

  31. Husband, son-in-law, and 6-year-old grandson love "spicy." We had to replace carpet after grandson ate too much "spicy" on a pizza and dumped it on the bedroom carpet in the middle of the night. Since Yard Ape (I love that! :) ) and Lilliput enjoyed it without tossing their cookies, I'd say this is a safe one to fix next visit. Sounds yummy!

  32. Absence: You are cracking me up!

    Merrily: I wish I could take credit for "Yard Ape." It is, alas, borrowed from the great Beverly Cleary. Miss D. and I are reading 'Ramona and Beezus' at bedtime, and Yard Ape is a boy in Ramona's class-- quite amusing.

  33. Question:

    The presentation of your food is impeccable. Where do you learn this? Is there a "Making Food Look Gorgeous" class that you took? Is it years of meticulous experience? A few rules stringently applied? Trade secrets not meant for the uninitiated? 'Just eyeballing it'?

    I am most curious.

  34. Crabs and shrimps also don't sound appealing to me. I enjoy crabmeat. I enjoy shrimp cooked in certain recipes. Something about crabs reminds me of a Sex and the City episode. Shrimp is simply cutting it too close to home. Your recipe, nonetheless, sounds yummy, but far beyond my talents in the cuisine.

  35. mmmmmm. I love me some spicy food. A friend of mine says that spicy food is "like fireworks in your mouth"

    Uh huh.

    I like fireworks in my mouth. So yeah, this sounds YUMMY :)

  36. Why do I always come across beautiful looking food when I am starving and on a diet?!!!

  37. My mouth went numb just reading your great story.

    Ya know, the "shrimps" thing is odd, at best, but the "crabs" deal...well, it's just disturbing, if you ask me....

  38. Laughing like an adolescent about "crabs."

    J. Harker: are you trying to make me feel like a REAL food photographer? I think I love you. If you think my photos are good, you should see some of the other food websites out there...they make me look like dog meat...but wait. Don't go. You'll never come back if you do.

  39. I LOVE the descriptions of the friends. Tee hee!

  40. You're so cool! I'd love to have witnessed this! :D I don't like heads on my shrimp either. I also gag cleaning that disgusting vein out. ACK!

  41. Ha!! I cannot wait until my kids and their friends are old enough so I can have some of this kinda fun at their expense...er uh...I mean, with them. The shrimps sound pretty scrumptious, actually (mwaa haa hhaa shrimps)!

  42. I too am a total heat freak . . . these "shrimps" sound super! But TKW, I'm also a grammar freak - 'shrimp' is a countable noun and has a regular plural, so although 'shrimp' can be used as a plural noun, 'shrimps' is proper too!

  43. I want them!!! I'd probably have to add crushed red pepper just like Awesome Stepkid did... I love the heat!

    To answer your question about the panino/panini. It Italian most masculine nouns that end with "o" when singular end in "i" when plural. So one panino, two panini. One vino, two vini. And so on. Now what about the shrimpS though? Where does that come from?!?

  44. That sounds wonderful!

  45. "Crabs" and "shrimps" irritate the hell out of me (especially when saying "crabs" means having crabs, which is even more irritating than are grammar goofs), but at least there is a legitimate translation issue there. I don't get major metropolitan aquaria that use the word "fishes" in their displays. You heard me, Monterey.

  46. "Chicks who Click?!? I don't even know what to think of that.