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Sunday, February 17, 2013

Beach Signs...and Coconut-Dusted Shrimp with Curry Butter

A local vendor sums it up with his wares

Beach Signs... and Coconut-Dusted Shrimp with Curry Butter and Coconut Rice
by Victoria Challancin

I love signs.  I am just drawn to them.  Wherever I travel, I look for signs, both literally and metaphorically.  I never get enough.

And in my week of vacation in La Manzanilla, Mexico, which I wrote about in my last post, I wasn't disappointed.

A metaphorical sign:  I just knew it would be a great vacation when I saw this welcome mat with a gentle flower at the steps of our borrowed house

A friend told me where to buy the best fresh shrimp in nearby Malaque--just look for the shrimp sign

The ever-present Mexican skull

A watermelon moon?  Of course!

Local alligators, which grow up to 18 feet in length, abound--and the signs warn you to be careful

A less easy-to-decipher sign, warning not to put your hand close to the fence or feed the gators

Not certain why they are there, but what's not to love about a building painted with turtles?

En route in the state of Colima, we found this sign at a gas station, with the yellow warning light illuminated warning of possible activity in the local Nevado de Colima Volcano (also Volcán de Colima or Volcán de Fuego).  In Spanish, it is said to be inquieto, or restless.

Known to be the best fish tacos in town, Pedro's truck is always busy

Even the departed are provided with drink

On a wall in town
Local alligators figure in advertising here

A stencilled painting around a door

My absolute favorite sign, because who wouldn't want to eat at a restaurant named Jesus, Mary, and Joseph?  Right?

                                 Coconut-Dusted Shrimp with Curry Butter                            Photo by Jennifer Haas

When I try something in a restaurant that delights my palate, I never rest until I can recreate it in my own kitchen.  This recipe is just such a result of such a tasting in the lovely, family-run Café de Flores in La Manzanilla, Jalisco, Mexico, by far the best restaurant in town.  My sister-in-law ordered this dish (I chose the Macadamia-Crusted Mahi Mahi with Thai Red Curry Sauce), and were I a lesser person, I feel certain I would have fought her for it.

Cook's Notes:  The original dish was softer in flavors, but I seem to have a penchant for punching up the ingredients as I did here.  If you want a dish closer to the original, omit the ginger juice  and garam masala and opt for only 1 tablespoon or less of the curry powder.  I think a bit of chopped mango would also be a lovely addition.  I used desiccated coconut, which was already fairly finely ground.  If using sweetened, simply blitz it in a blender first.

      Recipe:  Coconut-Dusted Shrimp with Curry Butter
                                                       (Recipe by Victoria Challancin)

For the shrimp:
1 teaspoon garam masala
2 to 3 tablespoons desiccated coconut, unsweetened, finely ground
2 tablespoons olive oil or mild vegetable oil
1 1/2 pounds medium-large shrimp, peeled and deveined

For the curry butter:
1 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup onion or shallot, very finely chopped
1 teaspoon ginger juice (grate fresh ginger and squeeze)
1 garlic clove, pressed
2 tablespoons top quality curry powder, or to taste
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Chopped cilantro for garnish (optional)

In a small bowl combine coconut and garam masala.  Brush shrimp with oil and roll in coconut mixture.  Shake off excess.  In a lightly oiled, heated skillet, sauté the shrimp in batches, if necessary, for 1 to 2 minutes or until barely cooked through.  Remove to a plate and set aside.

Melt butter in same pan.  Add onion, ginger juice, and garlic.  Stur until mixed and fragrant, about 1 minute.

Return shrimp to pan.  Stir to coat shrimp with butter sauce.  Serve with Coconut Rice (recipe below).  Garnish with chopped cilantro, if desired.

Photo  by Jennifer Haas
Cook's Notes:  My dear friend, Chris Hamilton, in Florida, created this recipe after eating it at a favorite Key West restaurant.  After multiple tweaks, Chris was finally satisfied.  This is the result--and my oh my, is it good!  Thanks for sharing, Chris.

Often when I cook rice, I wrap the top of the pot with a clean kitchen towel, replace it, and allow it to steam off heat for 10 minutes.

Coconut Rice
(Recipe by Chris Hamilton)

2 cups jasmine rice
2 cups coconut milk
1 3/4 cups water
2 heaping tablespoons shredded coconut (I used the same desiccated coconut described above)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil

Rub oil in pan.  Put ingredients in pan on medium-high heat until it gently bubbles.  Cover and cook over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes.  Turn off heat.  Allow to steam another 5 to 10 minutes off heat.

And thanks to Jennifer Haas, another precious friend, who often snaps photos for me as I finish up with my class!

©Victoria Challancin.  All Rights Reserved.

Like life and love, recipes are meant to be shared, but please don't use photos or text without asking permission.  Thanks!


Eha said...

I do not know whether to laugh about some of the signs at the moment or lick my lips in anticipation of making your today's recipe! So my style!! Have just checked: all ingredients in hand tho' have to hang my head in shame and admit the prawns are green but frozen :( ! Feel pretty proud of myself also - I have no Spanish whatsoever but could translate every word on the signs, especially the croc ones :D ! Oh, how is Angus, pretty please?

Victoria of Flavors of the Sun said...

Good recipe. I hope you try it! Angus is in the proverbial doghouse. He has destroyed two dog beds already, and is working on the one remaining one, which Molly needs! But...he's adorable. Will post a photo soon.

Eha said...

The important part: couple of friends joining me for tomorrow's lunch to 'test' your recipes! Not much chance of not enjoying to the last bite!! Now: I know this is basically a cooking blog BUT: I did think Roscoe was Angus' dad and Molly his grandmother - hmmm, why are they not growling at him just a tad? Ma'am, whilst you are pronouncing him 'adorable' he'll feel you in the palm, oops sorry, paw of his whatever and think himself a great entertainer? love to you all . . . oh, looking forward to the prawns, sorry, shrimp :) !

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

As a shrimp nut I instantly was curious about this recipe! Thank you for taking us for a tour of your views Victoria. I would absolutely be fascinated by a restaurant called Jesus, Mary, and Joseph! :D

Hotly Spiced said...

I do love the sound of the curry butter. I haven't had anything like that before but I think it would go really well with the prawns xx said...

You and I have so much in common. I awlays come home to recreate dishes that I enjoyed.

Great recipe and wonderful [ictures.

Victoria Challancin said...

I suspect we have much in common as well. That's why I am waiting for you and Joan--and others-- to visit SMA!

Joan Nova said...

I love signs too!

And I love your shrimp dish. Every time I see shrimp and coconut, I wince because I think it's that cloying sweet fried dish that is so popular ... but this me gusta!

Karen (Back Road Journal) said...

We are alike in wanting to recreate dishes that we enjoy when dining in a restaurant. Your shrimp and rice sound terrific.

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