In this post, we outline an Asian-inspired dish that had Ria saying “hurray!” Oh, did we mention Jon came up with it?
I (Ria) loathe veggies. I think they are an absolute punishment to consume. However, since I’ve been with Jon, I’ve learned to appreciate them. He’s also learned to pick veggies that I like, and cook with those. I’m not quite at the point yet where I’ll venture too far away from the humble potato, but I’m trying my hardest to make it work.
I’m a really big fan of carrots. Mostly in carrot cake, but it’s probably a good idea to consume them in meals when you can. We’d been talking for a while about doing a dish that was hearty but also a bit heavier on the veggies.
A few days after that, Jon decided on this concoction: coconut rice with shrimp, gai lan and carrots. Oddly enough, gai lan is another veggie I enjoy. It’s leafy, adds interesting texture to, and it’s palatable. (While I really like bok choy, I find it too stringy to chew on sometimes.) Gai lan is sometimes referred to as Chinese broccoli. I will often eat it cooked in oyster sauce and with rice, sometimes with sliced meat, depending on what I’m craving.
We recommend making this all in a wok, and bonus if you have a rice cooker to make your rice in because it really expedites the process.
What you’ll need
2 cups of carrots
3 cups of gai lan
1 cup of green onions
8 cups of white rice, cooked
1 can of coconut milk (I recommend Aroy-D coconut milk from the can, if you can)
3 cups of snow peas
1 1/2 pounds of shrimp (fresh or IQF is okay — your choice! We used IQF)
2 tablespoons of corn starch
1/2 cup of coconut milk (we like to use the So Good! brand from the carton)
1 lemon, juiced
How to cook it
Make sure you wash the gai lan WELL, as there will be a lot of dirt on this veggie. You can do this like you would with spinach: throw it all in the sink in cold water, give it a big of a wiggle with your fingers, and then make sure there’s no dirt on it before you put it off to the side; you don’t necessarily need to dry it off. Once that’s washed, use kitchen shears to break down the gai lan (you can also use a knife, but shears will make life a little easier), do these as bite-sized pieces. You’ll also want the split the leaves so they are easier to eat.
Carrots can be prepared per the norm: wash, peel and slice. These can be chopped up however you like; Jon was feeling fancy and picked some kind of diamond-like shape, but if you don’t know what to do then thin slices are okay. For the snow peas, cut the ends off, then cut the piece in half again. Peel the garlic and ginger; the garlic can be minced, but you’ll want the ginger to be chopped up as finely as possible.
If you’re using fresh shrimp then you’ll need to peel, clean and de-vein them. We chose to go the IQF route, so all we had to do was let it thaw on the counter. If you are choosing frozen, make sure you remove as much water (ice) as possible, because if you were to say add the frozen shrimp to the dish as it’s cooking, you’ll end up with way too much water in the dish.
I can’t stress this enough: wash your rice. I like to double wash my rice because it not only gets it all clean, it seem to ‘activate’ the aromas and flavours so much better than just dumping it in a pan. To wash your rice, just throw it in a rice cooker or pot, fill up the pot with a little more water (any temperature is okay) than rice, and stir it with your hand. You’ll notice the water will start to look cloudy. Strain the rice with a sieve, and then put the rice back in to where you’ll be cooking it.
Time to get cooking!
Step one: once your rice is washed and back in the pot/rice cooker, and put in the coconut milk from the carton along with some water. This is actually flexible: you can completely substitute the water for the coconut milk in the carton, but we ended up doing a half-coconut milk, half water concoction. Then, get the rice cooker cooking. If you’re cooking the rice in a pot or pan, stir it as needed.
Step two: next, throw all the veggies into your wok (or whatever you’re cooking them in). The ginger, carrots, garlic, snow peas and gai lan were all cook ed for about the same time; about five to six minutes or until slightly tender.
Step three: throw in your shrimp, and stir fry until it’s about half cooked. Once it reaches that stage, throw in your can of coconut milk, along with the juice of one lemon. Keep going until everything is cooked through. If the coconut milk is looking a little thin, remove a portion of it (about a ladle-full) and add the cornstarch to that portion. Stir that all up, and add it back into the wok. At this point, you should only need about two to three minutes more to cook everything up.
Step four: serve the veggies and shrimp over a cup or so of rice…and then you’re done! Dinner — along with lunches for the next few days — is served!
Let us know if you try this recipe!