Sep 26, 2015

Tropical SHRIMP

Shrimp Farming is profitable from Ecuador to Hawaii. Hawaii has a long history in shrimp farming. Ancient Hawaiians harvested local shrimp from coastal fish ponds for hundreds of years. Their ponds were constantly replenished with fresh tidal seawater, resulting in sweet, succulent Hawaii shrimp. 

Today, shrimp is the most popular seafood in the U.S., and Hawaii is considered the world's shrimp-breeding capital, thanks to the work of Jim Wyban's company, High Health Aquaculture in Kona. His company was sold in 2012 to an Asian multinational company called Shrimp Improvement Systems (SIS), now the world's leading provider of shrimp broodstock. Shrimp broodstock are a group of mature shrimp used in aquaculture for breeding purposes. Another shrimp farm can be found on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, Sunrise Capital's shrimp farm, which produce Pacific White Shrimp for Kauai's local markets and throughout the State of Hawaii under the label Kauai Shrimp. Here on Moloka'i, Moloka'i Sea Farms has been supplying hatcheries worldwide with quality pathogen free broodstock.

So what does all of this mean? It means that farm raised shrimp are sustainable. Like cattle, shrimp can be raised to feed the world. According to the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program, their are approximately 400,000 producers of farm raised shrimp worldwide, which makes it difficult for consumers to know the origin of their shrimp and how it was farmed. 
Are their safeguards in place in other countries? How do we know how these shrimp are raised, what they are fed, and are they safe to eat? In Hawaii, the Hawaii Pacific University Oceanic Institute long-term goal is to support the domestic industry that will help offset a $3.7 billion trade imbalance for shrimp, ensure the safety and wholesomeness of the nation's seafood supply, promote environmentally sustainable animal agriculture, create new opportunities for U.S. agriculture, and forge new markets for U.S. grain and oilseed products and technology services. 

Thailand is our top foreign source for shrimp. One third of the shrimp we import come from Thailand, and over 80 percent of those shrimp are farm raised. U.S. imported shrimp also comes from Ecuador, Indonesia, China, Mexico, Vietnam, Malaysia and India. It's too bad that we can't buy locally. Personally I think Kauai Shrimp farm (see link above) is as close as we can get to safe, pathogen free farm raised shrimp here in Hawaii. 

It's ironic that our largest grocery store on Moloka'i sells thawed white shrimp from Ecuador, when they could be buying locally from Kauai Shrimp Farm. Shrimp are very perishable. Unless you live in an area where you are able to get shrimp caught the same day, the quality of your shrimp might suffer. Here's a chef's tip when buying shrimp, it is sometimes better to buy frozen shrimp rather than fresh shrimp. If you purchase thawed shrimp at your supermarket, you do not know how long they have been sitting out, which may put your family at risk for food-borne illness.

In June 2014, the Obama administration announced it would propose new rules for the seafood industry by the end of the year. The Food and Drug Administration is responsible for oversight of fish in this country, but it's up to us to shop wisely, and read food labels.

The bottom line is that this country loves to eat shrimp and it doesn't look like the demand for shrimp will slow down in the near future. So here are a few tropical shrimp recipes for you to enjoy, or click on the "Recipe Index" tab above to find many more shrimp recipes:

Grilled Garlic Shrimp

This is a simple recipe for the grill, and is one of my favorite spicy finger foods during football season, with a cold beer on the side.

Brining Solution:
1 cup Hawaiian or Kosher salt
6 tablespoons sugar
2 quarts water

3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
2 1/2 teaspoons lemon or lime juice
2 pounds large shrimp, with shells left on

Prepare brining solution and brine shrimp for 15 minutes. Remove from brining solution and pat dry, set aside. Using mortar and pestle, smash garlic and salt into a smooth paste. Add cayenne and paprika and mix well. Add olive oil, ginger, and lemon to form a thin paste, making sure the paste isn’t too loose or it will not cling to the shrimp. Toss shrimp with paste until evenly coated. Grill until shells are bright pink, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Serve hot. Makes 8 servings.

Crispy Fried Coconut Shrimp 
with Pineapple Dipping Sauce
Ingredients for coconut shrimp:
18 unpeeled, large fresh shrimp
1 cup coconut milk
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup beer
1 (7-ounce) package sweetened flaked coconut
1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
canola oil for frying

Procedure for coconut shrimp:
Peel shrimp, leaving tails on. Butterfly shrimp by making a deep slit down the back of each from the large end to the tail, cutting to, but not through, inside curve of shrimp.

Stir together coconut milk, cilantro, and lime juice in a large bowl. Add shrimp, tossing gently to coat. Cover and chill 30 minutes. Drain shrimp from mixture (do not pat dry).

Whisk together flour and beer in a small bowl. Combine coconut and breadcrumbs in a shallow dish. Dip shrimp into beer batter; dredge in coconut mixture, pressing onto shrimp. Place shrimp on a baking sheet; freeze 20 minutes.

Pour oil to depth of 2 inches into a Dutch oven, and heat to 350°F. Cook shrimp, in batches, 2 to 3 minutes or until golden. Drain on paper towels, and sprinkle lightly with salt. Serve immediately with Sweet Tropical Dipping Sauce. Makes 6 appetizer servings, 3 shrimp per serving.

Pineapple Dipping Sauce
2/3 cup pineapple preserves
2/3 cup apricot preserves
1/2 cup stone-ground mustard

Stir together all ingredients in a small bowl. Cover and chill. Makes about 2 cups.

Hot & Sour Lemongrass Shrimp Soup
1 pound sweet shrimp, with peelings
4 cups chicken stock
3 stalks lemongrass
3 tablespoons fish sauce
1/4 cup lime juice (remove the rind of one of them, see below)
2 tablespoons chopped green onion
5 strips of lime rind, green part only
1/2 cup re-hydrated, dried black tree ear mushrooms, cut into thin strips
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 teaspoon chili oil, or to taste
2 green onions, chopped for garnish

Shell and devein the prawns, reserving the shells. Rinse the shells and place them in a large saucepan with the chicken stock. Remove the hard end and outer layer of the lemongrass stalk. Bruise the white ends of your stalks with the blunt edge of a large knife (it helps release the lemongrass “juices”), then add them to the broth along with the strips of lime rind. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, and simmer gently until the lemon grass changes color, and the stock becomes fragrant, about 5 minutes. Strain the stock and return to the saucepan. Discard the solids.

Return the stock to a simmer, and add the mushrooms and prawns. Cook until the prawns are pink. Stir in the fish sauce, lime juice, 2 tablespoons green onion, cilantro, and chili oil. Taste, and adjust seasoning if necessary. The soup should be sour, salty, spicy and hot. Garnish with remaining green onions. Serve with white rice on the side. Makes 4 servings.

Kabocha Squash, long Beans, 
and Shrimp in Coconut Milk
This is a multi-layered soup recipe that my Filipino friend Estella Ramos told me about. Coconut milk combined with sweet kabocha squash, shrimp and long beans make for a delicious main course or as an opener to a tropical meal. Be sure and suck the fat out of  the shrimp heads, sooo ono!

2 cups kabocha squash, pared, seeded and cut into 2-inch chunks
2 cups long beans, ends trimmed and cut into 3-inch lengths
1/2 pound large white shrimp (8 pieces), tendrils trimmed, leaving the heads on for sucking later
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 small onion, peeled and thinly sliced
2 cups coconut milk
1 pinch dried chili pepper
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
salt to taste

In a pot, heat oil over medium heat. Saute onions and garlic just until the onion gets transparent, but don't burn the garlic. Add fish sauce and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for about 1 to 2 minutes.

Pour in coconut milk and add a pinch of dried chili pepper. Bring to a simmer then lower heat and continue for about 5 to 6 minutes or until slightly reduced.

Add squash and cook for about 3 to 5 minutes. Add long beans and continue to cook for another 5 to 6 minutes. Add shrimp and continue to cook for about 4 to 5 minutes or until squash is softened, long beans are tender yet crisp and shrimps have changed color. Season with salt to taste. Makes 4 servings.

Sauteed Shrimp Salad 
with Avocado-lime Vinaigrette
Ingredients for shrimp:
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro leaves
2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 teaspoon salt

Procedure for shrimp:
In a medium bowl, combine 1/4 cup vegetable oil, lime zest, pepper, garlic, and cilantro. Add shrimp; cover, and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Remove shrimp from marinade; discard marinade. Season shrimp with salt. In a 12-inch saute pan over medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and saute half the shrimp. Cook 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until just cooked through. Remove from heat to a platter and cook remaining shrimp. Serve warm or cold with Avocado-Lime Vinaigrette drizzled on top. Makes 6 servings.

Avocado-lime Vinaigrette
Ingredients for avocado-lime vinaigrette:
1 ripe avocado
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves

Procedure for avocado-lime vinaigrette:
Peel, seed, and dice avocado and place in blender or food processor. Add garlic, salt, lime juice, water, vinegar, hot sauce, and cilantro leaves. With the machine running, slowly drizzle in oil until a creamy emulsion forms. Transfer vinaigrette to a small bowl or squeeze bottle. Use immediately or refrigerate for up to 2 days. Makes 6 servings.

Green Papaya Salad with Shrimp
Green Papaya Salad
click on photo to view larger
This salad is all about texture and the flavors of Southeast Asia where it is hugely popular. Green papaya salad is usually eaten with barbecue or grilled chicken and a portion of sticky rice. The dish is made from unripe green papaya, which has a firm white flesh and white seeds, and can sometimes be hard to find. If you are going to make it, look for rock-hard dark green papaya without a trace of pink or yellow blush on the outside. Normally this salad is made with a lot of hot chilies, but I prefer it with just one chili in the dressing.

Ingredients for dressing:
2 large garlic cloves, forced through a garlic press
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 1/2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce (preferably nuoc mam)
1/2 tablespoon white sugar
1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
1 small thin fresh red or green Asian chili (1 to 2 inches long) or serrano chili, or to taste, seeded and chopped fine (wear rubber gloves)

Ingredients for salad:
1/2 pound small shrimp, shelled
3/4 pound green papaya, peeled, seeded, and shredded, or julienned into 2-3 inch strips 1/8 inch thick, preferably in a food processor (about 3 cups)
1 carrot, julienned the same size as the green papaya
1/2 cup cut long beans - 1 1/2-inch-long segments (or substitute with regular green beans)
1 tomato, cut into bite-size wedges; or 10 cherry tomatoes, halved
1/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves, no stems, washed well and spun dry
4 tablespoons roasted peanuts, chopped
mint or Thai basil sprigs for garnish

In a large bowl whisk together dressing ingredients until sugar is dissolved, set aside.

In a small saucepan of boiling salted water cook shrimp 45 seconds to 1 minute, or until cooked through. In a colander drain shrimp and rinse under cold water to stop cooking. Halve shrimp horizontally. Add shrimp, papaya, carrot, beans, tomatoes, and cilantro to dressing, tossing well. Salad may be made 2 hours ahead and chilled, covered. Bring salad to room temperature before serving. Serve salad sprinkled with chopped peanuts, garnish with a sprig of mint and Thai basil. Makes 4-6 servings. Note: It is important to julienne the papaya, carrots and long beans as thin as possible, otherwise this salad can be a challenge on your jaws.

Hawaii Shrimp Stir-fry with Snow Peas 
Shiitake Mushrooms
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
8 ounces sliced Shiitake mushroom caps
8 ounces snow peas, strings removed
1 pound medium or large shrimp, peeled, deveined
2 scallions, white and light green parts, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper, optional
Cooked rice or rice noodles for serving, optional

In a small bowl, mix broth, soy sauce, ginger and cornstarch.

Warm oil in a large nonstick skillet or wok over medium-high heat until shimmering. Cook mushrooms, stirring, until their liquid has evaporated and they have browned, 6 to 10 minutes. Add snow peas; stir-fry until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Toss in shrimp and cook, stirring, until pink, 3 to 5 minutes. Add scallions; stir-fry 30 seconds more. Stir broth mixture; pour into pan. Stir-fry until shrimp are opaque and sauce has thickened slightly, approximately 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper and serve over rice or rice noodles, if desired. Makes 4 servings.

Black Wood Ear Mushroom Stir-fry
with Shrimp
1 ounce dried black wood ear mushrooms, rehydrated
2 tablespoons each of sesame and peanut oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 green onion, sliced
2 carrots, very thinly sliced
1/2 cup each green peas and bamboo shoots
3 tablespoons dry white wine
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon oyster sauce

Rinse the mushrooms thoroughly in cold water and then soak in warm water for 30 minutes. Dry the mushrooms and cut them thinly into strips. Heat sesame and peanut oils. Add garlic and ginger, stir over medium heat. Add shrimp, black wood ear mushrooms and green onion. Remove mixture when shrimp are opaque. Add the carrots, bamboo shoots, green peas and stir for a minute. Add wine, soy sauce and oyster sauce. Stir-fry for 2 minutes. Return shrimp mixture and heat through. Serve with bok choy with oyster sauce, and white rice. Makes 4 servings.

Steamed Shrimp & Pork Shumai
Shumai is spelled in different ways, but they are basically Chinese steamed dumplings that are commonly found in dim sum restaurants. You can purchase them frozen here on Moloka'i, but homemade is much better. The mixed ingredients are put into a round wonton wrapper, one teaspoon at a time. The wonton wrapper is then pinched around the filling and garnished with a single green pea on top, or whatever you like, then steamed in an Asian bamboo steamer. Easy to make and delicious served as a pupu for a party, or featured as a main course!

2 dried shitake mushrooms, rehydrated and minced
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
1 dozen medium sized shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 pound ground pork
1 large clove of garlic, minced
1 large green onion, minced

about 30 large frozen green peas for garnish (see note below)

1 large egg, blended
about 30 wonton wrappers, (round)

Soak dried mushrooms for 1/2 hour to rehydrate. Meanwhile, mix soy sauce, sesame oil, oyster sauce, sugar, salt & pepper and ginger in a medium sized bowl. Separate 5 shrimp from the 12. Roughly chop the 5 shrimp and mince the rest. Add all of the shrimp to the bowl with the ground pork, garlic, and green onions. Mix everything together with your hand until blended. Cover and refrigerate for 1/2 hour.

When ready to assemble, stir egg together in a small bowl with a fork. With a basting brush, brush some of the egg mixture on top of a wonton (this will insure that the wonton sticks together while steaming). Make a circle with your fingers by touching the tips of your thumb and first finger together. Place a egg coated wonton wrapper on top of the circle and gently press the wrapper into the circle, making a small cup. While still holding the wonton in your fingers, with your other hand, place 1 rounded teaspoon of the pork/shrimp mixture into the center of the wonton. Now pinch the wonton together around the mixture, leaving the top open, and press the mixture into the wonton cup. Flatten the bottom of the shumai on the kitchen counter so that it sits flat. Place a single pea in the center of the shrimp/pork mixture for garnish. Repeat this process until the shrimp/pork mixture is gone. Place the uncooked shumai in the steamer, and steam for 15 to 20 minutes. Serve with a soy sauce dipping sauce with a little sesame oil and a squeeze of lime juice. Put in a drop or two of chili oil if you like it spicy. Makes about 30 shumai.

Note: If you can't find the round wonton wrappers, use the square ones and cut the corners off. I use a bamboo steamer and put parchment paper in the bottom so the shumai don't stick to the steamer. Leave room for the steam to come up around the paper. Instead of a pea for garnish you can blanch a carrot and chop it up and place a few pieces on top, or you can garnish each shumai with a cilantro leaf.

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