Oh, the Polar Vortex. I feel like Scrat from Ice Age. I wish the ice would crack beneath me so that I may travel in a bug-eyed freefall to the other side of the earth, clutching an acorn, or in my case, maybe a loaf of bread. The equator would be a nice alternative to Minnesota, today. Our high will be -3. When it gets really cold like this, I resort to making spicy food—tropical dishes. This one I sought out from Thailand. The bright colors alone temporarily converted my current igloo dwelling into a grass hut on the beach.
Thai Coconut Shrimp
1 c. brown rice
2 c. water
1 tbsp sunflower oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tbsp grated fresh gingerroot
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 serrano pepper, stemmed and minced (seeds removed for mildness or left in for heat)
4 tsp curry powder (which I made from scratch using 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp chili powder, 1 tsp coriander, 1 tsp turmeric and a pinch of cardamom and nutmeg)
1 large sweet potato (about 1 pound), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 1/2 c. vegetable stock
3/4 c. coconut milk
1 pound (16- to 20-ct) raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 medium red bell pepper, seeded and cut into strips
1/2 c. frozen sweet peas
Fresh cilantro, for topping
Prepare rice according to package directions using 2 cups water.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion; cook about 3 minutes or until it begins to soften. Stir in gingerroot, garlic and serrano pepper; cook and stir for 1 minute.
Add curry powder; cook and stir 30 seconds. Stir in sweet potato cubes, vegetable stock and coconut milk; bring to boiling. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and cook 10 minutes.
Stir in shrimp; cook, uncovered, for about 3 to 4 minutes or just until shrimp turn pink. Stir in red pepper strips and peas.
To serve, heat through. Serve curry over rice. Garnish with cilantro.
To freeze for later, remove curry mixture from heat; cool rice and curry mixture. Pour into separate freezer bags. Seal, label and freeze up to 3 months. Thaw curry and rice in refrigerator for 24 to 36 hours. Reheat curry in a large skillet and rice, covered, in a microwave-safe bowl. Serve as above.
I suggest putting on a bikini, steaming up the bathroom with a running shower for 30 minutes, and then sitting in the bathtub with this dish and a drink with an umbrella (even if you go for a glass of milk–the umbrella and a margherita glass can still work the placebo magic.) Be sure to wash your hands after touching the serrano pepper (obviously). I totally forgot and later, while enjoying a bowl of this delicious dinner and watching a movie on the couch next to KP, scratched my eye and then rubbed my nose—setting both on fire. Which, admittedly, is preferable to numb.