Cajun Spiced Shrimp

 

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Picture this –  You’ve had a really tiring day at work. You get home, your gigantic bag weighing you down as you climb the stairs to your front door. As you’re working the door-lock, a glint of happiness springs up within you; you’re going to be among your family in just a minute. But you walk in, and something else greets you. A sweet, yet piquant aroma caresses your senses and enfolds you; instantly your stomach rumbles in response. (How could you forget about that poor tummy? Hear it cry?!) You know you should be kicking off your shoes before you enter the kitchen, but your can’t wait; you rush to the counter and lift the lids off the dishes. There, lying in front of you, in its gorgeous flaming-red glory, is a wok full of Cajun Spiced Shrimp, a bowl of Aromatic Rice and a side of crispy Asparagus tossed in olive oil. Yeap, when such meals await you after long days, you’ve got to know that your family is the best!

Seafood is one of those delights in the world which is unmatched. No matter which way it is cooked, there is always something exotic about it. The array of beautiful flavors and textures that one has the privilege of experiencing when they are gorging on a delectable seafood dish is astonishing.

While seafood has always been close to my heart, experimenting with different ingredients and styles of cooking seafood has become a new-found obsession. I’m a huge fan of shrimp and prawns; so much so that I can’t stop surfing the internet, borrowing recipes from different cuisines. (Told you, I’m obsessed!) There have been a few times prior when my experiments with cooking prawns and shrimp have turned out fabulously. But I must say, that by far, Cajun Spiced Shrimp is my favorite shrimp dish ever! (I know I say that every time I post a new shrimp recipe, but hey, I can’t help it, things just keep getting better in my kitchen!) :/

IMG_4245This is what you need:

  • Shrimps – 500 g, peeled and cleaned
  • Olive Oil – 1/3 cup + more for frying
  • Cajun Seasoning – 4 tbsp
  • Lemon Juice – 4 tbsp
  • Cilantro / Coriander – a big bunch, washed and chopped finely
  • Soy Sauce – 3 tbsp
  • Fish Sauce – 2 tsp
  • Red Chili Powder – to taste
  • Dark Brown Sugar – 3 tbsp
  • Onions – 2, chopped
  • Basmati Rice – 2 cups
  • Cloves – a few twigs
  • Clarified Butter / Ghee – 3 tbsp
  • Salt – to taste
  • Baby Asparagus – a few stalks, cleaned and peeled

Here’s what you need to do:

  • In a large bowl, combine olive oil, Cajun seasoning, lemon juice, half of the quantity of chopped coriander, soy sauce, fish sauce, red chili powder and brown sugar to make a marinade. Marinate the shrimp with the same and keep aside.
  • Heat a dash of oil in a large skillet and sautee onions until they are golden and caramelized.
  • Add in the marinated shrimp and cook for five to six minutes or until the shrimp are cooked through. Add the salt and allow it to simmer for a minute. Turn off the heat and garnish with the remaining chopped coriander.
  • In a large utensil, fry the cloves in hot clarified butter. Add in the rice and fry for about two minutes. Add 4 cups of water and allow to cook.
  • In a shallow pan, heat some olive oil and toss the baby asparagus in it for about four to eight minutes or until the asparagus are tender from the inside and crispy from the outside.
  • Serve warm.

As you can see, this dish is super easy, requires commonly available ingredients and can be put together in a little bit. That’s one of the things I love most about it; you have this amazingly delectable dish on your table in under half an hour – just perfect for a week night meal.

While you begin putting together this delicacy, you don’t know what you’re in for. But as the cooking begins and the aromas of each ingredient come together in a divine amalgamation and as the fragrance envelops you, you just know that you’re going to be in for one of the best homemade meals of your life. Cajun Spiced Shrimp is simple yet sublime – the shrimp is soft and creamy, perfectly spiced with the smokey heat of the Cajun seasoning and red chili powder. The gravy is sweet, zesty and pleasantly pungent all at the same time – the caramelized onions lend oodles of crunch and sweetness to the dish while the coriander brings out a unique crisp freshness that is more than welcome! The heat in the clove-spiced rice only serves to bring out the flavor of the Cajun Spiced Shrimp while the crispy asparagus adds the much needed munch and bite. The entire experience in purely ambrosial!

This dish was a huge hit with the family. Mom and Dad were delighted – dad loves anything with shrimp or prawns in it, so he enjoyed every morsel. The boyfriend was super excited from the minute he entered the kitchen; he couldn’t stop himself, the minute he was served, he just had to taste it! He relished every bite with a smile plastered across his face throughout. (I’m not kidding!) What was my reaction to this dish – it was the most heavenly shrimp dish I’ve ever eaten!

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Try it out, and you’ll know just why I’m raving on and on! 😀

 

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