What inspires my cooking? How do I come up with ideas for recipes? Usually it's a) whatever's on sale or b) whatever I'm craving from a recent travel destination. Let me take you through my real-life creative cooking process: On a lazy Sunday afternoon I thought about grilling and decided to check my Whole Foods app to see what fish or meat might be on sale, and I saw that shrimp was on sale for $10 a pound (this is pretty good for large shrimp). I thought about grilling them for a moment...and then my taste buds flashed back to this amazing shrimp dish we had a few times on our Ecuador trip. It was slightly spicy, rich, flavorful, and it was served with plain white rice , plantains, avocado, and Ecuador's famous aji sauce. Before I knew it I found myself in Whole Foods trying to reverse engineer the recipe. In addition to the shrimp being on sale, I saw they'd put out seasonal fresh pineapple and mango salsa and thought it'd make the perfect acidic relish to a rich shrimp dish. There you go. That is my creative process when it comes to food. Cravings-based, scatterbrained, and frugal! While it's not perfect and nothing near the original, it'll give you a taste of Ecuador. Unfortunate you'll need to visit to get the real thang. Enjoy this recipe and the subsequent leftovers.

Serves: 2-3

Total prep and cook time: 45 minutes

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pound shrimp 🍤
  • 1 small lime
  • 1 tablespoon minced or paste garlic
  • 1 teaspoon aji (Orange/yellow chili powder)
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 can light coconut milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup jasmine rice 🍚

(Garnish/Fancy Stuff)

  • 1 leftover lime
  • 1 avocado for garnish
  • 1 bunch cilantro for garnish
  • Pineapple/mango salsa (from Whole Foods)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Peel, tail, and de-vein the shrimp.
  2. In a medium pot, start the rice. Cook rice on medium high in 1 cup of water and 1/2 the can of coconut milk.
  3. In a large bowl, pour the other half of the can and mix with the shrimp.
  4. Carefully stir in cilantro, garlic, aji, paprika, chili powder, salt, pepper, and squeeze in the juice of a lime. Make sure the shrimp are well coated.
  5. Once the rice starts boiling, turn down to low and cover.
  6. In a large greased cast iron or non-stick pan, cook the shrimp mixture on medium high for about 5 minutes. Turn the heat down low after 5 minutes to simmer so the shrimp don't become tough and chewy.
  7. Fluff the rice once it appears done.
  8. Serve and garnish rice with cilantro and sliced avocado. Serve with aji sauce (or hot sauce) and pineapple/mango salsa.

 

 

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