Shrimp-Mango Stir-Fry

Shrimp-Mango Stir-Fry

Shrimp-Mango Stir-Fry

Every time I make an Asian-inspired meal from Cooking Light, I wonder if this will be the one that’s a bit off, the one that doesn’t quite come together.  And without fail we sit down to something fabulous, in a way I hadn’t ever considered before.   By now I should know better, the folks who design recipes at Cooking Light magazine seem to always get it right.

This one was no different.  It looks like a very simple shrimp stir-fry with noodles, and it is really, but mango?  with shrimp?  Yes, yes, and yes!  Add some sliced peppers and onion, plus ginger and I find it hard to describe the complexity and absolute deliciousness of this dish.  I swear it’s the ginger that brings it all together, so please don’t leave it out.

Shrimp-ly Delicious!

Shrimp-ly Delicious!

This recipe is meant to serve four, but two of us ate it all, with no regrets.  It’s that good!!

The other good thing about it is that it can be made quickly like most other stir-frys.  Slice, chop, measure and mix all the ingredients in advance and once you turn on the burner, cooking commences and it’s done in a flash.

SHRIMP-MANGO STIR-FRY

Yield:   serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 5 ounces uncooked rice noodles, or soba noodles

    A diverse mix of ingredients!

    A diverse mix of ingredients!

  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 4 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 12 ounces large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil, divided
  • 1 cup sliced yellow onion
  • 1 cup sliced red bell pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 cup cubed peeled ripe mango
  • 1/2 cup torn fresh basil leaves
Slice, chop, measure and mix before starting to cook.

Slice, chop, measure and mix before starting to cook.

Directions:

1.  Prepare noodles according to package directions.  Drain.

2.  Combine 3 tablespoons water and next 4 ingredients (through cornstarch) in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk.  Set aside.

3.  Combine red pepper, black pepper, and shrimp in a medium bowl; toss to coat.

4.  Heat a wok or a large skillet over high heat.  Add  1 1/2 teaspoons oil to pan; swirl to coat.  Add shrimp mixture; cook 3 minutes or until shrimp are almost done, turning once.  Remove shrimp mixture from pan.IMG_7695

5.  Add remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil to pan; swirl to coat.  Add onion, bell  pepper, and ginger; cook 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Return shrimp mixture and juice mixture to pan.

IMG_7697

Add mango; cook 1 minute or until liquid thickens slightly and shrimp are done.

Add mango last.

Add mango last.

 

Sprinkle with basil.  Serve over noodles.  (I mixed mine right in with the shrimp mixture.)

Sprinkle torn basil on top.

Sprinkle torn basil on top.

 

I can't believe we ate the whole thing!!

I can’t believe we ate the whole thing!!

 

SOURCE:  Cooking Light Magazine

Advertisements

Ginger Snaps

Ginger Snaps

Ginger Snaps

Ginger is always a must in my Christmas baking.  Sometimes it appears in more than one item.  Since I’m keeping it simple this year I settled on ginger snaps for my ginger fix instead of anything more elaborate.

I can remember making these cookies with my mother when I was young and just wanting to help in the kitchen.  I always had the sense of excitement and anticipation when my mother was baking, so that is where I wanted to be also.  Often my job was “prepping”, i.e., chopping nuts, or fruits, or in this case cutting up the candied ginger.  I never minded this because, you know, I got to taste everything in advance.  That’s how I come by my love of candied ginger, and to this day I still have to eat a piece or two while I’m cutting it up.

IMG_5915

If store-bought ginger snaps are the only kind you have ever had then you will be very surprised by these.  They are not in the least bit dry, or crunchy.    You won’t need to dunk them into coffee or milk to soften them up.  They are kind of hard to describe;  a little crispy at the edges, but still soft and chewy inside.  Spicy and gingery, but not overly so–just a good blend of spices.  The outside is sugary, because  you form the dough into balls and roll in sugar.  Everything is better with a little sparkle, right?

These are great for gifting or make a fabulous go-along for your cup of coffee, tea, or hot cocoa.  I hope you love them as much as I do!

IMG_5923

GINGER SNAPS

Yield:   about 3 dozen

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup finely diced crystalized ginger (optional)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 – 1 cup coarse/sparkling sugar

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 325*F.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.  In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and salt.  Whisk to blend.  Stir in the ginger if using.

2.In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the oil, sugar, molasses and the whole egg.  Mix on medium speed until well combines.  With the mixer on low speed, mix in the dry ingredients just until incorporated and a dough forms.

3.  Shape small portions (about 1 Tbsp) into 1 to 1 1/2-inch balls.   Place the sparkling sugar in a small dish, and roll each ball of dough in the sugar so that it is covered in an even layer.  Repeat with the remaining dough balls.

Roll dough balls in sugar.

Roll dough balls in sugar.

4.  Place the coated balls on the prepared baking sheets about 2 to 3 inches apart.  Bake,  just until the tops of the cookies are set and beginning to crack, about 15 – 17 minutes.  Let cool on the baking sheets a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  Store in an airtight container in a cool place.

Cooling after baking.

Cooling after baking.

IMG_5921

IMG_5922

Note:  The cookies will become more firm as they cool, but if you prefer a softer cookie for eating, warm in the microwave for 10 seconds.

SOURCE:  my mom’s recipe box

Ginger, a Powerhouse in Your Pantry

As many of you know by now I really like the flavor of ginger and I use it often but mostly in baked goods.  Ginger, however, comes in many forms and has many uses, so I decided to do a little reading about this interesting spice and was amazed to find out how widely used it is and for so many different reasons.

Fresh ginger:  a knobby, fleshy, root.

Fresh ginger: a knobby, fleshy, root.

Ginger is a rhizome,  the part of the plant that grows underground.  It has a pale yellow-ivory flesh that is pungent, peppery, and sometimes a little sweet.  The outside is covered with a thin tan skin, that is usually peeled away for most recipes.  When fresh ginger is called for in a recipe, this is what you use.  Ground ginger, mostly used in baking, has a very different flavor, so don’t substitute one for the other.

Ground ginger, a sweet-hot, peppery powder.

Ground ginger, a sweet-hot, peppery powder.

The history of ginger goes back over 5000 years when ancient Chinese herbalists first used it’s root as a digestive and remedy for countless ailments.   Since that time consuming ginger as a natural remedy has endured up to the present time.   Since antiquity, the tropical areas of China have successfully grown ginger.  Today, China follows India as the world’s second largest ginger producer.  Approximately two- thirds of all Chinese herbal medicines contain ginger as a key component.

As the world’s top ginger producing country, India cultivates ginger as both a vegetable and as a dried spice.  Mostly used in lentil-based curries and vegetable dishes, ginger was also used to spice coffee, especially in the winter to help warm the internal organs and enhance digestion.

Indonesia is another country where ginger is grown widely and stands in the third spot of ginger-producing countries.  Indonesia has attracted spice traders throughout history, and with its tropical islands location and weather it is well known for its production of many spices, i.e. nutmeg/mace, cloves, galangal are all native to Indonesia.  You are probably aware that Indonesia also has thriving sugar cane and coffee industries.  One of the more interesting Indonesian coffee facts is the country’s common use of ginger in coffee drinks to ward off colds and fevers.  Most restaurants in Indonesia offer a sizable list of coffee-ginger drink options.  To make your own version of this drink, melt a few pieces of crystalized ginger in a cup of hot coffee.

Coffee with ginger, a warming drink.

Coffee with ginger, a warming drink.

Indonesia is also home to ginger candy.  Indonesian candy makers produce multiple varieties of candy made with fresh ginger and other natural flavors, such as coffee and peanut.  One such candy variety that I have received as a gift is called GinGins.  There are two varieties; one kind are small hard candies strongly flavored with ginger, the other kind are chewy, and also strongly ginger flavored.  Many people travel with ginger candy using it to ward off travel sickness, because it is believed to settle the stomach, and thus aid in digestion.

The hard candy variety.

The hard candy variety.

The chewy variety.

The chewy variety.

Each country has its own interpretation of how to use ginger.  Throughout Asia, ginger is used in many different ways.  In Japan ginger is traditionally served freshly grated or pickled and served with sushi to cleanse the palate between tasting different types of fish.  Ginger clarifies and heightens the flavor of all foods it is paired with, particularly fish.  Pickled ginger (Gari) is made in Japan by preserving the root in rice vinegar brine. Used in this way it is either thinly sliced or grated and often artificially colored pink using natural materials, such as flowers or beet juice.  Medicinally, ginger is used in Japan as the active compound in hot compresses to ease joint pain and  increase circulation.

Here are two recipes that I found in the Food Network Magazine.    They give you the opportunity to include ginger in your everyday meals:

Ginger Dipping Sauce

Mix 2 Tablespoons each grated ginger, finely chopped ginger, and chopped scallions in a small bowl.  Add 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon white pepper.  Heat 3 Tablespoons vegetable oil in a small saucepan until smoking; pour over the ginger mixture and stir.  Add a splash of water if the sauce is too thick.  Season with salt.  Serve this dipping sauce with roast chicken or grilled meats.

Pickled Ginger

Peel and thinly slice a 4-inch piece of ginger; put in a small jar.  Pierce 1 or 2 Thai chilies with the tip of a knife;  add to the jar.  Bring 1/2 cup each rice vinegar and water, 2 Tablespoons sugar, 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 2 star anise pods to a simmer n a saucepan;  cook 5 minutes, then pour over the ginger and let cool slightly.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.  Will keep up to 2 weeks.  Can be used as a condiment or topping on burgers, hot dogs, or sandwiches.

Ginger has both antioxidant and anti-inflamatory properties.  During this cold season, ginger may be used to boost immunity, or if you are already in the clutches of a winter cold, then ginger can be taken to relieve many of its symptoms.  Where colds are concerned, the active components in ginger that are helpful are the volatile  oils and pungent phenol compounds.  These elements are believed to have natural healing properties that may help reduce cold symptoms.

Here’s how it works:

  • Warming properties in ginger act as an expectorant, helping to clear nasal passages.
  • Ginger also contains antipyretic properties, an agent that helps reduce fever.
  • Ginger’s natural anti-inflammatory elements help relieve sore throats.
  • Ginger is anti-fungal, meaning that it inhibits the growth of yeasts and molds.
  • As an antitussive, ginger is a cough reliever.

Some ways to take ginger if you have a cold:

1.  Make a ginger soother;  steep a piece of fresh ginger in boiling water with a tea bag;  add honey and lemon.  Drink hot for added comfort.  This is also a good remedy for an upset stomach.

2.  Melt 1 – 2  hard ginger candies or generous piece of crystalized ginger in a cup of boiling water.  Let steep to desired strength, and drink while hot.

3.  Ginger Tea:  Bring 8 cups of water and 1 cup thinly sliced ginger to a simmer until reduced to about 5 cups ( takes about 25 minutes).  Sweeten with 1/4 cup honey, strain and pour into a mug (s).  This tea is great also as iced tea.  Chill first and serve on the rocks.

How much ginger to take and in what form can be confusing.  Remember this:  fresh ginger preparations (ginger juice, minced fresh ginger, for example), are stronger in concentration than ginger found in supplement form.   Most pill forms of ginger may only contain isolated compounds in ginger, whereas  fresh versions contain all compounds found naturally in the ginger rhizome.

My research on this subject has enlightened me to the fact that ginger is available in more forms than I was previously familiar with. The best place to purchase it is at natural food stores, where such items as beverages, candies, condiments of pickled ginger, cooking sauces, and crystalized as well as ground ginger are widely available.

Ginger juice, Ginger soy sauce, minced ginger all readily available for cooking.

Ginger juice, Ginger soy sauce, minced ginger all readily available for cooking.

Be adventurous and try the many useful and beneficial ways of using this versatile spice.  A powerhouse in your pantry!

Lemon Ginger Scones

The first time I had a piece of crystalized ginger, I immediately loved it;  my imagination went a little wild as I thought of all the ways I could use it.  Since then I’ve experimented with putting it in a variety of baked goods.  I found out that it likes being “center stage”, without a lot of other ingredients to compete with.  That way you get the full impact of its gingery, spicy, sweetness.  This recipe for scones with lemon and candied or crystalized ginger is a great example of that.  It’s one of my favorites—I hope you like it too.

LEMON GINGER SCONES

Makes 6 large or 12 small scones

 Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup cold butter
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1/2 cup chopped crystalized ginger
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk
  • egg wash and turbinado sugar for tops

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Lightly grease baking sheet or line with parchment paper.

Mix all dry ingredients together ( flour through salt) with a whisk.  Cut in cold butter with pastry cutter or two knives.  Stir in lemon zest and chopped ginger. Add buttermilk.  Stir just to moisten.

Turn out onto lightly floured board and knead gently to unify. With hands form into a disc about  7 inches round by 1 1/2 inches thick.

Cut into 6 large or 12 small triangles, and place on prepared baking sheet.  Brush tops with egg wash ( I use a little Egg Beaters) and sprinkle with coarse sugar.  Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick tests clean.

Serve warm with jam.  I particularly like blackberry jam that I make in the summer when blackberry season comes around.  I’ll save that story or another day!

SOURCE;    A  Carolyn Original