I’ll tell you about this scrumptious shrimp in coconut sauce in a second, but first a story.
A few weeks back Aunt Ilana and I were invited by the Ministry of Culture to participate in an exchange with the public about traditional Dominican cooking. It turned out to be a fantastic experience.
Some of the people who attended were friends and readers of our sites. At the end of the conference I was able to speak one to one with a few of the people. One of the most interesting conversations was with Marnely from the blog Cooking with Books, it was about “Dominican fusion” cuisine and how to define it.
Even before our sites switched formats and designs a few months ago, it wasn’t rare for us to share recipes that although not part of the traditional Dominican repertoire, are inspired by our cuisine and in which we used ingredients that are easy to find in our country. In changing this new format I decided it was time to share more of these creations of ours. This is one of them.
This is a dish that is inspired in the flavors and products of the beautiful Samana peninsula. One of the main characteristics of the cuisine from Samana is the use of coconut in several dishes. A visit to Samana will make it evident why this is a popular ingredient in its cuisine: there are many coconut groves that extend as far as the eye can see throughout the area.
A couple of months ago Aunt Ilana, who used to spend a lot of time in Samana years ago, went back for a visit. After that she wrote an article about the “green” ginger plantations in Samana. It occurred to me that ginger, seafood and coconut go perfectly together; I have to say that this dish has become a new classic in our home.
Although this is not a traditional Dominican recipe it is inspired by a classic dish from Samana: pescado con coco. In fact there are very few changes to the recipe, except for the use of shrimps and adding ginger to it. I invite you to try it, you will find out why it has become a classic in our home.
- 3 doz jumbo shrimps, peeled and deveined
- 2 cups coconut milk
- 1/2 cups coconut shavings
- 1 pepper cut into cubes
- 2 tablespoons ginger paste*
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 teaspoon bija (anatto) powder
- 1 tablespoon lime juice (limón in the DR)
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1 tablespoons cilantro, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1 tablespoons corn starch
- 1 tablespoons oil
- Put the ginger paste, salt, pepper, cilantro, and garlic in a mortar and pestle, crush until you obtain a coarse paste (see picture).
- Heat the oil in a heavy saucepan over medium fire.
- Lower the heat to the lowest setting and add the coconut shavings, stir constantly until they become light golden. Make sure they don't burn.
- Add the ginger paste. and cook and stir for about 3 minutes.
- Add the bija (anato) powder and mix well.
- Add the coconut milk, stir and cook over low heat for about 5 minutes (stir once or twice to prevent it from sticking to the bottom and burning)
- Dissolve the corn starch and lime juice in half a cup of water. Add to the boiling sauce and stir until it is mixed completely.
- Add the shrimps. Cover with a lid and cook for about 3 minutes.
- Remove the saucepan from the fire and let it rest for 15 minutes.
- Taste the sauce and add more salt if necessary. Return to medium heat until it breaks the boil.
- Remove from the heat.
- Serve with arroz blanco, tostones o pan de coco.
To make the ginger paste peel and wash a large ginger root, and blend in a food processor. If you don't have a food processor, use a mortar and pestle.