This Creamy Coconut Cracked Corn with Spicy Shrimp will be our last non-summer recipe.
If you’ve been around for a while you’ll have probably noticed that for most of the summer we stick to summer-friendly recipes: Recipes that require only short cooking times, or even no cooking time at all, popsicles and ice cream, recipes that can be served at room temperature, and lots of salads.
I’m looking forward to that.
I’ve been working on this recipe for a while, and I didn’t want to have to wait until after summer to post it. You really need to try this ASAP.
We do have a recipe for the traditional southern Dominican Chenchén, a rice-like dish prepared with cracked corn, with grains about the same size as couscous. Every element in this dish can be traced directly back to traditional Dominican cuisine, but this one has a twist; it was also loosely inspired by Southern US cuisine, in a dish vaguely resembling grits. I said vaguely, you’d do well to keep that in mind.
I absolutely loved the result, and will be definitely be cooking it often, once the heat has abated. The result is a dish with very strong flavors, contrasting textures, and fairly easy to make.
Try it and let me know how you like it.
- 1 cup chenchén (cracked corn)
- 3 cups of water + 4 tablespoons of water , divided
- 4 tablespoons of coconut oil , divided
- 3 tablespoons of bija (annatto) seeds
- 2 cups coconut milk
- 2 teaspoons of salt (or more, to taste), divided
- 4 cloves of garlic , crushed
- 1 cubanela pepper , minced finely (I used a red one)
- 1 habanero pepper , minced finely (see notes)
- 2 doz uncooked peeled jumbo shrimp
- 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley
- 4 lime wedges (optional)
Rehydrate the corn: Mix corn and 3 cups of water and let it rest overnight in the fridge.
Coloring the oil: In a skillet, heat half the oil over very low heat. Stir in the annatto. Cook for 4 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds. Remove the annatto seeds from the skillet and discard.
Cook the corn: Add corn (and the water it soaked in) to the oil. Add in coconut milk and half the salt. Increase heat to low and cook stirring until it breaks the boil. Simmer covered, and stir often to prevent it from sticking to the skillet. Once it's thick and cooked-through (about 10-15 minutes), taste and season with more salt to taste if needed, remove from the stove.
Sautée shrimps: Heat the remaining oil in a pan over very low heat. Add garlic, cubanela and habanero to the oil, cook stirring occasionally until the pepper is cooked through, taking care that it does not burn. Stir in the shrimp, parsley and remaining water, and cook until the shrimp has turned pink.
Serve: Serve the corn in individual bowls, serve the shrimp on the corn, and accompany with slices of chilled avocado and garnish with lime wedges.
Habaneros are fairly spicy, so how spicy you want this dish will depend entirely on you. I can tolerate very spicy food, so I may use a whole one, you should start with a quarter, and add more until you find your comfort level. Discard the seeds if you want it even less spicy.