Although not a traditional Dominican recipe, Shrimp with Coconut and Ginger Sauce is inspired by the traditional cuisine from Samana. We love it.
A few weeks ago 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. In a roundabout way, that was the origin story of this Shrimp with Coconut and Ginger Sauce recipe.
Some of the people who attended were friends and readers of our sites. At the end of the discussion I was able to speak one-on-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.
This is a dish that is inspired by 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 countless coconut groves that extend as far as the eye can see all over the area.
About this recipe
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, save for 2 or 3 extra ingredients.
I invite you to try this amazing dish, and find out why I love it so much.
Shrimp with Coconut and Ginger Sauce Recipe
- 2 ½ tablespoons ginger paste [33 g] (see notes)
- ½ teaspoon coarse sea salt
- 1 red bell pepper , chopped
- ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
- A few sprigs of cilantro
- 3 cloves garlic (3 large or 6 small), peeled
- 1 tablespoons coconut oil
- ½ cup freshly-grated coconut
- 1 ½ teaspoon bija (anatto) powder
- 2 ½ cups coconut milk
- 1 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon lime juice (limón in the DR)
- ½ cup of water
- 2 lb raw shrimp [880 g], peeled and deveined
- 1 teaspoon salt (may not be used)
Make seasoning: Put the ginger paste, coarse sea salt, bell pepper, pepper, cilantro, and garlic in a mortar and pestle, crush until you obtain a coarse paste (see picture).
Toast coconut: Heat the oil in a heavy saucepan over medium fire. Add the ground coconut, stir constantly until it gets to a light golden color. Be careful that it doesn't burn.
Cook seasoning: Add the seasoning, and cook and stir until the seasonings start to release their fragrance (1 to 2 minutes). Add the bija (anato) powder and mix it well.
Simmer: 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)
Make thickener: Dissolve the cornstarch and lime juice in the water. Add to the boiling sauce and stir until it is mixed completely.
Cook shrimp: Stir in the shrimp. Cover with a lid and simmer over medium-low heat for about 3 minutes, turn the shrimp, and simmer another 3 minutes, or until they turn a bright pink color. Season with salt to taste. Remove from the heat.