It's time once again for the Secret Recipe Club. Today I'll be outing my secret. Sounds dramatic, huh? After holding it in for a month, I finally get to reveal my new blog crush, Inquiring Chef!
As always, I could not wait to start my assignment and I quickly delved into her recipe index. I'm very thorough when I make my selection because I have to make sure I'm choosing the perfect one for me. That means I read through EVERY single recipe! I'm not looking forward to the day that I'm assigned a blog with thousands of recipes. Who am I kidding, I'm always up for a good challenge.
Being rather indecisive makes selecting just one recipe a little challenging. I swear I don't remember always being this indecisive but as of late, I can't seem to make a single decision on my own! Well to add to it, I literally wanted to make every recipe I came across on the Inquiring Chef's site. Maybe I was hungry, maybe her pictures lured me in, or maybe I've just been having a hankering for Asian-inspired food. You see, Jessica was has been in Bangkok for about 2 years (I think she's home now) and has been inspired by the culture around her. If her recipes are any indication of the food scene in Bangkok, sign me up! The flavors, the produce, the varieties are just endless.
I bookmarked no less than 10 of her recipes in a matter of minutes. I know you'll be surprised to hear that I passed up her Pumpkin Chocolate Cookies! It was hard but when you see all the rest of her recipes, you'll understand. Once again, I chose 2 recipes to try. The first, and the one I'm entering this month, is her Thai Shrimp Bites with Peanut-Lime Dipping Sauce. Holy wow! These little gems were de-lightful! Wes, my mom, and I could not keep our paws off of these. Thankfully we had around 30 to share between us and we easily could have gobbled them all up in one sitting. They had so much flavor on their own but the dipping sauce amped it up even more. Wes couldn't say enough about them. I'm already thinking of new additions to change them up next go-round. And there will be a next go-round!
Thai Shrimp Bites with Peanut-Lime Dipping Sauce
by: Inquiring Chef
for the sauce:
1 cup (235 mL) coconut milk
1/3 cup roasted peanuts (unsalted), roughly chopped
2 tsp. light brown sugar
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
juice from 1/2 lime
1/4 cup cilantro leaves
1 tsp. siracha (more or less, to taste)
for the bites:
1 Tbsp. roasted peanuts (unsalted)
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/4 cup cilantro leaves
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
3/4 pound (340 g) raw shrimp, peeled and de-veined (I used precooked)
24 wonton wrappers (I think I got more like 30)
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
Make the sauce. Combine coconut milk and peanuts in a small saucepan over medium heat. When the coconut milk begins to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, until thickens slightly (mine never really got thick, so I just cooked it for about 7 minutes). Pour coconut milk into the bowl of a blender or food processor. Add remaining ingredients and pulse until mixture is smooth and creamy. Pour the sauce into a small bowl and leave the blender out to use for the filling.
Combine the filling. In the bowl of a food processor or blender, pulse the peanuts and garlic until they form a paste. Add green onions, cilantro leaves, soy sauce, and shrimp, pulsing until only very small pieces of shrimp remain and the ingredients are evenly incorporated. Transfer the mixture to a small bowl.
Assemble the bites. Working with one wonton wrapper at a time, place a heaping teaspoon of shrimp filling into the center. Dampen the edges of the wrapper by dipping a finger in water and running it along the edge. Gather the wonton wrapper at four points, pressing them together to enclose the filling. Put the filled wrappers on parchment paper and cover with a slightly dampened paper towel (to prevent them from drying out).
Cook the bites. Place a large saute pan (that has a tight-fitting lid) over medium-high heat. Add vegetable oil, swirling it to evenly coat the bottom of the pan. When the pan is warm, place the shrimp bites in the pan, close to one another, but barely touching. Cook until the bottoms of the bites are crisp and golden brown, 5-6 minutes. Gently pour 1 Tablespoon of water down side of pan and cover with the lid. Reduce heat to medium and allow to cook, covered, for another 3 minutes. Remove from heat.
Serve immediately, with Peanut-Lime Sauce on the side.
Make Ahead. The sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a day before serving. It will need to be gently heated in the microwave or on the stove in order to return to a smooth consistency for serving. I did make mine a day ahead but did not reheat it the next day, I just served it cold. It was still just as tasty!
The bites can be assembled up to four hours before cooking. Store them in the refrigerator on parchment paper that has been lightly sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Cover them with slightly dampened paper towels to prevent them from drying out.
I also tried her Salmon Tacos Avocado Salsa and Cilantro-Orange Slaw. As many times as I've made fish tacos, the thought never occurred to me to use salmon as the fish! The lightbulb went off when I saw Jessica's recipe and it was a delicious combination. I think I might actually prefer the salmon to plain white fish because it packs more flavor and add a little more meatiness to the tacos. I did jazz up her the salsa a bit by adding a little cumin and chili powder but that's a personal preference when it comes to guacamole inspired things. I also let the slaw marinate overnight to allow the flavors to soak up a bit more. Overall, a great recipe that we'll surely be repeating.