Cooking has been a challenge as of late. You see while we have been trying to sort ourselves out in the UAE (finding a home, getting the proper documents, and sorting out the right roads to take since many have two or three names) our stuff has been taking a slow journey from Boston to Abu Dhabi. Very slow. It left in early June, so by the time it arrives it will be close to 8 weeks. In our shipping crate rests some of our most precious items: a Breville Juicer, knives or all lengths and widths, chocolate molds, cast iron pans, Le Creuset pots, whisks, wooden spoons, candy thermometers, cannelle molds, cookbooks, baking sheets, silverware, coffee mugs, glasses, and the list goes on and on and on.
Because we hope that it will all arrive safely we have been very careful with regard to what we are now purchasing. We have one knive (that we use for everything), a single pan and a single pot, four coffee mugs and four glasses, and several pieces of silverware that might last until the fall. If we want to mix anything, there is a single large stainless steel bowl, and we also got our act together to purchase some dishware.
However, like I said when it comes to cooking, we are down to the barebones minimum, and cooking is further complicated since we are not sure how much longer the stove / cooker will last until it needs to be replaced. Luckily, we bought a new refrigerator that works and manages to keep the necessities in tact. Meals have generally been cold or cooked on the grill outside. We are back to basic people – nothing fancy here. However, when I saw the abundance of produce and spices at all of the markets in Abu Dhabi, I needed to step things up a bit.
I bought Madhur Jaffrey’s Curry Easy and realized that most of the ingredients in the book could all be found instantly. It was the perfect place to start delving into seemingly exotic ingredients. While the first dish I chose is not too exotic, I had to balance my thirst for adventure with what was realistic given our cooking tools. The only problem I had was locating basil, although the market was so busy it could have been hiding, and I was entirely too tired to fight the traffic of supermarket carts in the produce section on a Saturday afternoon. I decided to use cilantro (coriander)
Shrimp with Garlic & Chillies (adapted from Curry Easy)
12 raw jumbo shrimp, peeled & deveined
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp green hot chillies finely chopped
1/2 tsp salt & 1 tsp ground pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp whole yellow mustard seeds
1 large clove garlic finely chopped
3 tbsp cilantro (coriander) chopped
1/3 cup chopped tomatoes (fresh)
Wash and dry the shrimp. Place in a bowl with the salt, pepper, chillies, and cayenne pepper. You can cover and keep in the fridge until you are ready to carry on with the rest of the recipe.
Place the oil in a frying or cast iron pan and set it over medium/high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds. Once they begin to pop (and they WILL pop, and pop out of the pan…) add the garlic and stir gently, and then add the shrimp. Stir a few times, and then add in the tomato. Reduce the heat and add in the cilantro, and continue stiring gently until the shrimp is thoroughly cooked, but not overcooked – probably just a few minutes. Serve straight away… This would be really good with some thick/crusty bread on the side.