The challenge was to use seafood, lime and coconut. It got me thinking about a recipe I made last year for shrimp cakes, so I thought I would reprise, without peaking at the original version
I made coconut & lemon grass shrimp cakes with a spicy mango & cucumber salsa.
This recipe made me want to write about the easiest way to prepare a coconut. You don't have to smash it on the ground (most fun method!) of take the back of a cleaver to it (grrrr).
Find a coconut that you can hear a lot of milk sloshing around in. Poke out the eyes & drain it. Put in the the oven at 350 for 30 minutes. The heat causes it to split apart --for easy opening and also causes the meat to release from the shell.
Another way way to shred up fresh coconut it to get yourself a kudkuran, which is a bench coconut grater. Here is a picture of one in use:
Dude grating coconut using a bench grater.
And just an apology about photo quality. . . .
Also, damn the fact I keep coming up with new and interesting places to hide my camera from children that prevents me from finding it too. Anyone who can tell me where my camera is-- I promise to paypal you 50 bucks. No Joke. Camera phone does not cut taking pictures of food.
Bear with my recipes. They are just architecture- Flavor adjustment in expected.
And let me know if there is anything that's unclear. I love feedback.
Coconut & Lemongrass Shrimp Cakes with a Spicy Mango & Cucumber Salsa
2 mangos chopped. Over ripe works wonderfully
1/2 cucumber diced. Seed and peel if you feel like it
chile paste-- again to taste
handful of unsweetened shredded coconut
handful fresh mint
1 diced shallot
juice of 1 lime
2 tablespoons of sugar
1-2 tablespoons fish sauce
But everything BUT half the cucumber into a food processor. Pulse. Just to get it to mix, but not to a pulp. Combine with remaining cucumber.
Let this sit in the fridge for the flavors to marry while you make the shrimp cakes.
1 lb. raw shrimp
lemon grass. . I'd say 1/2 a stalk but I use this extremely convenient shredded frozen stuff I bough in Little Saigon.
1/2 chopped fresh coconut
a hand full of green beans
just a bit of lime zest
chile paste to taste
tablespoon fish sauce
1/4 - 1/2 can of coconut milk
handful fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons olive oil
Put everything but the panko into a food processor, and blend. Don't expect the coconut to fully blend, it adds a nice texture in the end. If they mixture looks thin, add some panko and stir.
oil to fry, plenty
Heat a heavy bottomed pan to med-high, add oil. Form shrimp mixture into cakes. Big ones for dinner, small ones make a snazzy appetizer.
Fry them until the are browned, flip, repeat. They don't take much time to cook thru, but it's nice to get them brown.
Serve with salsa on the side and a garnish of chopped mint, cilantro and maybe crushed pistachios, but I skipped that part.
These were good. I ate mine standing up in the kitchen while frying up the next batch I was so all over them.
Just one last little coconut nugget of information:
The milk from green coconuts is supposed to be great for a hangover, among other things. I bought some slightly fermented green coconut juice, called kefir at Whole Foods last week & it was really interesting.