Spring is in full swing in DC these days and that has meant fresh shoots of mint have sprung up all over my backyard. There is so much mint (its actually Spearmint variety) that even my dogs come back smelling of mint when they have been out walking and exploring the various corners of our backyard. This abundance of mint has inspired me to try to utilize it as much as possible. Two days ago I made a fresh strawberry and mint salad, yesterday I made a pitcher of mint iced tea and today I tried out my own invention of a minty coconut shrimp. This came out real good and quite surprised me because I did not start off with a clear game-plan – I just added things as I went along and the shrimp came out sweet and sour, succulent and very fresh tasting due to the burst of mint in every bite.
1. .75 lbs of large fresh shrimp
2. 8-10 sprigs of fresh mint
3. One medium sized red onion
4. One green chili
5. One tablespoon of black mustard seeds
6. 2 tablespoons of sweetened coconut flakes (I just had these at home and if you don’t have these, just use coconut flakes and a separate tablespoon of sugar)
7. One spring of Curry leaves (available at South Asian grocery stores – you can also skip this entirely)
8. 3 tablespoons of fresh chopped cilantro leaves
9. 3 tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive oil
10. 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar
11. One teaspoon of red chili powder
12. 3 tablespoons of plain yogurt
13. One teaspoon of salt (or to taste)
1. Clean and de-vein the shrimp and pat them dry with a paper towel.
2. Peel and dice the onion in small pieces.
3. Place the mint leaves, cilantro leaves, one quarter of the diced red onion, 1.2 of the green chili, one tablespoon of olive oil, one tablespoon of rice vinegar in a food processor and grind to a thick pulpy paste to make the marinade.
8. When the onion pieces start to caramelize a little, add curry leaves, the coconut flakes, salt, red pepper, second half of the green chili cut in small pieces and the yogurt to the pan and continue cooking for a minute or two.
10. Add the remaining mint, cilantro marinade into the pan and cook for another 2-3 minutes or until shrimp looks fully done (usually shrimps cook real fast and overcooking makes them tough and hard to chew).