I mentioned in this week's opening post that I wasn't sure about the flavor combination of grapefruit and coconut milk. I took a look on-line and I found very few recipes using the two. Not a good sign. Best to try one to be sure, though. Yeah, I could open a can of coconut milk and dunk in a piece grapefruit, but then I'd be stuck with an open can of coconut milk and I'd end up wasting it.
So, the recipe I found at the Halal Kitchen blog is kind of odd even beyond this unusual pairing of ingredients. I've never seen a recipe that thickens coconut milk with a roux before. But the author said it came out well so I'm going to make it as written, just cut down to a quarter to make a reasonable amount.
Grapefruit and Curried Shrimp Sauté
1 TB. butter
1 cloves garlic, smashed
tiny pinch of saffron
1/4 small yellow onion, finely chopped (about 1/8 cup)
1 1/4 TB flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 TB. curry powder (1/4 TB. if you like really spicy!)
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/8 cup freshly-squeezed grapefruit juice
1/2 pounds fresh shrimp, peeled, deveined and cleaned
1/4 cup grapefruit meat (skin removed), quartered and cut in half
1 Tb.(or more, to taste) fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
Method of Preparation:
*Note: Prepare all ingredients ahead of time and organize them well. Once you begin this recipe, the steps go fast and you will not have time to leave the stove lest you burn the butter, dry out the roux or curdle the sauce.
1. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter on low with the garlic and saffron, approx. 5 min. Do not burn. There is no need to stir.
2. Once the butter mixture is done, add onions. Over medium-high heat, sauté the onions but do not brown them, approx. 5-7 minutes.
3. With a wooden spoon, blend in the flour to make a rough paste, or roux. Add the salt and curry powder and blend. Keep blending to avoid burning the roux, until all ingredients are well mixed. [I found that this made a particularly thick roux so I added a little more butter to loosen it up a little.]
4. Turn heat to medium-low. Add coconut milk and blend until the roux is completely free of any lumps. Add grapefruit juice and keep stirring to smooth out the mixture and avoid curdling of the coconut milk. Cook until thick, approx. 3-5 minutes. [The roux thickened the liquid into more of a paste than a sauce so I had to add around a half cup of water to fix the texture. Rouxs must not change linearly when adjusting recipes.]
5. Add shrimp and stir, until you see that some have begun to turn pink. Next, add the grapefruit sections and continue stirring the mixture to avoid anything from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Turn heat to low, if necessary. Be sure that shrimp is cooking well by
turning pink and becoming a bit smaller than when raw. This may be a bit difficult to see through the pinkish color of the sauce, but keep turning the shrimp in the pan to look for this color. Cook in this manner for approximately 10 minutes. [I turned the heat to low immediately, got the sauce below boiling to poach the shrimp. My extra large shrimp took the full 10 minutes that way.]
6. Serve on a bed of white, sticky or jasmine rice and top with roughly-chopped cilantro. [I used brown rice since I had the extra time to cook it. I discovered halfway through prepping the recipe that the can opener that broke on Saturday hadn't miraculously fixed itself since so I had to go out and but a replacement.] I added some kaffir lime leaves to the cilantro, since my little tree has foliage to spare these days, and some sriracha too.
The grapefruit pieces broke down so this is really just shrimp in a creamy sauce, and that sauce is, surprisingly, very tasty indeed and a remarkably good pairing with the shrimp. Or maybe it's not so surprising: coconut milk with a bit of spice, a bit of salt, a bit of citrus. That should taste good and match with the shrimp's meaty sweetness. If there's an unusual aspect that stands out, it's really the roux that gives it an interesting gravy-like texture and yummy unctuous undertones. There's a slight bitterness that hints at the presence of grapefruit instead of the more traditional lime, but it's very subtle. This was a fine dish that I could easily see making again, but it wasn't a very good test of the flavor combination. I'm going to have to just try the two together after all. ... Not bad, but not a nice harmonious chord of flavors either. And I think it works only because this grapefruit is particularly sweet. Eh, good enough. Grapefruit coconut sorbet it is. Now I just need to clear some space in the freezer to fit the churn's bucket.