Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Creamed Shrimp with Butter Rice (Ebi no Kurimu ni Bataaraisu Zoe)


A visual treat and a delight to eat, this dish satisfies on every level, and never fails to impress. Although not difficult to prepare, it does require many steps and ingredients. If you have a rice cooker, though, you are halfway there. I took the original recipe from Keiko Hayashi's Japanese Cooking: Try It, You'll Like It, and added more veggies, tarting it up in a distinctly southern California way (I bought the dish a Hurley surf-skirt and some Oakley sunglasses, is all). I'm convinced, though, that despite it's Japanese association, this creamed shrimp dish likely evolved from French cuisine--who else uses so much butter so wantonly (beside me)? Here's what this colorful presentation can look like (above), with many layers and textures. Because salad and starch and entree are all in there together, no need to serve with anything but a large spoon and a smile.

Creamed Shrimp with Butter Rice and Vegetables, a la Tumerica

Shrimp and Sauce
1 pound raw, shelled shrimp
Salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste
2 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons sake or white wine
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup mushrooms (crimini, portobello, white, or shiitake--if dried, reconstitute first)
2 tablespoons brandy or cognac
3 tablespoons flour
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup cream

Butter Rice
1 1/2 cups jasmine or other long-grained rice
2 to 2 1/4 cups chicken stock--to prepare rice according to package directions
2 tablespoons butter

Garnishes
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves
1 large or two medium tomatoes, chopped
2 cups fresh Swiss chard or spinach leaves, chopped loosely, stir-fried only to wilt

  1. Prepare rice according to package directions (Jasmine rice is 1 1/2 cups of rinsed rice to 2 1/4 cups water), substituting chicken stock for water and adding in butter before the water boils. Set aside, covered.
  2. Sauté shrimp and wine only to cook the shrimp, a couple of minutes, max. Set aside.
  3. Saute mushrooms and shrimp in two tablespoons butter, sprinkle with brandy or cognac off-flame and return to heat. Remove the shrimp and mushrooms and add in the chicken stock.
  4. Melt one tablespoon butter, whisking in flour, and cook until bubbly. Add in the chicken stock mixture., stirring well, and cooking to a smooth consistency. Remove from heat again, and this time add in the whisked egg yolks and cream. Return to heat, add in shrimp and mushrooms, and correct seasonings with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Mold the rice in a bowl and overturn the bowl into the center of a serving platter. Create a well in the center of the rice. Pour the shrimp-sauce mixture into the hollow, letting the sauce dribble down the sides of the rice.
  6. Create a circle of sauteed Swiss chard or spinach around the outside of the rice. Spread evenly to make a ring of green.
  7. Just inside the ring of green, create a ring of red by scattering the chopped tomatoes the same way.
  8. Lastly, garnish with the cilantro in the very center and serve immediately.