Shrimp and scallop stew with turmeric sticky rice

Right now meals are a trial. Regardless of the weather around us, we eat soups and stews and broth. Our freezer is chock full of yoghurt containers filled with different stocks labeled with the date and their contents. Three meals a day we assemble our soup, seasoned simply with salt, pepper, ginger, turmeric, cumin and/or herbs; we ladle our soup around a little iceberg of sticky rice and top it with a few chunks of some cousin of a squash.

Yet it's a diet of sorts, an invalid one, but still a diet. It's nutritive and filling and always warm. I know the ins and outs, and the repetition and possible variation. My tummy knows what to expect and plans accordingly. On most days, I enjoy. When you're sick, you don't think about food the same way; you don't read up on magazines or look through recipes, and for us you certainly don't go out for dinner. Food becomes a medicine, but the most comforting kind. You look for things that satisfy in a deeper way, as a tool for healing.

This morning we went a bit out of the way to prepare a very delicate seafood stew with itty bitty bay scallops, shrimp and basil with a turmeric sticky rice. As a dish it's so unflashy I don't even know what to call it. But as a meal, it was really wonderful. I seasoned it aggressively with black pepper and ginger; the scallops lent that hint of sweetness and the kabocha coaxed it out even further. The basil added its singular aroma, and the pea shoots, when we just ever so lightly cooked them, had the slightest hint of sweet pea. It's a dish where you could assemble all the ingredients separately  on two separate days, even  and then gently simmer them together in a matter of minutes. You could pad out to your little flower pot of basil and pluck a few leaves right at the end, because, you're not rushing. 

In the early autumn on Cape Cod  where the sun provides ample heat but it's frigid and windy in the shade and we spend our days working on a half-shaded picnic table  I think we're finally eating for the weather. The recipe below is as faithful of a recall as can be expected for an unplanned recipe post. Local scallops will be coming in October, so I'll be making this again soon!

Shrimp and scallop stew with turmeric sticky rice

12 shrimp, peeled, rinsed and deveined shrimp (with peels reserved)
1/2 teaspoon ginger, grated
Zest of 1/2 meyer lemon (orange or lemon could also work)
Freshly ground black pepper
Sea salt

Tip about salt: If you're going to make the dish now, season with some salt. Otherwise, you can season the shrimp with the other ingredients, then refrigerate it for up to 8 hours. Twenty minutes before you're going to cook them, take the shrimp out and season them with salt.

Set the shrimp in a bowl along with some freshly ground black pepper and 1/2 teaspoon grated ginger (reserve the rest for the stock below). Squirt a bit of the meyer lemon juice and toss.

Shrimp Stock
1 quart chicken or vegetable stock
A few curry leaves, sliced (optional)
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper (don't be shy!)
1 thumb ginger
Shrimp peels, rinsed

Gently simmer the ingredients for 20 minutes, then strain. Taste for seasoning and adjust.

Turmeric Sticky Rice
1 cup Japanese sticky rice
1 cup + 2 tablespoons cold water
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and ground
1/8 teaspoon turmeric
3 curry leaves, rinsed and sliced
1/4 teaspoon ginger, grated
Meyer lemon juice (orange or lemon could also work)

Place the rice in a pot or strainer and rinse thoroughly in cold water. Add the water and let sit for 10 minutes. Place covered over high heat until the rice starts to steam out the sides. Turn down to low and cook for 5 minutes. Turn up to medium-high for 30 seconds then remove from the heat and let sit for 10 minutes. After you've let it sit, you can open the lid and fluff the rice with a fork.

Note: For this kind of quick cooking technique, it's important you never take off the lid.

Roasted Kabocha
1 kabocha, peeled and de-seeded, and chopped roughly into 1" chunks
Freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oven to 400F. Toss the kabocha in coconut oil or ghee and some salt and pepper. Roast until tender, about 30 minutes. 

1/3 pound bay scallops
Coconut oil, ghee or butter
1/4 cup pea shoots
A handful of basil leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
Finishing salt (fleur de sel, Himalayan pink salt, etc)

Sear the scallops. Form the rice in a ramekin, egg cup, etc and turn it out into the center of each bowl, tapping to loosen it. Heat the stock then add the shrimp and scallops. Cook the shrimp on a lower simmer until just pink, maybe 2-3 minutes. Ladle out the shrimp and scallops then add the pea shoots and basil leaves, reserving a few leaves for the top of each bowl. Turn it up to medium and cook the shoots for 1-2 minutes, then ladle the stock out around the edges of the bowls. Top with a few basil shoots and some cracked pepper or just a pink of finishing salt.

Place: South Orleans Tags: food, cooking, Food

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