Vicki’s food column: coconut Cajun shrimp and black rice


2 cups of black rice
2 cups of white rice
½ bunch of cilantro
6 shallots, chopped
1 teaspoon of coconut oil (for frying)
DRESSING: (proportions are approximate)
¼ cup soy sauce
¼ cup sesame oil
2 tablespoons of honey
½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon of lime zest
1 teaspoon of ginger
21 blue tiger shrimp, shelled
Homemade Cajun seasoning
1 teaspoon of onion powder
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
½ teaspoon of paprika
1 teaspoon of black pepper
1 teaspoon of salt
½ teaspoon of chili flakes

I am terrible at proportions when dealing with cooking starchy items like rice, potatoes or pasta. I always make way too much, which worked out perfectly for this recipe because it keeps well and is best served chilled, meaning lots of leftovers. It was pretty tedious to make.

Black rice has a bit of a milder, nuttier flavour than traditional jasmine or basmati, but I mixed it with basmati rice anyway (mostly because I was worried I wouldn’t have enough of just the black rice itself — which was a mistake, but we didn’t find that out until later). The black rice turns everything purple so it’s a very visually appealing dish. But it stains everything it comes in contact with.

Another problem I always have with rice is how to strain it. Fearing the rice would slip through the rather large holes in our strainer, we decided to MacGyver our way out of that pickle and fashion ourselves a homemade version. It failed miserably when the pot lid we were using became extremely hot. I was scalded, my roommate was scalded, and we spilled purple rice everywhere and stained the counter.

Note: if you plan on using this technique, make sure to cook extra rice to make up for the amount you will lose.

While the rice was cooking, I chopped up the cilantro, shallots and made the dressing for the dish. This part’s pretty easy, and the amount of everything you use depends entirely on your personal preferences. I like my food spicy, so I added extra cayenne and ginger to the dressing, and extra chili flakes to the homemade Cajun seasoning.

Once the rice had cooked, we strained it. When we had finally wrangled it into a giant bowl, I added the chopped ingredients and dressing, and set it out onto the balcony to chill. There was no room in the fridge for a bowl that big. And since we had made enough rice to feed a small country, the balcony was our only option.

I then seasoned the shrimp and fried it up for about five minutes (until pink, max heat) in some coconut oil. “Making our home smell like a tropical cabana,” said my roommate.
In the end, we didn’t even make a dent in the rice dish, but we devoured the 21 teeny shrimp. The rice will supply plenty of leftovers in the foreseeable future.

Difficulty rating: 6.5/10
Roommate Rating: 7/10

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