Even though I am only half-Filipino and my Tagalog vocabulary does not extend far past a few pro-nouns, and swear words, I still boast about my Asian heritage whenever I possibly can. I mean, what’s not to love? Aside from beautiful women, tropical beaches, and exotic cuisine, we also have some pretty cool peeps on our side: Manny Pacquiao, Vanessa Minnillo, Bruno Mars, Vanessa Hudgens, apl.de.ap from the Black Eyed Peas, Nicole Scherzinger from the Pussy Cat Dolls, Melissa from the Real World San Francisco and even Rob Schneider…who we don’t mention too much, but he is still a part of the team. Heck, we Filipinos even claim Tim Tebow as one of our own since he grew up in the Philippines with his missionary parents.
Reason #72 why I love being Filipino.
What I love about Filipino cuisine is that many of the best dishes are naturally gluten and dairy free. What what! Filipino dishes use a lot of what I call, “healing ingredients” that help support the body and metabolism. For instance, below ground vegetables and squashes are excellent veggie choices are low in polyunsaturated fats, which in excess can cause inflammation. Coconut milk and coconut oil are used extensively in Filipino cooking which are both great for supporting your thyroid gland and naturally boosting your metabolism. And not to mention the copious amounts of garlic and ginger which are excellent for the digestive system and for reducing inflammation.
The following recipe is inspired by a traditional Filiipino dish known as pinakbet which is a squash based vegetable stew. I add in a few of my own ingredients , like curry paste and coconut milk, to give it more depth and flavor. Try it out and when you’re done, be sure to high-five the closest Asian you can find.
Coconut Curry Shrimp Recipe
Ingredients (organic of course):
- 1 lb. of large fresh (not frozen) shrimp
- 2 tomatoes
- 1 sweet potatoe
- 1 small butternut squash
- 2 carrots
- 5-6 mushrooms
- Snow peas or string beans
- 1 medium yellow onion
- 2 cloves fresh garlic
- 1/2 inch of fresh ginger
- 1 can coconut milk
- 1 tbs. Red thai curry paste
- Chili flakes
- 1 tbs. fish sauce
- 1 – 2 tbs. coconut oil
- Other ideas to toss in: bell peppers, pineapple, mango
1. Chop the garlic and mince the ginger finely. Slice the onions, the mushrooms, cut the tomatoes into wedges, and cut the sweet potato, carrots and squash into 1″ thick cubes.
2. You’ll also want to wash everything before you start chopping. I could have put this first, but I like to think outside the box.
3. Next, in a large skillet, like really large, or better yet, in a wok, heat the coconut oil on medium heat. Sauté the garlic and ginger until you can really smell them. But you do not want to burn the garlic because it will make the whole thing taste funny.
3. Add in the tomatoes, onion, carrots, mushrooms, sweet potatoes, and whatever else you’d like to add to it. Sauté for a few minutes until the onions become a little translucent.
4. Pat yourself on the back, you’re doing great so far.
5. Add the can of coconut milk and fish sauce to the mix and stir around a bit scraping the bottom of the skillet.
6. Then, add the curry paste to the mixture and allow to simmer on low for a good 20-30 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are fork-tender. You do not have to cover the skillet.
7. Then, during the last 5 minutes or so, toss in the shrimp. You want to wait till it’s almost done so that you don’t over cook the little crustaceans.
8. Eat alone or serve over rice. You get mad props if you eat this with chopsticks.