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All right, so this week I had a tough conversation about where I get my recipes. Now it is always a goal of mine to come up with new and awesome recipes but as many of you know none of us on the show have any real culinary training. With that said, I do at many times draw upon many different recipes and other people’s prior experience and knowledge to help guide me in my decisions when it comes to creating a recipe. Also I do believe that there are only so many ways that a thing can be done, but I think long and hard to come up with something that has never been done before and I think that I have another winner this week.
I wanted to totally go off the script for this post and I spent a long time thinking about flavors and ingredients that I had at hand. When I took an inventory of my cabinets this week I found a few things that when you look at them you may be left scratching your head.
My wife has been singing the praise of Coconut oil, water and milk for a few months now and one of my favorite things to get when I go to a Chinese buffet is coconut shrimp. I had some shrimp and it was not a far stretch to think about adding some chicken. But then I had the thought of paring the creaminess of the coconut with a sweet tangy flavor of….a Banana! Scratching your head yet? Well just wait, because there is going to be a little spicy and other interesting things in here as well.
So here is what you will need:
- · 1 medium banana (yellow but not spotted)
- · 1 chicken breast (6 to 8 oz.)
- · 12 shrimp
- · 1 small can of tomato paste
- · 1 can of coconut milk
- · 1/3 of a red onion
- · 1 tablespoon of garlic freshly minced
- · Mild Sweet chili sauce (Maggi Taste of Asia)
- · 2 tablespoons of convection sugar
First go and take the tails of the shrimp and cut the chicken in to cubes. Also mince up your garlic and chop up your onion. Start off by melting down some butter in your wok and sauté the garlic and onions. Watch your heat keep the ingredients moving. You want the onions to soften and start to clear but you don’t want the garlic or butter to start to smoke. An afterthought I had once I finished was that you could also use some Coconut oil as well at this point.
Next add your chicken and stir until it is slightly browned. Add your shrimp next and a little seasoning if you like. I did not add and salt at all to this recipe as I really wanted to focus on the sweet side of the coconut and banana. Once the shrimp have had a chance to start to turn pink add a small can of tomato paste. Stir for about 2 minutes and add about ¼ can of Coconut milk to start off with. Remember to taste as you cook frequently to make sure the flavor is going in the direction that you want. Add more of either the tomato paste or coconut milk as you see fit. Stir occasionally but let mixture simmer for another 5 or so minutes.
The liquid on the wok will reduce down some and you want to look for the signs of the sauce thickening. Don’t be afraid to spoon off some of the sauce if you added to much coconut milk. This is also important because you don’t want to run the risk of over cooking the shrimp or chicken. Shrimp take a very short time to cook so again you don’t want to keep the meats cooking for too long.
Around the same time as I just started to cook the chicken and shrimp I also began soaking some soba noodles in some warm water. Different noodles have different preparation instructions so make sure you account for this in your cooking time.
Once the sauce has thickened up somewhat I added my last three ingredients. I added a generous amount of some mild sweet chili sauce. Again take some time to taste and a reminder that you can always add more but you can’t take it out once it’s added. So add your chili sauce to taste stir a few times and add the most interesting ingredient in my opinion 1 ripe Banana. I choose a banana that had not signs of green left but did not have any brown spotting. Spotting is a sign of ripening and a perfect banana is speckled with brown spots. The riper the banana the sweeter it will be. I think the next time I give this dish a shot I will try a riper banana and see what changes.
I cut the Banana up in to pretty big slices as I was afraid that thinner ones would just disintegrate in the sauce. Stir them in gently as you don’t want to mash them up and allow too simmer for another 2 minutes. Finely I really wanted to nail the sweet flavor of this dish so I added 1 tablespoon of confectionary sugar. I kept an eye on the noodles and watch out for them so they don’t overcook as well. Top a small amount of the noodles with your mix and enjoy.
I found that this dish had a great sweet and creamy flavor of coconut that blended well with the tomato paste. That surprised me. The heat from the chili sauce added a little heat that creep up very nicely. Banana added a unique tanginess that could have been better if I chose one that was riper.
My mistake of the recipe was that I overcooked the noodles so I think that rice would be a substitution. All in all this came out great and I was surprised at how good the Banana mixed with the dish. I wonder why Bananas are not used more often in other dishes. I have heard of plantains being used all the time, so why aren’t banana used since they are so closely related? Well I am excited for the future as I want to keep tweaking with this recipe to see if I can improve it and fine tune it more.
Enjoy and I will feed you later!