We’re back in the swing of things with the Farmers’ Market and beautiful green garlic is in season for just a few weeks. Here’s an absolutely delightful recipe that I’ve had bookmarked for two years and finally got a chance to try – and I’m happy to report that Chez Pim’s Shrimp Stir Fry with Green Garlic was worth the wait.
You might remember that I finally tried green garlic last year at the Farmers’ Market, and was excited to kick off my spring cooking with it again this year. At yesterday’s Carrboro Farmers’ Market many stalls had green garlic, selling from about $1 a stalk to $3 for a small bunch. If you’re making this outside of the small window of time green garlic is in season, you could swap it out with green onion and a clove or two of garlic, or perhaps a leek.
First, due to the quick cooking time of shrimp, it is imperative that all ingredients be prepared before anything hits the heat. I admit that in my laziness it had been a long time since I’d tried to properly julienne anything, and found my knife skills a bit rusty. However, the layers of green garlic do cut up beautifully, so make sure your knife is sharp! In addition, it had been a long time since I had properly prepared shrimp, and it’s more labor intensive than I remembered. Finally, although overall it is a very simple dish, it does take a bit more fuss than I normally afford (separately frying the shrimp on its shell-side to bring out the flavor), which I did in batches.
I laughed quite a bit while preparing this dish, because it’s in a whole new ballpark. For instance, the second step requires quickly frying some green garlic and setting it aside for a garnish. Guys, I’m a graduate student who sometimes barely has time to feed herself, and I can’t remember the last time I’ve done any work to garnish a dish (other than throwing a sprig of cilantro on top, perhaps). Add to that the fact that this was a little more labor-intensive, and the most expensive dinner I’ve made in a long while. I think the whole meal (shrimp, pea side dish and rice) was about $18 for two servings. The shrimp was ~$10/lb at Whole Foods — I don’t purchase meat to cook very often and when I do, prefer buying it from WF due to their animal welfare standards and seafood sustainability — I know no system is perfect, but it does give me one less thing to worry about.
However, don’t let my caveats dissuade you from trying the dish — it came together beautifully, looks fantastic, and was an amazingly delicious dinner — my guest and I enjoyed every last bit of it. The shrimp somehow doesn’t taste overwhelmingly of curry, and it adds more of a savory balance than yelling “spices!” Keeping the shell on intensifies the flavor of the dish (remember that one makes seafood stock by boiling shells and bones), and I won’t find it rude if you use your hands to take the shells off. Don’t forget to suck on the shells to get all the good juices out — in my house, this is only polite, because it shows that the meal is incredibly flavorful, and you don’t want anything to go to waste! 😉
I paired it with jasmine rice and a pea dish that I will blog about next. This will be going on my permanent rotation for special-night meals, and I had to stop myself from putting it on this week’s meal plan as well. Enjoy!
Shrimp stir-fry with green garlic
Goong Pong Gari
From Chez Pim
- 1 to 3/4 lb shrimp, shell on (heads removed)
- 1/2 onion, sliced into thin rounds
- 1/2 cup julienned green garlic (2″, very thin sticks)
- 1 heaping teaspoon of curry powder
- 4 tablespoons cooking oil (use high smoke point oil, I use grape seed oil)
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons water
- With a very sharp, small knife, cut each shrimp in half lengthwise with the shell on. Clean out the veins from the shrimp halves and set the shrimps aside.
- Heat a fry pan or a wok until hot, add oil and then about a quarter of the julienne green garlic. (This will be used as garnish at the end so you won’t need much.) Cook until the sticks just begin to brighten in color. Take them out of the oil immediately. Set aside to rest on a paper towel.
- Turn the heat to medium then add the shrimp to the pan, laying each one shell side down. Let the shrimps cook, shell side down only, for 2 minutes or until the shells begin to caramelize. Take the shrimps out of the pan and set aside.
- Add onion into the pan, cook until translucent, then add the curry powder, the rest of the green garlic, and give everything a quick stir to mix well.
- Add the shrimp back to the pan, then the fish sauce and the water. Stir vigorously until the shrimp are cooked to the desired doneness. I prefer mine a little on the under-done side, but you are welcome to cook them more. Check the seasoning, add more fish sauce if needed.
- Transfer into a large plate, garnish with the reserved fried green garlic, and serve with freshly cooked jasmine rice.