Tuesday, March 26, 2013

shiso-kimchi shrimp cocktail sauce

My husband recently met Taro Arai, owner and chief dreaming officer of Mikuni restaurants, at a conference and came home with a signed copy of his book for moi! Abundance: Finding the American Dream in a Japanese Kitchen is full of inspiring and encouraging stories of Taro's family's emigration to America and their struggles in the first years of the restaurant, plus their faith in God that kept them going.

Not only is it a joyful account of one family's miraculous story, but the food photos make me drool! And one item near the beginning of the book stuck with me: Shiso, a common herb used in Japanese cooking, is anti-inflammatory and antibacterial.

I decided to use more of it as soon as possible, and I found some fresh shiso at a local Asian market (I asked, and they do grow the shiso here locally in Florida).

I found a recipe online for cabbage/shiso/apple coleslaw (to come in a later post) that was really fragrant and fresh tasting, and then I also decided to go crazy and make up my own shiso recipe the other evening when I had fresh shrimp to boil.

You'll need:
  • fresh shrimp for boiling (I used 1.5 pounds for 4 people, and we had leftovers)
  • ice, for cooling the shrimp down after boiling and decanting
  • 2 lemons, one sliced in wedges and the other juiced (I used about 1.5-2 tablespoons of the juice)
  • 1/4 cup finely minced kimchi
  • 3 large red shiso (akajiso) leaves, minced finely
  • 2 green onions, green and white parts sliced thinly (save a few of the green bit for garnish)
  • 1/2 c. mayo
Do this:

Boil your shrimp till they make a "C" shape and are pink, decant, rinse, and pile on the ice to chill those puppies down.

In a small bowl, mix the mayo, finely minced kimchi, lemon juice, chopped green onions, and finely minced shiso leaves. Taste and see if you need a bit of salt and pepper.

That's it! Peel and devein your shrimp and then dip to your heart's content. I found that kimchi and shiso go really well together, and the bit of lemon juice for extra tartness plus the mayo for creaminess just tied it all together. (I'm a kimchi nut anyway and I'm always looking for new ways to use it.)

Don't be a wimpy-shrimpy about this--dig in!