We just passed week 4 of our coronavirus quarantine and I have to say, there are some silver linings to this situation. I've been appreciating small things that I always took for granted like being able to go grocery shopping whenever I want to and being able to find all the ingredients I need. I think that by the end of all this, I will be a better chef, being able to create dishes out of limited ingredients. Take, for instance, this Thai basil shrimp with coconut. I originally wanted to make a tamarind sauce but since I didn't have tamarind, I whipped up something else. And you know what? I'm almost certain that the outcome was better than the original plan. Finished with toasted coconut and fresh Thai basil, this shrimp dish is sublime!
Thai Basil Shrimp with Coconut
- 2 tbsp oil divided
- 1 lb shrimp peeled, deveined
- salt and pepper
- 1 tsp garlic minced
- 1 tsp ginger minced
- ¼ cup Bull's head shallot sauce
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- ¼ cup fresh Thai basil
- ¼ cup coconut flakes toasted
- Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large saute pan on high heat. Add the shrimp and saute until pink on both sides, about 4-5 minutes. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper and set aside.
- In the same pan, heat 1 tbsp oil over medium heat. Saute 1 tsp garlic and 1 tsp ginger until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Add ¼ cup shallot sauce, 1 tbsp tomato paste, 2 tbsp soy sauce, 2 tbsp rice vinegar, and 2 tbsp brown sugar, stirring until combined. Simmer for 2 minutes or until the sugar has dissolved. Add the shrimp to the shallot sauce and ¼ cup fresh Thai basil and toss to combine.
- Top the shrimp with toasted coconut. Serve immediately.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
I know the name of this dish is "Thai basil shrimp with coconut" but it's not to be confused with the traditional Thai basil shrimp. Both dishes have shrimp and basil but this sauce is completely different. There is a little tomato paste, brown sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, ginger, garlic, and most importantly, shallot sauce.
This Bull's head shallot sauce is a savory condiment that adds a ton of umami to the dish. Think of it as fried shallots seasoned with soy sauce, chili, and other spices. By adding some more flavoring to this shallot sauce, we end up with something that's a little sweet, a little sour, and a whole lot of delicious.
Pat the shrimp dry with paper towels in order to get that lovely sear. Cook the shrimp just until they're done and toss them with the sauce. Don't forget the finishing touches, the fresh Thai basil, and toasted coconut. If you want some extra zing, serve the dish with fresh lime wedges.
This Thai shrimp basil with coconut is so simple but it packs a ton of flavor. I might even dare say that I prefer this over the traditional Thai basil shrimp!