For the past few weeks, I’ve been seeing all these posts and pictures on Instagram full of gorgeous chocolate desserts, hearts, and decadent martinis. Then I remembered… it’s February! The shortest month of the year, but also the month of love. Valentine’s Day is here, and there are so many different ways to celebrate. You might have plans to go out to a fancy restaurant with your date, go out to the theater to watch a play, or plan a nice meal to cook at home and relax. Special occasions are always a great opportunity to enjoy a special meal, and what better to celebrate the month of love than fusion cuisine… combining two styles to create a new and delicious dish! Fusion cuisine is a bit like love that way: combining two people to create something special. Even if you’re single and maybe not looking forward to the 14th, you can be your own date. Make yourself a nice meal, and savor the fusion of the flavors of life!
I enjoy going out for dinner on Valentine’s Day, but… isn’t that what we do on most special occasions? Go out, order a fancy meal (and dessert, of course!) and head back home. Nothing wrong with that – it’s fun, no mess at home to clean up, and you get to eat a professionally cooked meal. But this year I’ve decided to simply relax at home and cook something nice and simple, enjoy hot tea, snuggle up with a movie, and spend some quality time with my valentine. Having a splendid time at home – that’s the best part of life, for me. Don’t you think it can be nice to slow down and enjoy just being home sometimes??
While we usually think of dessert – chocolate, to be precise – for Valentine’s Day, my valentine is totally a savory person. Strange, isn’t it?? Me being into pastries and the love of my life being a savory person. Not that he doesn’t enjoy sweets, but he is not really a chocolate or dessert guy. You give him anything savory with a spicy kick and you win his heart (I should know… I’ve done it!)? So, I’ve decide to take a savory route this Valentine’s Day with this fusion of Indian and Asian spices. Let’s just hope that my baking cravings don’t overtake me! Honestly, it’s tough for me not think about baking… but this time will be different!
We both are seafood lovers, and he really enjoys this dish a lot. This savory, spicy Asian and Indian fusion shrimp would definitely win the hearts of you and and your valentine! Blood oranges are in full bloom in February, making them the perfect seasonal complement to this dish. And what a treat to see these beautiful, red, delicious and juicy oranges for the month of love! I wonder if this is a coincidence, because they are only in season for few weeks! And of course, crazy me will try to include these in everything I make this month… so they’ll go in the shrimp marinade, as well. You don’t have to include these if they’re not in season where you live. The marinade is inspired by the flavors of southern India and southeast Asia. The recipe calls for dried curry leaves, bay leaves and chilies. I usually dry up my herbs and chilies for winter time so I can enjoy the home-grown stuff all year long. The home grown Thai chilies are the best, and when dried you can crush them up for chili flakes. But beware – these Thai chilies can be super spicy? In this recipe, I use lentils for the marination. Being from Indian origin, we eat lentils almost daily. And people from southern part even use few kinds in their tempering. This gives the dish a crunchy texture and it is even gluten free.
You can control the spice level and play with citrus flavors to your tastes, or totally ignore it if you want. The fusion of the Indian and Asian spices will bring about a delicious blend of flavors, even if you don’t use much spice. I hope you like the savory version of Valentine’s Day, and enjoy your day either with someone special or just being with yourself. I would love to hear from you all in the comments below on how you celebrated Valentine’s Day, and if you tried this recipe, then I’d also love to hear whom you shared it with! ? Feel the love and spread the love ❤️ Wishing you all a wonderful Valentine’s Day and beyond – a life full of love. Happy Valentine’s!
- 1.5 tbsp split dehusked black gram lentils (white Urad Dal)
- 2 tbsp yellow split pea/bengal gram lentils (Chana Dal)
- 1.5 tbsp white sesame seeds
- 2-3 dried red chilies
- 6-7 dried curry leaves
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 4 garlic cloves
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 2 tsp black pepper powder
- 2 tsp dry crushed mint
- 1 tsp ginger powder
- 2 tsp Japanese pepper powder
- 1 tsp lemon powder
- 2.5 tbsp blood orange juice (optional)
- 20-25 large raw deveined tail-on shrimps
- 1 large onion sliced
- 1 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
- 1 tbsp zest (orange or lemon)
- 1 tbsp Indonesian salsa (optional) (use sliced garlic if not using the salsa)
- 1 tsp hot sauce (optional)
- 1/8 cup blood orange juice or 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp black pepper powder
- Dry roast the lentils, sesame seeds, dried bay leaves, curry leaves and chilies.
- Blend them in dry ginger to make powder.
- Blend them with oil and garlic and mix rest of the ingredients.
- Marinate the shrimps for 30-40 minutes.
- In a large skillet, heat oil.
- Place shrimp in a single layer, making sure they do not overlap each other.
- Cook on medium high for 2 minutes each side until they are light pink. Make sure you don't overcook it or else it will be chewy and not good.
- Take the shrimps out and put on a plate, leaving the juices and oil in the pan.
- In the same same pan, put little oil (if required) and add the sliced onions with citrus zest and garlic (if using this instead).
- Saute on medium high for 2 minutes.
- Add the salsa at this time (optional).
- Saute for another 2-3 minutes until the onion is translucent but not brown.
- Put the cilantro in and mix well.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Place the shrimps on the platter - you can use any greens drizzled with little oil as a bed.
- Top off the sliced onions and garnish with some sliced scallions or chopped cilantro, or any way you like!
- You could use any orange instead of blood orange, however if there aren't any oranges in season, you could make it without it and it still tastes amazing.
- If you have fresh bay leaves, curry leaves and chilies, then instead of dry roasting with dry ingredients, simply blend them with garlic and oil. It tastes different and great with fresh greens, but in winter I dry my fresh herbs so I can use my home grown herbs all year long.
- I buy my Indonesian salsa at Trader Joe's, but it's sometimes hard to find. You don't have to use it. Simply slice up some garlic and use that. If you have some lemongrass you can use that as well.