Cayenne shrimp with a tangy tomato and yellow pepper sauce

Divya from Flavour Fiesta suggested that we do a main dish today, since we haven’t done one in a while. I couldn’t agree with her more as I’m running out of dinner ideas! This week, we feature a gorgeous cayenne shrimp, served with a tangy tomato and yellow pepper sauce…

You’re either a fan of shrimp or you’re not…Growing up, I hardly ate shrimp because my mother didn’t like how it looked – tails and all. But now that I’ve been cooking for myself, I have a new found respect for this ingredient. It can turn something mundane into something special. This week we have an Italian-inspired dish – cayenne shrimp in a tomato and yellow pepper sauce, topped off with some crumbled goat cheese and parsley. On the side – a simple chickpea pan bread that can be cooked up in minutes!

When it comes to shrimp, I find it’s easier to use frozen cooked shrimp. Or let’s just say the whole deveining and cleaning process isn’t my thing. For thawing frozen shrimp, I recommend thawing overnight for best results. You could also thaw in running water in a colander if you’re short on time. Before you use the shrimp in the recipe, carefully blot each one with a paper towel to get rid of the excess moisture. If you miss out on this step, you’ll have soggy results. Not appetizing…

The tomato sauce in this recipe is a simple one, so I’m not going to say much about it, but do remember if you’re using strained tomatoes, taste them before you cook with them. If they are highly acidic I would leave them out in this dish and use another brand of strained tomatoes. You can minimize the acidity a bit by adding some brown sugar, but I’m not a fan of adding flavours to mask other flavours. I did hear about a trick used in many Italian households though. I haven’t tried it yet, but it sounds intriguing. Add a grated carrot to your tomato sauce when it’s cooking – that’s all. Apparently the carrot’s sweetness counteracts the tomatoes’ acidity perfectly. Have you ever used this trick?

Ok, so moving onto my favourite part of this dish – the chickpea pan bread. If you are really into Italian cooking, you may have heard of socca which is a flatbread made with chickpea flour. My pan bread is inspired by socca, but it is also inspired by Indian “pudas” which are somewhat thinner than socca. Either way, it’s a great gluten-free bread that can be enjoyed with almost anything. The trick is to cook it on slow heat so the chickpea flour cooks up properly. Cooking is all about patience, isn’t it?

serves 2

Chickpea Pan Bread
1 cup milk
1 cup chickpea flour (besan)
salt, pepper, oregano to taste
oil for greasing the pan

2 cups thawed cooked shrimp
1 garlic clove, crushed
salt and cayenne pepper to taste

Tomato and Yellow Pepper Sauce
1/2 tbsp oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 large yellow bell pepper, diced
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp oregano
1 tsp tomato paste
2 cups strained tomatoes
salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp goat cheese crumbled
Chopped parsley for garnish

Chickpea Pan Bread
Step 1: Mix all the ingredients in a blender until evenly mixed. Allow the mixture to sit for 15 minutes so that the chickpea flour can absorb all the water properly. If you have time, allow it to sit for an hour.
Step 2: Drizzle a little oil on an oven-safe skillet (small size ~10 inch wide) and heat on low heat on the stove top. Add the chickpea batter and cook slowly for 3-4 minutes on each side. Once cooked, place the skillet under the broiler for a few minutes to crisp up the top.

Tomato and Yellow Pepper Sauce
Step 1: In a medium saucepan, heat the oil on medium heat. Add the onions and saute for 3 minutes. Then toss in the garlic and stir for 30 seconds.
Step 2: Add the yellow pepper and cook for 4-5 minutes. Sprinkle the cayenne pepper and oregano and stir for a few seconds. Then add the tomato paste and cook for a minute.
Step 3: Add the strained tomatoes and salt and cook for 8-10 minutes (covered) on medium-low heat.

Step 1: Coat the shrimp with cayenne pepper, salt, pepper and garlic. Drizzle a little oil in a pan and cook on each side for 2-3 minutes until slightly golden. Set aside.
Step 2: To serve the dish, place the sauce on a plate and top with shrimp, goat cheese and chopped parsley. Serve with chickpea pan bread on the side.

Today’s lovely dish promises better collagen repair for more resilient and youthful-looking skin. Check out these star ingredients…

Chickpea flour: Just 1 cup of chickpeas will give you 85% of your daily recommended value of manganese, a trace mineral that helps with energy production in your cells. Manganese also imparts potent antioxidant properties. Worried about sagging skin? Chickpeas also contain another trace mineral called molybdenum, which is responsible for facilitating the skin’s natural detoxification process to remove sulfites, toxins that lead to sagging skin.
Milk: We all know milk ‘does a body good’ because helps strengthen bones. However, do you know that it also contributes to smooth skin and a stronger immune system? Brimming with Vitamins A, B, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and zinc, milk will literally nourish complexions from the inside out.
Oregano: Oregano contains the active compound rosmarinic acid, which helps keep inflammation at bay. Particularly if you suffer from inflammation-induced skin conditions such as acne and psoriasis, incorporating oregano in your diet is a must!
Red Onion: Don’t discount onions as just a flavor enhancer in your recipes! Onions contain vitamin C, quercetin and isothiocyanates, which help calm inflammation. These antioxidants also protect against the degradation of collagen – the support structure in your skin. If you have acne, onions also contain chromium that will help your fight off those pesky zits!
Yellow pepper: Carotenoids for anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties? Check. Vitamin A for protection against free radicals? Check. Vitamin C for collagen stimulation? Check. Low in fat? Check. Talk about a no-brainer ‘beauty eats’ ingredient!
Tomatoes: Contains the free-radical scavenging lycopene, which can protect the skin against photo-damage and environmental pollutants. Lycopene can also improve cell metabolism, which translates to more effective collagen repair and smoother skin. It’s no wonder the beauty industry has been latching onto tomatoes as the new ‘fountain of youth’.
Garlic: Garlic contains compounds that keep inflammation at bay. One ounce of garlic contains about 15% of the recommended daily value of vitamin C, which is responsible for stimulating collagen production and boosting the effectiveness of other antioxidants!

Let us know how it goes – leave a comment!


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