Friday, December 4, 2009

Pumpkin Peanut Curry Noodles & Shrimp

The turkey's dead! Or rather, it's long gone and it's time to do something different for dinner. It's time to be creative with the other myriad of meats we have in the freezer. I wanted something with shrimp since we have so much at the moment, so a quick browse for "shrimp" through came up with this Rachael Ray delight. It got half an half reviews; some people who absolutely loved it and others who complained about its bad flavor, its thick sauce, and similar things.

With a couple modifications, this came out quite nice. The original recipe.

  • egg noodles
  • 5 Tbl. vegetable oil
  • garlic, finely chopped
  • ginger, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 can (15oz) pumpkin
  • 2 Tbl. Patak's mild curry sauce
  • 3 Tbl. cayenne
  • black pepper
  • shrimp
  • zucchini, optional
  • lightly salted peanuts, optional
  • 1 cup noodle water, optional
  • 1 cup chicken broth, optional
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, optional
  • sauce pot
  • 2 skillets
As a warning, make sure everything being used for the meal is ready to go. There's no real time to lose because everything cooks very quickly.

The original recipe called for regular spaghetti, but I thought it would be too weird accompanied by the peanut butter, pumpkin, and curry. So I used imitation egg noodles that didn't look much different from Ramen noodles. Ramen noodles could also be used if in a pinch. Cook the noodles according to the package.

Prepare the shrimp by cleaning them up. Shell them, devein, all the good stuff. You can use the full pieces of shrimp or cut them into smaller bits. I cut mine in half just to make it stretch a little. On a plate, sprinkle salt, cayenne, and black pepper. Press both sides of the shrimp into the spice combination and set aside.

In the skillet, add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil and heat it on 6. Put the garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes into the skillet of hot oil and let cook for about a minute and a half. Add the peanut butter to let it melt, spreading it out over the bottom of the skillet, making sure it doesn't burn. Quickly whisk in the soy sauce. The mixture will turn dark brown, almost looking like it's burned. Stir in the curry and pumpkin. It will become very thick. Turn the heat to low and add either two ladles of the water leftover from the boiled noodles or chicken stock. I used chicken stock because I drained my noodles an hour before I started making the base. Plus, it added more flavor.

Eyeball the amount of liquid you put into the base. The more you put, the thinner it will become. I used almost an entire can of chicken stock and it was still rather thick. Upon tasting it, it wasn't bad by any means, but it was salty due to the stock and the soy sauce. I started throwing in little handfuls of brown sugar until it was slightly sweet. I used about 1/4 cup overall, but it's entirely up to your tastebuds.

In a separate skillet, add 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil to heat on medium-high. Once hot, add the spice-caked shrimp to the pan to cook/heat up (depending on the type of shrimp you bought). If the shrimp is not yet cooked, wait until they are nice and pink and the spices are starting to look a little dark. If the shrimp is pre-cooked, wait until the spices are browned. Remove the shrimp from the remainder oil.

I cleaned out the shrimp skillet and added a little water to cook the zucchini chunks up. Didn't take more than a minute to get them moderately soft.

There's several ways for serving. You can take the route I did and clean out the shrimp skillet and put a little bit of oil to crisp up our egg noodles. I added the sauce and shrimp with a bit of chicken stock and let it melt together, coming out more like a pad thai. Or you can just serve the noodles with the sauce and shrimp on top with no extra bother. Either way, it should be a nice meld of spice, lightly sweet, and creamy. Top with peanuts for an added crunch.

The grand total of this decadent, delicious meal was $5.96 with enough sauce for additional noodles and sauce (no meat or zucchini) for a leftover lunch.

  • noodles 99¢
  • ginger 10¢
  • peanut butter 37¢
  • soy sauce 15¢
  • pumpkin 1.00$
  • curry sauce 35¢
  • shrimp 3.00$

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