Double-Spiced Shrimp & Forbidden Rice

Ever since we at at Quince, way back in October 2008, I’ve been a little bit obsessed with Forbidden Rice. I think about it a lot and plan recipes to use it- I want to show off its purpley-black beauty and the nutty taste that is like brown rice but just a touch sweeter. I’ve made it once since then but not prepared as it was that night with a slightly sweet basil cream.  It was good but not quite there. While still not exactly the same, for the last few weeks I’ve been thinking about doing it up with coconut milk and serving that with a nice piece of snapper or mahi-mahi seasoned with a Chinese 5-spice-like flavor plus some heat.

After two failed attempts to get fresh fish suitable for this concept at Whole Foods, Chris ended up grabbing a pound of shrimp from Merindorf’s Meats in Williamston instead. Not being privy to the swirling half-formed ideas I had, he didn’t realize that I would have much preferred raw shrimp. I think with raw, higher-quality shrimp (i.e. something from the Gulf, oil-slick free of course), this dish would have been just about perfect. I wrote the recipe here with the idea that it would be with raw shrimp. For the actual dish, I did all the steps described but only heated up the shrimp, rather than cooking them through. The sauce was tasty but the rice was delicious.

What I used:

1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails on (optionally)
1 teaspoon salt, divided
2 cloves garlic (or more), mashed or chopped fine
2 Thai bird chilies, seeds and membranes removed
2 teaspoons ginger
Juice of lime; zest for garnish optional
1 can coconut milk, divided
1 cup black rice (Forbidden Rice)
2 cloves garlic
sriracha sauce or other hot chili paste
1-2 tablespoons tomato paste
Canola or Peanut oil

What I did:

Canned coconut milk can be solid on opening th...
Canned coconut milk- Image via Wikipedia

Using rice cooker, prepare 1 cup Forbidden Rice with 1 cup coconut milk (about 1/2 a can- stirred well!), 2 teaspoons ginger and a bit more than a 1/2 cup water. This took a little longer than white rice and was right on the edge of being short on liquid but my rice cooker is cheap and doesn’t really do the “warming’ part well preferring to scorch the bottom of the pot so it may have been an equipment issue.

Marinate the shrimp with the garlic and 1/2 teaspoon of salt mixed with about a cup of  water. Marinate for at least 10 and up to 30 minutes.

Drain water from shrimp, keeping garlic. Add finely chopped chilies and lime and 1/2 teaspoon of salt (for more heat, keep the membranes and the seeds from the chilies). Let sit for about 5-10 minutes.

Heat oil over medium-high heat. Add shrimp (including marinating juices/garlic/chilies) and cook until just pinked through. Stir in 1/2 can of coconut milk and spicy chili paste (at least 2 tablespoons, more for more heat) plus some tomato paste. I used about 1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste and it was mostly to thicken the sauce a bit without going overboard on the heat.

Serve shrimp over rice with a generous ladle or two of sauce. Garnish with lime zest.

We’ll make this again, next time with raw shrimp to start.

Also, I’d probably amp up the heat a bit. With the shrimp already cooked, they didn’t absorb much of the Thai chilies which may have made a difference.

Lobster Salad & Chris’s SuperSpecial Tomato Soup

Chris has a soup, tomato-based, that he likes to make on occasion. It makes a ton of soup so we sometimes freeze it but it becomes part of lunch for the next several days too. He made that soup today. Yesterday, he picked up some lobster tails at Meijer which we let thaw overnight in the fridge.

Since he’d made the soup during the day, I was in charge of the lobster preparation. I considered just boiling or broiling them with butter but they were smaller tails and I wasn’t sure how sweet the meat was going to be. Then I remembered we have picked up some challah rolls at the Grain Train in Petoskey over the weekend. Voila- the lobster roll! I used a recipe from Eating Well as my base.

Lobster Salad on Challah buns


2 5-ounce lobster tails
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil, approx.
2 challah buns (or hot dog rolls or bread of your choice)
1/2 cup sugar peas, trimmed
1/4 cup minced celery
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons minced shallot
1 1/4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon, or less, sugar


1. Heat broiler.

2. Cut lobster tails in half using a sharp knife or kitchen shears. Brush meat side of tails with olive oil

3. Place, cut side up, under broiler. Broil 3-5 minutes, until shells are turning red, and meat begins to brown on top. Flip and cook another 2 minutes until shells are bright red and meat is opaque. Remove and let cool.

4. Combine celery, mayo, lemon juice, shallot, mustard, tarragon, salt, pepper and garlic powder in a bowl.

5. Bring a small pan of water to a boil. Add sugar snap peas, cooking just until peas turn bright green. Drain and let cool slightly.

6. When both the lobster and peas have cooled enough to handle: remove lobster meat from shells and chop coarsely. Slice the peas width-wise in to thin pieces.

7. Combine peas and lobster with the dressing. Refrigerate at least 20 minutes for flavors to meld.

8. Slice challah rolls and toast lightly (either under broiler or in toaster/toaster oven). Pile high with lobster salad and dig in!

Because the lobster meat wasn’t particularly sweet, I added a little sugar to the dressing. This is definitely a taste preference and would vary depending on the type of lobster. This lobster was from South America and the shells were more tan/brown than you might be used to seeing on American East Coast caught lobsters. Whether this difference is because it was a different kind of lobster or simply the season of the catch, I felt it needed a little sweetness boost.

Chris’s SuperSpecial Tomato Soup

If you are my mom, don’t like lobster or really like tomato soup, you probably skipped right down to this section. Unfortunately, I don’t have a recipe for this soup. Ha-HA!

Here are some basics, though:

1 28 oz can stewed tomatoes
1 carton Imagine creamy tomato soup
1 small can tomato sauce
Cilantro- fresh!
Dried hot pepper flakes (small amount, optional)
salt & pepper
Corn (1/2 can)
Olive oil & butter
fingerlings, red skins or other thin-skinned potatoes

Small dice the celery, carrots & onions. Saute in equal amounts olive oil and butter in a large stockpot.

Add seasonings (no measurements here) but Chris says mostly sage, then thyme and basil. He adds some cilantro now but most comes in after its been simmering.

Add tomato products & potatoes (which have been sliced in to thin rounds, maybe quartered first). Bring to a boil then reduce and simmer 20 minutes. Add corn and rest of fresh cilantro. Continue cooking about 5 minutes more.

Options: Add water with tomatoes for a thinner soup. Or add cream for a creamier soup. You can also mash up the stewed tomatoes a bit and/or blend some of it with an immersion blender. We don’t do that because I don’t have one. Yet.

We have also made this with wild rice instead of potatoes- that needs to cook longer or be pre-cooked and added towards the end.

Originally, Chris was going to add some kale to the soup as apparently he really likes it. Then he forgot. So, I made Kale Chips, using this recipe from Steamy Kitchen. We just added them to the top of the soup bowls but you can eat them out of hand too.

Basically, tear a couple cups of kale in to small pieces. Dry very thoroughly using a salad spinner. Spread on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Toss with a bit of olive oil (a teaspoon or so?). Bake in a 350 degree oven about 10 minutes until kale is crackly but not browning. Season with salt as per the recipe, OR use something like Maple Sugar Garlic Pepper, our latest go-to for all things that normally would get salt (i.e. popcorn, baked sweet potato fries, bread and butter (that is all Chris, I might add)). We might have to start rationing this, a jar purchased in Vermont on our honeymoon, until I find a more local source. Next time we go to Vermont, possibly as soon as this August, I’m going to buy 6 jars or more.