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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Spicy Shrimp Tempura with Peach Avocado Salad

It was one of those Saturday mornings where I was dragging my feet a bit getting dressed, a bit bummed I had to go into work on the weekend. So while I was getting dressed I was distracted both by my bully and the Food Network.

The show The Best Thing I Ever Ate/Made was on. And while trying to stop Sally from chasing my sock I noticed Beau Macmillan was talking about this amazing shrimp tempura dish he had made that was sweet, spicy and spectacular.

I immediately went downstairs to download the recipe so on the way home from school I could pick up the ingredients to make it. 

He explained it was easy to make. Yes, easy to make but lots of steps and prep too. I decided to skip a step and instead of making the jalapeño jelly I would instead use some of the habanero peach jelly we had canned last summer to replace it. It was actually a perfect switch.

I tried to find mangoes but couldn't, not even frozen, so instead I had to go with frozen peaches. Winter is tough to find sweet fruit. 

The flavor profiles of the dish were pretty amazing. I'd never made tempura before and it turned out perfect using the rice flour and carbonated water (I used soda water.)

And the coconut sticky rice was delish.

G & I both agreed this may be the best dish we've ever made. And that's saying a lot we cook a ton of food. But this really was EXCELLENT!


Spicy Shrimp Tempura with Peach Avocado Salad - adapted from Food Network

Coconut Sticky Rice:
1 cup white medium-grain rice, such as Calrose
One 13.5-ounce can coconut milk

Red Pepper Jalapeno Jelly: (We skipped this entire step and used our homemade canned Habenero Peach Salsa.)
1 1/2 red bell peppers, diced
1 jalapeno, sliced with seeds
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 to 2 pinches red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon liquid pectin

Mango and Avocado Salad:
1 avocado, sliced
1 cucumber, seeded and sliced
1 fresh mango, chopped ( We had to use frozen peaches, no mangoes to be found)
1/4 of a fresh jalapeno, sliced
6 sprigs fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
3 green onions, chopped, plus more for garnish
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon chili paste
Pinch black pepper

Tempura Shrimp:
8 large shrimp or tiger prawns
1 1/2 cups rice flour
1 1/2 to 2 cups carbonated water ( we used soda water)
Canola oil, for frying

For the sticky rice: Wash the rice until the water is clear and all the starch is washed off. Put the rice in a shallow cooking pan and add the coconut milk and 3/4 cup water. (Trick - place your hand flat in the pan and pour in the water. When the liquid reaches your middle finger knuckle, you have the right amount.)

Bring the rice and coconut milk to a boil. Then turn down the heat to low, cover the pan and simmer for 15 minutes.

For the jelly: Put the bell peppers, jalapeno, sugar, cider vinegar and red pepper flakes into a saucepan and cook over medium heat until the liquid is reduced by two-thirds. Add the liquid pectin to give it a jelly-like consistency. Then set aside.

For the salad: Combine the avocado, cucumber, mango, jalapeno, cilantro, green onions, sugar, oil, vinegar, chili paste and black pepper in a bowl and mix together.

For the shrimp: Peel and clean the shrimp. I like to use tiger prawns - big daddy shrimp!! Frozen shrimp is fine - just let them thaw out and rinse them in water.

Whisk together the rice flour and carbonated water until it reaches a batter consistency (alternatively, you can get premade tempura batter at Asian markets). It's key to not whisk too much, you want a nice fine batter without much air in it.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Next, take a heavy-bottomed pot and fill it with canola oil. Don't fill the pot too much! If using a 1-gallon saucepot, use 1/4 gallon oil. Heat the oil over medium-high heat until it's about 350 degrees F. You can test if the oil is ready by dropping some of the tempura batter into the oil. If it floats to the top, it's ready to go!

Dredge the shrimp in the batter and drop into the oil. The shrimp will cook all the way in 2 to 3 minutes. It's key to not add too many shrimp at once, just add 3 or 4 at a time.

When the shrimp floats to the top, they should be done. You can test them by taking one out and cutting into it to make sure it's opaque, and then taking a bite. Place the shrimp in the oven until you are ready to plate.

Combine all the components: Put the fried shrimp in a bowl with some pepper jelly and toss to coat them. Next, take a little bit of the jelly and place on the bottom of each plate. Put some sticky rice down on the plate on top of the jelly. Place 2 shrimp on top of the rice. Add some mango and avocado salad. Garnish with a little extra cilantro or sliced green onions.


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