Friday, September 8, 2006

Spontaneous Spicy Shrimp Stir Fry

It’s time again for Kalyn’s Weekend Herb Blogging Event. Actually, this dish has no herbs – lots of spice and tons of flavor, but no herbs. But bok choy is a vegetable and the baby bok choy I found at an amazing Asian supermarket were too cute to resist and lent themselves so well to the last minute stir fry dinner I made yesterday. So let me back up a bit for the whole story.

Early this week I went to a large shopping mall hunting for a specific but elusive pair of shoes. The Promenade Mall is located just north of Toronto proper in an area I always thought of as Jewish and there is a fabulous Nortown shop – great kosher style meats, chicken and deli along with other Jewish delicacies. But since the last time I ventured that far north (I’m a downtown Toronto girl, what can I say) which was at least 5 years ago, there is now a huge Asian community. In my circling the two floors of stores hunting for shoes I never found, I came across T & T Supermarket. It took my breath away – literally and I am still cursing myself for not having my camera along with me.

So let me describe it as best I can. Think of the largest supermarket in your area. Think of the cleanest, brightest grocery store around. Think of the shop with the most artistic display of foods. Put them all together and maybe, if you’re lucky you’re close. Every Asian community is represented from Japan (with beautiful sushi being made right in front of you), China (with a deli and buffet that looked awesome – I particularly loved the hanging duck, ribs and pork smoked and barbecued to perfection), Indonesia, Korea,….the list goes on. Aisles and aisles of imported canned, bottled (10 different brands of rice wine alone), packaged, frozen and refrigerated (dim sum dumplings – too many varieties to count) sauces, condiments, spices, noodles, meat, chicken, fish …. I could go on and on, but I hope you get the idea.

I will be back soon for more elusive Asian ingredients, and take lots of pictures for you then. But back up a minute to the glorious produce section. All the vegetables and fruit were so beautifully wrapped and displayed that I was mesmerized. Then I saw the bin of cellophane bags of baby bok choy – with dark green tips and the palest green stalks, each one not much bigger than two fingers stuck together. I had to have them, and so I did. Unfortunately, then they sat in my fridge waiting for me to come up with great dinner idea.

Two nights ago my aunt invited us over for dinner. Forgetting about our diets, we started out with my cousin’s delicious salad (but I must admit I took a small portion of it so I could eat way too much of her mother’s delicious spaghetti with meat sauce and garlic bread. Great meal!!! But it did leave me feeling that I needed to forego carbs for at least a couple of days. Hello South Beach Diet, Phase One!

Which finally brings me to last night’s dinner. I meant to go grocery shopping early in the day. No lettuce or any fresh herbs at all in the fridge…but somehow the day got away from me and it was 4:30 – rush hour, tired out, not in the mood to really go anywhere, I headed to the fridge to see what I could scrounge up. There, staring at me, pleading with me, was that beautiful bag of baby bok choy. And sitting on the counter and calling to me, was the chili paste with fermented black beans that I also purchased at T & T …. So along with the frozen shrimps I always have in the freezer for my “I have no idea what to make” days, and the fresh shitake mushrooms in the fridge, I was ready to go. Normally I would have served this over steamed rice or rice noodles, but I really had enough carbs the night before to last a month! I also meant to actually add this stir fry to some of Nina Simond’s Chinese chicken broth for a hearty soup dinner. In the end, we just ate it piled in a bowl right out of the skillet.

Not bad for having little fresh stuff on hand and the whole meal took 20 minutes or so to make.


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Kalyn said...

I think this sounds fantastic. I've never seen the baby bok choy in my store, but I do like bok choy (need to remember to cook it more often).

Helene said...

That store sounds amazing! I'd be soending my whole paycheck!
Your recipe looks delicious. Will have to try this weekend.

gattina said...

The seasoning is a winner! And what a great name of this dish!

Ruth said...

One of the best things about writing a blog is that I can recreate my "spontaneous" dishes. This combo of seasonings was, in fact pretty darn great, if I do say so myself.

Thanks for dropping by and leaving such nice comments.