Spicy Sambal Shrimp with Mango Salad

by Lovoni Walker 

People assume because I cook for a living that I whip-up elaborate, gourmet meals every night. After food styling, being in front of the camera cooking, or writing recipes all day, the thought of spending hours in the kitchen to knock together the evening meal holds little appeal, no matter how much I love to cook. Meals that are fresh and fast are where it’s at during the weeknight grind. Salads and stir-fries are both perfect speedy, wholesome meals for the time challenged and are my savior for when I’m short on time, energy or inspiration (and sometimes all three).

Keeping a well-stocked pantry is key, so I tend to have a selection of vinegars, nuts, oils and Asian sauces at the ready. Buying meat and seafood in bulk, portioning them and throwing them into the freezer to have on hand means all that’s left to pick up from the store is a few fresh ingredients.

If you have any energy left at the end of your day, doing 15 minutes prep for the following night’s meal will have you feeling like a kitchen maven.  Here are a couple of quick recipes:  an Asian inspired shrimp and mango salad and a ginger spritzer to wash it down, both with lots of make-ahead elements, so you can have dinner on the table with a minimum of fuss maybe leaving a little time left for you at the end of your long day (it helps to dream, right?!).

Spicy Sambal Shrimp and Mango Salad

Spicy Sambal Shrimp with Mango Salad

Spicy Sambal Shrimp with Mango Salad

MARINADE

  • 1/4 cup sambal oelek (Asian chili paste)
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce, optional
  • 1 tablespoon minced peeled ginger
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 20 large, raw shrimp (prawns), peeled and deveined leaving tails intact
  • 4 to 5 metal (or bamboo) skewers
Mint and Mango for the Spicy Sambal Shrimp and Mango Salad

Mint and Mango for the Spicy Sambal Shrimp with Mango Salad

SALAD

  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 large, ripe mango, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 English cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 small red onion, cut into thin wedges
  • 6 to 8 small radish, halved or sliced
  • 1/2 cup mint leaves
  • 1/4 cup cilantro (coriander) leaves
  • 1/3 cup chopped roasted peanuts

To make the marinade: Combine sambal, garlic, honey, fish sauce, ginger, soy and sesame oil in a small bowl. Pour 1/2 of the mixture into a blender (this will become the dressing for the salad). Add shrimp to the remaining mixture in the bowl; mix well to coat. Thread shrimp onto skewers. Cover and set aside in the fridge.

To make the dressing for the salad: Add vinegar and canola oil to sambal mixture in blender; blend until smooth.  Cover and set aside in the fridge.

Just before serving: Toss mango, cucumber, onion, radish, mint & cilantro together in a medium bowl. Drizzle with salad; toss to combine. Sprinkle with peanuts.

Cook shrimp on greased grill of a hot barbeque, 2 to 3 minutes each side until they turn pink – do not overcook.  Serve shrimp with mango salad. Serves 3 to 4.

Note: As an alternate, you could marinate and grill the shrimp the night before & toss them into the salad, cold, just before serving.

Ginger Cucumber Spritzers

Ginger Cucumber Spritzers

Ginger Cucumber Spritzers

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3-inch piece ginger (it doesn’t have to be peeled), sliced
  • 2 rosemary sprigs
  • 1/2 English cucumber, sliced
  • ice
  • sparkling water or club soda to serve

Combine water, sugar, ginger & rosemary in a small saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Simmer, uncovered, without stirring, for 5 minutes; strain into a small pitcher or jar. Cover and chill until read to use.

Place cucumber slices and ice into a serving jug or individual glasses. Top with sparkling water; stir to combine. Serve immediately. Serves 3 to 4.

Here is a timeline to prepare during a week night:

Timeline for the Spicy Sambal Shrimp and Mango Salad and Ginger Cucumber Spritzers

Don’t forget your shopping list: 

Shopping List for the Spicy Sambal Shrimp and Mango Salad and Ginger Cucumber Spritzers

Realm of Vibes wants to thank Lovoni Walker, Foodsmith for guest posting. E-mail her at Lovoni@freshhunger.com. Fresh Hunger, her new website, is coming soon. Connect with Lovoni on social media: InstagramFacebookPinterestTwitter, and visit The Fresh Aussie blog.

If you are interested in being featured on Realm of Vibes, please fill out the form on the Contact page or e-mail realmofvibesdg@gmail.com to get started.

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From Cereal to the Crock-Pot: Making Mom Proud & My Husband Happy

*This post contains affiliate links. If you click and purchase, I will receive a small commission.

When I was growing up, my mom cooked dinner six nights a week. She is 100% Italian so we always had delicious meals with plenty of leftovers. My sister would always want to learn to cook and bake. I, on the other hand, didn’t mind having a personal chef (sometimes short order cook). When I moved into my now-husband’s apartment, I prepared dinners that consisted of cereal, scrambled eggs, shake and pour pancakes, French toast and my specialty, Elio’s Pizza. Jason, calmly, but seriously asked me the following:

  • Do you know what a grocery store is?
  • Do you know how to make anything other than breakfast foods and Elio’s Pizza?

I remember my husband driving to Acme and said “This is called a supermarket. This is where you buy fresh produce, meat, fish, and other items to prepare suitable dinners.” I tried familiarizing myself with the store layout by walking up and down the aisles. This was all a new experience. I missed my mom preparing meals, but knew I had to be an adult and learn how to cook.

Jason taught he how to cook everything. Four years later and I have baked a whole chicken independently. I was the girl that thought all chicken came frozen. Yep. People do change. An old dog can learn new tricks. I want to share with you some of the tools I have used that has helped me tremendously in the kitchen.

Simply Calphalon Nonstick 10 Piece Cookware Set & 5 Piece Nylon Utensil Set

The Simply Calphalon Nonstick 10 Piece Cookware Set and Calphalon 5-Piece Nylon Kitchen Cooking Utensil set includes an 8-in. omelette pan, 10-in. omelette pan, 1-qt. covered sauce pan, 2-qt. covered sauce pan, 3-qt. covered saute pan, 6-qt covered stock pot,  and 4 tempered glass lids. It is made out of hard anodized aluminum, can be put in the oven up to 400 degrees F, and the nonstick coating makes it really easy to cook and clean. The utensils won’t scratch the pans, either. The only downside is that the cookware can’t go into the dishwasher (it will remove the nonstick surface), but the utensils can go in the top rack. These pots, pans, and utensils have really helped me with my cooking endeavors and I would strongly recommend them to new cooks. We have used them for over four years and couldn’t be happier.Crock-Pot

This was my go-to when I first started learning how to cook. My husband now calls me the Crock Pot Queen. Here is one of the first recipes I made in my crock pot:

Rosemary Lemon Chicken

  1. Place a package of boneless skinless chicken breasts in the slow cooker.
  2. Pour a cup and a half of chicken broth into the slow cooker.
  3. Squeeze the juice of one lemon into the chicken broth. Slice another lemon and place on top of the chicken.
  4. Take springs of rosemary and lay them on top of the chicken.
  5. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  6. Turn crock pot on low and cook up to 8 hours, or on high for approximately 4 hours. Feel free to add garlic or parsley.
  7. Serve over rice.

I have a happy husband every time I make this recipe. And yes, I have a 5-quart Camouflage Crock-Pot. Don’t hate.


Blendtec Total Blender

My Vitamix couldn’t handle me. It broke within a month of having it. I needed something simpler so I exchanged it for a Blendtec Classic 575 Blender. I love my Blendtec. I use it every day to make my morning smoothie. I have also made ice cream, frozen yogurt, pesto, salsa, and soup. It is plunger free, has pre-programmed options, and an 8 year warranty. It is much simpler to use than other blenders, can fit under my counter top, and is dishwasher safe. Here is my daily smoothie recipe:

  1. Fill jar with 20 ounces of filtered water.
  2. Add a handful of washed baby spinach.
  3. Add a banana.
  4. Add strawberries, blueberries, pineapple, and mango. (Fresh or frozen)
  5. Add chia seeds.
  6. Add a few ice cubes.
  7. Add a drop of your favorite essential oil. I like lemon or peppermint. (Contact me to learn more about ingesting essential oils.)
  8. Hit the “Smoothie” option on the Blendtec. Enjoy.

Pressure Cooker

Nope, it won’t explode. I promise. I was afraid of pressure cookers too, until I started using one. It takes 20 minutes to have dinner ready using one of these bad boys. I use the Elite Platinum 8 Quart Electric Pressure Cooker. It has so many programmable options and a browning feature, so you don’t have to dirty another pan. Here is my simple pork chop recipe:

  1. Brown 8 boneless pork chops in pressure cooker. Put aside.
  2. Place washed baby red potatoes in bottom of slow cooker.
  3. Add one roughly chopped white onion.
  4. Add two jars of marinara sauce.
  5. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Add pork chops.
  7. Set pressure cooker for 22 minutes.
  8. Mangia!

Final Thoughts

These are my kitchen lifesavers. If I am not cooking with my pots, pans and utensils, I am making something in the crock-pot or pressure cooker. The Blendtec prepares all of my smoothies, soups, and desserts within minutes. I had absolutely no cooking background and needed equipment and appliances that work efficiently and simply. Now, my husband is happy when he comes home to a nutritious dinner. My mom is proud that I have learned a lifelong skill. I would strongly recommend the above items to anyone who wants to cook delicious meals without hassle.

What items do you use most often? Have a recipe to share? I’d love to hear from you.

Namaste.

From Cereal to the Crock-pot-pint