Super delicious baby bug shrimp, and a winner!

Now this post is going to look a lot like a love-in. I love you too, I promise. But a while ago, I won the opportunity to name a chicken who lives with my blog buds Mike and Joanna at midwesternbite.com. I named her Mistress Billington, because she’s a Plymouth Rock chicken and Mistress Billington was a famous pilgrim. I nearly named her Hayley Wickenheiser after the best women’s hockey player in the world (truth, says it in Wikipedia) mostly because she happens to be Canadian and Mike and Joanna happen to be American and I was hoping to make them say Wickenheiser a lot. And after this most recent Olympics I kind of wish I had named Mistress Billington Wickenheiser because our hockey “chicks” kicked some serious ass coming from behind to win the gold medal in a game that nearly made me pee my pants with excitement (Americans are thinking wait a minute, this just stopped being a love-in. Sorry, couldn’t resist!).

Back to the love-in. So I named their chicken. Then Joanna read my book and wrote an awesome review on her blog and did a giveaway of my book. Then I announced a cookbook giveaway for my 100th blog post, where entrants had to guess what this mysterious veggie was:

Weird food

Joanna guessed that it was a bamboo shoot which gave her two entries, and her husband Mike replied with tons of great information about them. Then Aly at fudgingahead threw Joanna a virtual baby shower, and I contributed a bunch of weird baby foods (although if you found me by Googling and hoped to find “baby foods,” you may have come to the wrong place). And today I cooked one of those weird baby foods, and it was surprisingly delicious, so stay tuned.

But. Considering all this, you would think that one of the MidwesternBite dream team couldn’t possibly win my giveaway of a gorgeous textbook for weird foodies like me…

odd_bits_cover_l

Because it would look like favouritism. But you’d be wrong. Because tonight, it was Mike’s name that was ceremoniously chosen by my kids from the head of the At-at:

Draw winnerMike winnerSo congratulations Mike! And sorry to everyone else if you’re feeling left out. There’s some goat in my freezer with your name on it if you happen to be in the neighbourhood. I have to admit that I’m glad Mike won, not only because I am confident he will use this book to shock poor pregnant Joanna with odd bits of animals that he won’t fully explain until she has consumed them, but also because my daughter said, “I know it will be the prettiest one who wins,” and I knew Mike would enjoy being the prettiest competitor. Thanks to all who entered, but clearly it’s the Noxema girls who get noticed.

And now for the continuation of Joanna’s baby shower post… (love in). Some of those baby foods that I bought happened to be wee dried crustaceans that were pretty much insects. Mosquitoes that swim. In my last post I called them sea monkeys.

Dried shrimp

That’s a lot of sea monkeys. There has been quite a delay since my last post because I was procrastinating these wee aqua insects specifically. They had that smell, and I didn’t know how I would ever overcome it. You know the smell? Have you ever been to a Chinatown and walked past bins of dried fish, and it smells like a mixture of ancient Captain Highliner and mothballs? Yeah. When you soak them for an hour and try one or two, they taste like they smell. I had to swish my mouth with beer very quickly, and I was already quite hung over. I told myself I needed to disinfect my tongue with the alcohol. The sacrifices I make for this blog…

My friend had mentioned that eating small dried shrimp whole was a good texture thing, though, and I found a cool Malaysian recipe that talked about banana leaves and sticky rice – looky looky, three dangerous foods in one! I even found black “glutinous” rice – it doesn’t have gluten in it, but it’s sticky and so “glue”-like.

Black glutenous rice

Glutinous rice

As I surfed around, many of the recipes urged not to substitute the banana leaves because they give great flavour. I was lucky to have found them in the freezer section of my sketchy Asian grocery store. And they don’t come small.

Banana leaves

Should be more than enough for a few sticky rice rolls, no? I was still chicken about the dried shrimp, so I made half the batch with fresh shrimp and the other half with the dried. If you can believe it, beyond a little extra crunch with the dried shelled shrimp, there wasn’t much of a difference. And despite my skepticism, the whole thing tasted fantastic. Here’s how it went down:

Rempah Udang (Spicy glutinous rice rolls with dried shrimp)

(makes about 10 hearty rolls. Make sure you have time to soak everything ahead)

  • 400g (2C) glutinous rice
  • 375mL coconut milk
  • 1tsp salt
  • 1tsp sugar (coconut sugar is ideal)
  • knotted pandan leaves (I had to omit because I couldn’t find them)

filling:

  • 100g (1/2C) dried shrimps (or same of fresh)
  • 70g dried coconut
  • 1C coconut milk

seasoning:

  • 1/4tsp salt
  • 1/2tsp coconut sugar
  • dash of pepper
  • splash of fish sauce

ground flavourings:

  • 4 shallots
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 stalk lemon grass, sliced fine
  • 2 candlenuts (pine nuts can be substituted. I omitted it all)
  • 1tsp chili powder

banana leaves. You’ll have more than enough.

Directions: 

1. Rinse the dried shrimp and rice (separately) until the water runs clear. Let the shrimp soak for at least 1/2 hour, and the rice soak for 4 hours.

2. Mix the rice, coconut milk, salt and sugar together and steam it on high 30 minutes and low 30 more minutes. Sprinkle with water if liquids evaporate too quickly and keep going.

3. Lightly fry the shrimps until aromatic and set aside. Fry the ground flavourings and add the shrimp back. Add the dried coconut and coconut milk and cook until dry.

4. Rinse the banana leaves. Lay a wee handful of cooked rice in line along the end of the banana leaf. Add shrimp filling.

Rempah udang

Roll the leaf over to cover it into a lengthwise roll, and then tuck the ends under and secure with a toothpick.

5. Fry (or grill) the banana leaf packet. C’est tout!

Grilled spicy glutinous rice rolls

Results: I never would have believed that something that smelled rank fishy would wind up being delicious. Those Malaysians know what they’re doing! Give it a try. I bet the coconut is even half healthy, but it tastes decadent. The banana leaves do give a beautiful floral flavour. This dish takes time, but it’s fancy-tasty. Rating: 4 Yums  You might even put down your entrails cookbook to go for this recipe, and I’d serve it to either of the two Canadian gold medal winning hockey teams any day.

Hey, as an aside, I just did this post on my new Macbook! Despite having to Google “how to scroll,” the whole thing went quite well!

Comments

  1. Leave a Reply

    Trevor aka The Burger Nerd
    March 2, 2014

    So lets see….we have references to a chicken being named after Pilgrims, Canadian Olympic Hockey, a book giveaway, a baby shower, star wars (I want to steal your kid’s toys), baby shrimp that smell like hobo shoes found in a Red Lobster dumpster, and a tasty Malaysian recipe….and yet, all those elements just seamlessly meld together. Such a fun article. Glad you were able to find a great way to put those little seahorses to use and it really looks quite delicious too!

    • Leave a Reply

      Ann Allchin
      March 2, 2014

      Yes, who knew dumpster seahorses were good eating? Every kid in the neighbourhood loves that at-at. It yells Star Wars sayings and everything. That toy may be my parenting legacy. 🙂

      • Leave a Reply

        Trevor aka The Burger Nerd
        March 2, 2014

        Yells Star Wars sayings?!?!?!? Errrmahgerd!!! Okay, now I’m definitely stealing the toy — or I could go out and buy one like a responsible adult. I’ll guess I’ll choose option #2 so your toys are safe………………for now.

        • Leave a Reply

          Ann Allchin
          March 2, 2014

          eBay solves those kinds of issues. I could totally see you playing out some rescue scenarios between burger bites

          • Trevor aka The Burger Nerd
            March 3, 2014

            The only problem is, once I get the At-At, I’ll need to get the Scout Walker and once I get that I’ll need an X-Wing fighter to do battle with. Then of course I need some action figures to pilot them (these things don’t drive themselves ya know!)….then next thing I know I have a room full of Star Wars and a table full of divorce papers lol.

          • Ann Allchin
            March 3, 2014

            Proceed with care. Even one wookie can be a slippery slope

  2. Leave a Reply

    Heather @ What Does She Do All Day?
    March 2, 2014

    I stand by my original comment. “Give the book to Joanna.” I look forward to hearing about what she makes first, though I suspect she’ll be too busy/tired to cook any odd bits for a while…….

    • Leave a Reply

      Ann Allchin
      March 2, 2014

      I think this will be the book that brings the Joanna and Mike worlds together. His research and hate for throwing things out, her addiction to cookbooks and love of food… The only drawback will be when he tries to make her eat brains. I may have just lost two followers, actually

  3. Leave a Reply

    Mike
    March 2, 2014

    1. Huzzah! You have no idea how giddy I am to read this. Sometimes Joanna will send me a link to enter some giveaway for something I don’t care about and I usually refuse to enter. This one kicks ass and I was all in. Thanks!!!

    2. Force or no, Luke should’ve had some serious injuries dropping from the ginormous At-At after grenading its innards.

    3. Majorly impressed you attempt dangerous cooking while hung over. I usually attempt to shower, and fail.

    4. Even hungover, non-showered Mike is still oh so pretty. It’s a curse, really. I wish someone would love me for my witty inappropriate innuendo blog titles and not just the pretty face.

    • Leave a Reply

      Ann Allchin
      March 2, 2014

      Well, we all know that beauty is a curse. And congrats on your winnings, and more importantly, on the arrival of your new wee midwestern foodie!! Guess you’ll be feeding hearts and gizzards to a new mom rather than a preggo one like I mentioned in the post!!

  4. Leave a Reply

    Aly
    March 5, 2014

    My in-laws make these for us all the time, and then we freeze them and cook them when we get the chance. They throw in peanuts, dried scallops, some sort of pork thing, and salted egg yolks. They use twine around the leaves to keep everything together, and it’s fun to cut the twine and untwirl them when cooked. 🙂 I bet the shrimp would be great in this, but I can also imagine the smell you described. Bleck! Haha.

    • Leave a Reply

      Ann Allchin
      March 5, 2014

      Ooh, dried scallops and pork things! Yes please! I’ve been eating these all week. Freezing would have been a better plan

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