This is one of those dishes that starts with a product and idea and just builds from there. On my last trip to China, I picked up a variety of teas, most of which I’ve since gifted to friends. However, I kept one for myself, mango oolong tea, because I thought it might be perfect for cooking. Oolong tea has a naturally smoky, earthy flavor and the mango would give it a nice tropical flair. Thus, a recipe was hatched inside my head: tea-poached shrimp with warm mango relish, almond-coconut puree, and celery salad.
I thought long and hard about what flavors, notes, and textures would work well with tea-poached shrimp and settled on a tropical, sweet but zesty warm mango relish (which in my mind is something between a mango salsa and a mango chutney), a creamy, nutty — and, again, tropical — almond-coconut puree, and a bright, fresh celery salad to cut through all the sweetness. It’s tropical, it’s Asian, it’s my latest recipe.
If it sounds too complicated, do not worry. Never worry! I would never send you into battle with a recipe that’s too unwieldy. If you break the dish down by component, it’s really a cinch. See below.
16 shrimps, peeled and deveined
4-5 cups mango oolong tea (you can also use green tea)
For the almond-coconut puree:
½ cup whole blanched almonds
¼ cup olive oil
1/4 cup coconut milk
¼ teaspoon white wine vinegar
Pinch of sugar
For the mango relish:
1 mango, pitted and diced
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 teaspoon serrano chile, minced (deseeded if you want mild spicy)
1/2 cup chopped white onion
1/4 cup (125 mL) white vinegar
1 tablespoon (50 mL) finely chopped peeled gingerroot
1 teaspoon (15 mL) lemon or lime juice
For the celery salad:
3 stalks of celery, sliced thin (mandolin recommended)
1 cup fresh celery leaves (leave whole)
1 teaspoon coriander, crushed and toasted
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
Salt and pepper to taste
- Add the shrimp and tea to a pot and let simmer (do not boil) for about 6 minutes or until shrimp are pink but still have bite.
- While shrimp is poaching, combine all ingredients for the almond-coconut puree into a food processor and puree until you get a thick consistency that’s similar to a thin almond butter. Add more coconut milk if necessary. Set aside.
- Combine all ingredients for the mango relish and sauté for about 5 minutes or until the onions are tender and no longer sharp. Set Aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk the toasted coriander, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and salt and pepper until well combined. Toss with the celery slices.
- Assemble each plate with the almond-coconut puree on the bottom, then the poached shrimp and celery salad, then top with mango relish, and lastly garnish with the fresh celery leaves.