I know, I owe you, dear reader. I’m working up a piece on the kosher dinner from a while back, a photo follow-up on the Chef Ball, and some other stuff. But I’m so excited about what I made last night and had to share.
I’ve mentioned before a dish I had almost two years ago in Ghana that I’ve craved ever since: Kontomire stew. It took me over a year to locate some of the ingredients I thought were essential (palm oil and agushi seeds), found in central Arkansas at Sam’s Oriental, of all places. Then I made it on a whim last night, without said weird ingredients at hand, in Meat & Seafood class at Pulaski Tech, and it was a.ma.zing!
In class we worked with lobster (yes, we had to stab the poor thing in the head — I somehow skated around it), crab and shrimp (ref.: https://www.ilovecrabs.com/crabs-shipped), and were assigned to create whatever dish we wanted with the shrimp. I thought of the kontomire, which is made with pretty much any protein you want (cubed beef, fish filets, etc.) but works well with seafood.
The chef loved it and gave me a rare 5/5 product rating, and said he would order that dish in a restaurant! Maybe I’ll have it for you to buy someday, but for now, here’s a rough recipe.
- Olive or palm oil
- Small white onion, small dice
- Four cloves garlic, minced
- One or two hot peppers, small dice (I used two jalapeños)
- Two tomatoes, seeded and diced (shock and peel if you want)
- 15 oz. tomato sauce (I’m guessing here…doesn’t have to be exact)
- 2T dried bonito flakes, soaked in 1/4 c. hot water and held (optional if you can’t find it)
- 1 tsp. cayenne powder (or to taste)
- 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
- 8 cups fresh spinach, stems removed, or 1 package frozen spinach, thawed and drained
- 10-12 large raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
Heat about 4T of oil in large pan and add onions. Cook about 5 minutes or until softening and beginning to brown. (Don’t burn!) Add peppers and cook another 5 minutes. Add oil if product gets dry or onions start to burn. Add tomatoes and garlic, and cook for 10-15 minutes, again being careful not to burn the onion and garlic. During this time, when product gets dry, gradually add the bonito flakes and water and stir.
Add the tomato sauce, cayenne and crushed red pepper, and cook for another 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. The mixture will be very thick.
Add the spinach and raw shrimp, cover. Cook until spinach is wilted and shrimp is just cooked through, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to turn shrimp.
Serve with plain white rice, or more traditionally, boiled plantains. Traditionally eaten with the bare right hand, but we’ll let you use a fork. 😉