Monday, August 9, 2010

Sweet and Spicy Swahe A La Allen (Sweet and Spicy Shrimp)

We over purchased “swahe’ or small shrimps which we used as live bait in the recent saltwater angling activity we had. Whilst one kilo should have been enough, I had a miscommunication with my cousin and we both ended up buying more than one kilogram each. But that was not really a problem. As we have been doing, we keep the excess bait inside the cooler and cook them later on as an appetizer or main meal upon our return home.

Either “halabos na hipon” or “gambas al ajillo” are proven to be easy sumptuous dishes where such fresh shrimps are just the perfect ingredient. With the addition of few select basic ingredients and a quick pan-frying process, the dish should be ready in no-time.

For several portions of the excess shrimp bait however, my cousin Allen wanted to show off his skill in cooking his version of a sweet and spicy “swahe” to be served as an appetizer or “pulutan” for the boys over a bottle of our favorite drinks. He immediately took over the kitchen to prepare his proven quick-fry recipe which was taught to him by his in-laws in Bulacan (Philippines) where there is an abundance of shrimps, crabs and other delectable seafood supplies from operated/farmed ponds, catering to high market demands of Manila and the environs.

Shrimps are swimming crustaceans found widely around the world in both fresh and salt water. They typically have two pairs of claws and the second segment of the abdomen overlaps the segments on either side. Adult shrimp are filter feeding benthic animals living close to the bottom. They can live in schools and can swim rapidly backwards. Shrimp are an important food source for larger animals from fish to whales making them among the best live baits in angling or sport fishing. Due to its good taste, they are widely caught and farmed intended for human consumption.

To cook his version of sweet and spicy “swahe”, Allen prepared some pretty basic ingredients such as ¼ cup hot sauce, ¼ cup sweet-style catsup, 1 head garlic, peeled and minced, 1 tsp ground freshly ground pepper and about 2 tbsp vegetable oil.

Of course, as the main ingredient of the dish, Allen set aside about 350 grams of the still very fresh “swahe” or small shrimps from the more than one kilogram excess live bait left from our fishing adventure.

The procedures as done by Allen are as follows: In a small thick bottomed pan, heat the oil on medium flame. Stir-fry garlic and when fragrant or aromatic, add in the shrimps. Continue frying until the shrimps are initially cooked through and have uniformly turned to color orange.

Immediately add ground pepper, catsup and hot sauce and continue sautéing until the shrimps are cooked through and sauce has thickened, basically coating each shrimp. Don’t over cook.

Transfer in a medium plate and serve warm as appetizer or as part of the main meal over cups of steamed rice. Be ready with lots of table napkins as eating this with bare hands is proven quite messy. :-)

As intended, we ate this rich, tasty and juicy dish over a bottle of our favorite drinks………while talking about the recently experienced saltwater fishing. It’s quite funny that while we were all there as it happened, we would still be talking about it at home…….for the fun to continue……..until the excitement subsides.

While Allen has failed to catch a big fish in the event, he did score big with this delicious shrimp dish. With such a tasty appetizer, who would care that some of his catch (and mine) are just slightly bigger than the shrimp bait. :-) Enjoy! c“,)

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