My mom was in town visiting and I decided it would be a great idea if I treated her to a little bit of some “Dinner with Jamie” action in my kitchen. I offered her the option to choose a recipe from Jamie’s cookbook but she decided she wanted to be surprised and let me choose what dish to cook.
I thumbed through the pages of the cookbook, trying to decide which recipe my mom would like best. I wasn’t sure if I should pick a recipe which had ingredients she couldn’t easily get in Hong Kong, or something that contained her favorite foods. Or what if I surprised her with a dish she would never expect me to like, let alone make?
In the end, I went with the element of surprise.
I was a notoriously picky eater as a child. The only meats I would touch were chicken and pork, the only fish tuna and salmon. I liked clams, but not shrimp. I liked strawberries, but not pears. I liked Chinese water spinach cooked with pungent fermented bean curd, but not ordinary green beans. I refused to eat any cuisine besides Italian or the Chinese food my mom cooked at home. In short, I was a total pain in the butt as a kid and I’m surprised I emerged from my childhood scurvy-free. Or that my mom bothered trying to feed my ungrateful mouth anything at all.
I’m a lot better with food now, thankfully. A LOT better. I’ll eat just about anything, barring stuff like feet or intestines. My expanded palate is not something my mom has totally adjusted to, considering that I started expanding what types of food I ate after I moved out of home.
So, I surprised her with this southern Indian seafood and rice soup for dinner.
Her eyes almost bugged out of her head when I told her what I was making for dinner. “INDIAN FOOD?” she asked. “You like that now? And SHRIMP??”
“Yes, Mom,” I said. “I also like eggplant now, too. Have I told you that?”
Eggplant is one of my mom’s favorite vegetables, but it was yet another vegetable I hated as a child.
“I’m glad you eat many more foods now,” my mom told me as we sat side by side, eagerly tucking into our steaming bowls of this aromatic, hearty soup. “Because this is very, very good.”
Southern Indian Seafood and Rice Soup
Adapted from Jamie’s Dinners | Serves 8
- 5 tbsp coconut oil
- 3 tbsp mustard seed
- 2 tsp garam masala
- 1 tbsp curry powder
- 1 tbsp dried chili flakes
- 2 tsp turmeric
- 2 tsp ginger powder
- 2 onions, minced
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups basmati rice
- 2 cups water
- 1 lb white fish, sliced into small pieces
- 1 lb shrimp, deveined and peeled
- 32 oz coconut milk
- A handful fresh cilantro
- Lime juice
- In a stock pot, heat the coconut oil. Add the mustard seed, garam masala, curry powder, chili flakes, turmeric and ginger powder. Cook the aromatics in the hot oil for a minute or two.
- Add the onion and garlic. Cook for a few minutes until the onions are soft.
- Add the basmati rice and water. Bring the water to a boil and then let simmer for 15 minutes.
- Add the fish, shrimp and coconut milk. Cover and let simmer for 10 minutes, or until the rice is cooked.
- Tear up the fresh cilantro and add to the soup, saving some for garnish. Season the soup with salt and pepper. Serve into bowls with a squeeze of fresh lime juice in each serving.