Victor was perusing the latest issue of Milk Street Magazine when he came across a recipe that piqued his interest – Shrimp with Mango, Coconut and Mustard Seeds.

As luck would have it, I needed to do some shopping, so…ingredients we didn’t have on hand became on hand. Funny how that happens…

I generally like Milk Street recipes, although I sometimes think they’re a bit more complicated than they need to be. This is not one of them! Having done a bit of cooking in my life, I understand the workings of commercial kitchens and the necessity of having numerous ingredients for numerous dishes in numerous states of preparation. When consistency is paramount, having everyone combine ingredients in very specific ways is of the utmost importance. And writing a cookbook is the same thing – everyone reading the cookbook must be able to reproduce the recipe the same way – every time.

That’s one of the main reasons I’m not a good recipe writer. I rely too much on instinct and not enough on method or steps – or quantities, for that matter… I can open a refrigerator and cook dinner with what I find, but explaining it is not going to make much sense – and the odds of the stars aligning in the future with the same ingredients in the same amounts are between slim and none.

And when I do come across a recipe that sounds intriguing, I invariably read it as a guide and cook what I want. It can lead to some interesting meals…

Other than changing a few amounts, I dd make this one pretty close to the original recipe.


Shrimp and Mango with Coconut

adapted from Milk Street

  • 12 oz extra-large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed or other neutral oil
  • 1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon brown mustard seeds
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 1 Fresno or jalapeño chili, stemmed, seeded and minced
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 large ripe mango, peeled, pitted and cut into rough ½-inch cubes, or 8 ounces  frozen mango chunks, thawed
  • Juice and zest of 1 lime
  1. In a medium bowl, toss the shrimp, turmeric and a pinch of salt; set aside.
  2. In a 12-inch skillet over medium, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown. Add the mustard seeds, ginger, garlic and half of the chili; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  3. Stir in the coconut, mango and 1 cup water, then bring to a simmer. Reduce to medium-low and cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until the mango is soft and most of the water has evaporated, 6 to 8 minutes.
  4. Using a fork, mash the mango until mostly smooth but with some chunks, then stir in the shrimp.
  5. Cook, uncovered, over medium, stirring only once or twice, until the shrimp are opaque throughout, 5 to 6 minutes.
  6. Off heat, stir in the remaining chili and the lime zest and juice. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

It was a hit. Probably a bit more coconut than needed, but it still worked. The lime at the end was perfect, and cooking the shrimp in the sauce just before serving made for perfect shrimp.

I imagine grilling the shrimp and stirring it into the sauce right before serving – or set atop the sauce after plating it over rice – would also be great ways to serve…

We shall see what happens next time we have this!