I finally did it. It took twelve years but I finally made a dinner and Karen didn’t need to add any pepper sauce. My secret ingredient:
Now you know why. This is the pepper sauce that Karen puts on everything. No, not everything. Not stuff like Italian food or the boring white people food that I prepare. This stuff is dynamite, trust me. She puts 5-6 drops of it in her food and she’s good to go. They don’t mess around with pepper sauce in Trinidad, and until now I’ve never opened up a jar or a bottle of it. I’m afraid to.
Actually she prefers the homemade pepper sauce from a friend of her mother, but when that’s not available there’s Chatak. One word: ZOWEEEE.
So I found this recipe for shrimp cakes and I thought it looked good. Then I got down to the part where it says it needs hot sauce. We don’t have what typically passes for “hot sauce” in our house. Tabasco is like ketchup to this girl, we only carry the good stuff. So I used a teaspoon of Chatak for what turned out to be 10 cakes. I didn’t have time to make the corn & avocado salsa so I used some vegetable – penne medley Karen had made the night before. I’d had these grandiose plans for making corn chowder to go with it but by the time this was done the kids were already in bed. So here it is, my moment of triuph where Karen says “Wow, this doesn’t even need pepper!”
I’d like to thank Cooking Light magazine for the idea, and Chatak pepper sauce for being in my fridge but most of all I’d like to thank Karen for advising me to not use as much as the recipe called for. If you want to know how I made it, click <more>.
My shrimp cake recipe
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
3 tablespoons reduced-fat mayonnaise
juice from 1 lime
1 teaspoon Chatak Lime pepper sauce
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
3/4 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs), plus more for coating
To prepare cakes, place shrimp in a food processor; pulse 10 times or until finely chopped. Set aside.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add bell pepper to pan; sauté 3 minutes. Add garlic to pan; sauté for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Place bell pepper mixture in a large bowl. Add shrimp, green onions, and the next 6 ingredients (through egg), stirring well. Stir in cilantro and panko.
Divide shrimp mixture into 10 equal portions, shaping each portion into a 1/2-inch-thick patty. Dredge both sides of patties in remaining panko. Chill at least one hour. (apparently if you don’t chill them they won’t stick together in the pan)
Heat pan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add 5 cakes to pan; cook 4 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove from pan; cover and keep warm. Repeat procedure with remaining cakes.
Keep a fire extinguisher nearby for your tongue.