5-Spice Gumbo with Chinese Sausage, Okra & Shrimp
Of course this bowl of rice and goodness is not a real Gumbo, nor is it an authentic Asian dish... but that doesn't stop it tasting delicious and making a great meal!
The fact is that the ingredients are very similar, even if the flavorings and preparation are quite different- but the resulting blend of tastes and textures is quite similar to the Cajun classic. Only this has a decidedly Chinese twist to it! And one that I think you might enjoy!
With Springtime being delayed this year, and low temperatures being a fact of life, it just seems better to hold back with the salads for a while and stick with the more comforting and warming dishes for a little while longer. That being said... I could eat something as yummy as this any given day of the year!
As with a classic gumbo, the ingredients included celery and carrot, onion (a Spring onion in this case), okra, pepper, shrimp and sausage (Chinese sausage in my version this evening).
I added fresh ginger and cilantro to heighten the Asian accent... and then made the main distinction by using 5-Spice powder, soy and hot Sriracha sauce to add some spice... mmm! Delicious!
Apart for the ginger, which I chopped rather finely, I cut the other ingredients into the same kind of size that you would for a stir-fry- With this dish, it is more about the timing than anything else.
Speaking of which... the first thing I did was to get the rice boiling. I did this in the usual manner, using twice the quantity of water than I had rice, bringing it to a gentle boil for 10 minutes and then turning off the heat and allowing it to finish cooking in its own residual heat... definitely the best way to cook rice!
The method for preparing this dish was simple. I cleaned the shrimp, cut them in two and fried them together with the Chinese sausage at a high heat for 3-4 minutes until they curled-up and began to turn lovely and bright orange-pink, then set them to one side and continued with the res. It would be a shame to let them shrimp over-cook and turn all rubbery on us- but it is good to have that good flavor in the pan before adding the other ingredients and the rice.
I then added the okra and seasoned everything generously with soy sauce- Chinese sausage tends to be rather sweet tasting, so adjust the seasoning as necessary.
Next, I deglazed the pan with a good splash of hot water- enough to cover the bottom of the pan and to bring up all of the good, cooked-in flavors. I added a tablespoon of tomato paste and a good squeeze of Sriracha sauce for a little extra heat- now things were beginning to taste good as well as smell good!
I then added the shrimp back into the mix to bring them up to temperature, the Spring onion and after stirring together and adding more boiling water to keep the mixture moist and juicy, served the finished, stew with a generous scattering of chopped cilantro- lovely!