Asian-style Steamed Shrimp and Mushroom Parcels, spiced with ginger, tamarind, lemongrass and cilantro, and then wrapped in parchment paper and steamed to perfection with green tea leaves. Unbelievable flavor and aroma in one amazing little pouch. And very easy to make. You do NOT want to miss out on this one!
After three days of Thanksgiving leftovers, I’m ready to have something other than turkey. If you feel the same way, then this is absolutely what you should be making next. This meal is all about taste and aroma – and that’s flavor. Incredible flavor! Shrimp and shiitake mushroom, marinated in a ginger, tamarind, lemongrass and cilantro mix and then wrapped in parchment paper and steamed with green tea leaves until perfectly cooked. These Asian-style Steamed Shrimp and Mushroom Parcels are a restaurant-quality meal that you can make in the comfort of your home with minimal hassle.
Seriously, these are unbelievably easy to make. Marinate, parcel, steam – that’s it. The shrimp is delicate yet crisp, not at all rubbery or chewy. It goes perfectly with some cooked plain white rice, because oh baby, there’s so much flavor here, you won’t need anything else.
Honestly, one of my favourite things in the world to eat is perfectly cooked shrimp (or prawns like we call them in NZ and Australia). It’s something I used to eat a lot back in Sri Lanka too, and I’ve got quite a few ways in which I cook shrimp/prawns. Spiced and steamed prawn parcels however is probably my favourite way to cook them. I used a bamboo steamer here but any kind of steamer will do. I never really used to measure how much of each spice I put in, it was just a beautiful concoction of flavours that came together as I went. But don’t worry, I did measure everything for this recipe, just for you guys. 🙂
So why parchment parcels? This is a cooking method that the French call En Papillotte or al cartoccio in Italian, meaning “cooked in parchment/foil”. When it comes to fish and seafood, the volatile aromas and flavours can be easily lost with frying, grilling or most standard ways of cooking. But wrapping them in parchment paper and steaming them to perfection in parcels ensure that you trap all of those wonderful aromas, flavours and moisture in the food so that nothing is lost.
And you can add a variety of herbs and spices to flavour them naturally even more. Seriously, this recipe is more of a guide. You like ginger? So add a little more. You don’t have green tea? Leave it out. You like it spicy? Add some more chili flakes or crushed red pepper. This recipe is super versatile and as long as you like the taste of your marinade, your final dish will be insanely delicious.
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I usually get a bit picky about the shrimp/prawns I use for this recipe. The fresher, the better (well, duh). So whenever I get my hands on some good quality shrimp, this is almost always the final result. Mr K absolutely loves it too and he even requested this for dinner on his birthday last month! 🙂
I did make one change when I made this for his b’day. I was lucky enough to win some AMAZING Teasenz tea packets when I entered a giveaway on the blog – Bam’s Kitchen. I was so excited to win because I knew I could use it in a variety of ways in my cooking (and drink!). I loved the beautiful, subtle flavour of the West Lake Dragon Well green tea and thought it would work well with the spiced shrimp. Since shrimp is so delicate in flavour and absorbs additional flavours really well, I knew the tea would hold up deliciously in this dish. So while the tea is optional, I certainly recommend it. The tea addition in this recipe gave me another level of delicate, citrussy smokiness. Amazing.
Asian-style Steamed Shrimp and Mushroom ParcelsPrint
- 32-40 medium-sized raw shrimps cleaned and deveined (8-10 shrimps per person, about 1 lb in all)
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- 8 large shiitake mushrooms fresh or dried
- 4-6 tsp of green tea leaves
- 4 large pieces of parchment paper
- 5 lemongrass stalks white part only, sliced roughly (or 5 tbsp minced lemongrass)
- ½ tbsp chili flakes/crushed red pepper 1 tbsp if you like it spicy, I used 1 tbsp for this recipe
- 2 tbsp tamarind juice
- 1 inch piece ginger
- 2-3 spring onions root trimmed and chopped roughly
- Handful of cilantro leaves
- 2 tbsp light soy sauce
- 4 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 tsp ground coriander seed
- salt to taste
- Extra sliced spring onions cilantro and chili flakes
- Pat dry the shrimp to remove excess moisture and set aside in a bowl.
- In a mini processor, add all the ingredients of the marinade and process to form a paste. Add 2 tbsp of oil and process further until smooth. Taste the marinade and add some salt if needed.
- Add the baking soda to the marinade and mix to combine. Next add the marinade to the shrimps and mix well to coat. Cover and set aside for 30 minutes to marinate.
- If you are using dried shiitake mushrooms, place these in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Let the mushrooms hydrate for about 20 minutes, or until fully hydrated.
- Drain the water and then hold the mushrooms under cold running water to let them cool down a little and then squeeze out the excess water in the mushrooms (be careful as the absorbed water will be hot).
- Cut mushrooms into thick slices and set aside.
- When ready to make the parcels, divide green tea leaves evenly into four groups and place them on the parchment papers. Next divide the shrimp into four groups as well and place them on the tea leaves (about 8-10 shrimps per parcel). Place sliced mushrooms next to the shrimp. Divide the remaining marinade evenly between the four parcels.
- Fold over the parchment paper carefully to create parcels, making sure that none of the marinade/juices will come out when being steamed.
- Bring a pot of water to a boil, with a steamer on top (I used a tiered bamboo steamer). When the water comes to a boil, reduce heat and simmer.
- Place the shrimp parcels in the steamer and steam (covered) for 15-20 minutes (if you're using a tiered steamer, the top tier takes a little longer than the bottom).
- Serve with cooked white rice, with some chopped spring onions, cilantro and chili flakes.
Please remember to check where your prawns / shrimps are being sourced from. Make sure they are not being imported from countries that use slave labour.
One of the things I enjoy the most about a dish like this is opening up that parcel. Just imagine, you’re sitting in a fancy restaurant and then you get a meal with a pouch like this and then you open it up right there on your plate and you find out what’s inside and you’re hit with that delicious aroma all at once. That’s what sets my salivary glands on fire. The anticipation of it, and the combination of aromas and taste that complete the flavour profile. The fresh, earthy flavours of ginger, tamarind, lemongrass and cilantro, the citrus flavour of lemon, the delicate, almost tannin-like flavour and smokiness of tea, with perfectly steamed shrimp and mushrooms… plus the tea leaves that I’ve added here are edible as well. All this on a plate of cooked white rice that soaks up all the juices in the parcel. And it’s all so easy to make. Your family will absolutely love this too!
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