Extremely tasty, fast to make and easy enough to spice it to your liking: a hit in our family—or, at least, with my husband, our toddler and me. Our 19-year-old housemate/student/my sister-in-law was a little less enthusiastic as she has issues looking at shrimp on her plate. If shrimp are submerged in soup, mind you, she can easily gobble them up and ask for another helping (like with the Restaurant-style ginger-scented shrimp and mushroom soup), but there is something about seeing shrimp curled up on her plate that turns her off. For the record, she doesn’t do well with having a whole fish, head and all, on her plate, either.
Before preparing this recipe I put on the rice: cinnamon-scented basmati rice as suggested in the sidebar. All I needed to do was add a stick of cinnamon to the rice as it was cooking. Easy peasy and its fragrance filled the house. I don’t recall ever having had warm cucumber before. I used English cucumber for this recipe, as the lovely Ontario field cucumbers aren’t yet in season. I cut it lengthwise, as instructed, scraped out the seeds and discarded them (into my mouth). I wasn’t sure, yet, why I needed to scrape out the seeds but I had faith that it must be for a very good reason.
This meal was absolutely delicious. I saw why the innards of the cucumber should be discarded—their juices would have diluted the perfectly seasoned shrimp and vegetables. Warm cucumber—without the seeds—tasted like a new vegetable to me. My husband loved this dish as well. But after a few bites, he (predictably) asked my permission to add some hot sauce. It’s not that I don’t allow him to season his food; it’s just that I want him to taste things first to see if he even needs to alter it! I know he’s not the only husband in the world like this.
I was impressed with how our two-year-old skillfully fed himself. I wasn’t sure how he would take to the cinnamon-infused rice but he carefully spooned himself generous portions with, incredibly, very little spillage. He left none of his dinner untouched: shrimp, yellow pepper, cucumber, basil. I even checked under the table around his high chair and in his catch-all bib (where items as large as half a slice of pizza have been found), but there were only a few grains of rice left. He loved it!