Welcome to the Islands mon...Jerk Shrimp with Island Rice tastes nice.

“A change in the weather is sufficient to recreate the world and ourselves.” -Marcel Proust

For those of you that were not informed, I just recently returned from a 6 day voyage spent deep in the Caribbean on a trip to the US Virgin Island of St. Croix.  The beginning of my trip was spent working as a private chef & stylist, but as of Saturday at 4PM I was off the clock & basking in all things island.  The stunning setting, fresh fish & comforting sun were enough to make a girl want to pack her bags & make a bee line for the simple life.  You can imagine my aversion upon returning to Chicago's frigid weather & icy snow?  I was more than displeased to exit the O' Hare Airport Baggage Claim, considering the movie "The Terminal" with Tom Hanks, I wondered if anyone would notice me meandering the Starbucks counter until June.  

With less than 2 days under my belt here in this arctic cooler, I was in dyer need of a warm Island reminder.  The fridge in my house had been stocked with perfect ingredients to inspire a meal that would assist in recreating a melting pot of flavors that would transport me back to my sunny sanctuary.  Fresh Shrimp, Bell Peppers, Chili's, Leftover Rice, Peas, Curry, and so on.  My mind was whirling with ideas and I began to cook.  In true island fashion, this recipe is unorganized, scarcely measured, but simply fitting & fabulous.  I apologize if it's hard to follow, just trust your instincts & adjust as you see fit....Don't worry, be happy mon.

Sweet Jerk Shrimp with Warm Pickled Peppers & 
Island Curry Fried Rice
Sweet Jerk Shrimp with Warm Pickled Peppers

  • 2 lbs. Shrimp
  • Spice Blend: Salt, White Pepper, Dry Mustard, Chili Powder, Curry Powder, Ginger, Cayenne
  • 1 clove Garlic grated
  • 2 Scallions chopped
  • 1 Tbs Sesame Seeds
  • 2 Tbs Honey
  • 2 Tbs Sesame Oil
Warm Pickled Peppers
  • 2 Red Bell Peppers Julienned
  • 1 Green Bell Pepper Julienned
  • 1 Small Red Onion Julienned
  • 3 Scallions Diced
  • 2 cloves of Garlic
  • 2 Tbs Sesame Oil
  • 2 Tbs Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 2 Tbs Sugar
  • Salt & White Pepper to taste
First begin by prepping your defrosted or fresh shrimp.  I like to make my spice blend on the side so I can taste it before tossing my protein, this helps to adjust based on the freshness of the spices in your pantry.  Give your blend a small taste and adjust accordingly.  I used about a teaspoon of each listed, except the cayenne, just a pinch or 2.  Allow the shrimp to sit in the dry rub for at least 30 min -1 hour before adding your wet ingredients.  This helps the shrimp to retain moisture & really exhibit the flavors of your spice blend as they soak up all of the tastes you impart.  Cover your shrimp and place in the fridge until you are ready for them to be stir fried.

Add your wet ingredients about 15-30 min before cooking.  Add the grated garlic, sesame oil, sesame seeds, honey, toss.  Be sure to give your shrimp the proper time to mingle before you throw them into the hot pan, this is the secret to this recipe & all my recipes that contain dry rubs or marinades...give ingredients their chance to shine. 

Get your pan or wok screaming hot, add your sesame oil and begin your warm pickled peppers, try to keep the pan on high heat throughout this recipe.  Add your peppers & onions and stir fry for a minute.  Then add your garlic, salt & pepper.  After about 3-5 minutes you will see your vegetables start to get softer.  

Add your rice wine vinegar & sugar to the hot pan.  Make sure you stir them & cook down the vinegar.  This will create a pickling like effect.  Cook for at least 3-5 minutes to cut the acidity of the vinegar & further cook your vegetable mixture.  Remove your peppers & the liquid they create from the heat so you can begin to stir fry your shrimp.

Stir Frying the shrimp should be your last step, so be sure your rice is already made at this point.  Add a dash more sesame oil to your  hot pan and toss in the shrimp.  Cook them for about 2-3 minutes. Once they start to curl I added my pickled peppers back in so all the flavors combine & finish cooking together for about 2-3 more minutes or so depending on the heat of your pan.  Remove from heat and try to serve immediately atop your fried rice.

Island Curry Fried Rice

  • 3 Cups Cooked Rice (For best results use day old rice.)
  • 2 Cups diced Vegetable Blend: = parts White Onion, Carrot, Celery
  • 1 Cup Chopped Ham, Pork, or Bacon 
  • Frozen Peas
  • 4 Scallions Diced
  • 2 Garlic cloves grated
  • Curry Powder
  • Dried Chili 
  • Honey
  • Soy Sauce
  • Sesame Oil
  • Salt & White Pepper 
I made this rice while the shrimp was in the dry rub & put it in the oven on warm until everything was finished.  A lot of the rice I ate on the island was speckled with pork products, and I happened to have some leftover cider smoked ham in my freezer.  You can use bacon, ham, or any leftover protein to begin this rice dish.  Something that lends sweetness like honey or maple will impart the island like flavors we want to compliment the Shrimp.

Get your sesame oil hot, I used about 2 Tbs.  Toss in your chopped ham and cook for 1-2 min.  The ham will start to crisp & turn brown, then add your vegetable blend & stir fry for about 3-5 min.  Once the vegetables begin to soften, but are still crisp add in your garlic, curry powder, & dried chili (You can used crushed red pepper, cayenne or Sriacha if you do not have chili's.).  Use less or more depending on how flavorful you want your rice to be.  Pre Cooking your spices in the sesame oil will toast them & flavor the oil that will permeate your rice.

After about a minute of toasting your spices add in your leftover rice.  Start tossing & stir frying your rice to incorporate everything.  Fry the rice for about 3-5 minutes, constantly tossing, & adding more oil as needed to ensure the rice is coated.  If there is not enough oil the rice will not fry as well.  Once your rice smells like it's toasted or starts to get slightly brown I add about 2 Tbs each of honey & soy sauce.  Coat the rice, then add your frozen peas & chopped scallions.  Stir fry for another 2 min.  Taste and adjust accordingly.  If you like it sweeter, add more honey...more salty, add more soy...more spicy, add more pepper or chili...this is where the dish becomes your own.