Lisa and Ivonne are having a patio party to celebrate the last days of Summer – La Festa al Fresco 2007 event. All one had to do to join in on the fun is to prepare a dish that features a fresh local ingredient.
Whenever the “Hungry” hubby and I drive through the back roads on a beautiful sunny day, we pass through a lot of cornfields. I am also pleased to see that the supermarket I go to features locally grown produce so prominently at the entrance to the store. Seems like a popular movement of “eating local” is sweeping my city.
I am not certain about the name of this dish. My sister-in-law said that it was called “swami” – so that name kind of stuck. I remember loving this dish when I first started working in Manila. The cook in the apartment I lived in made this frequently on Fridays (when we were not supposed to eat meat). I really enjoyed it, especially when eaten with a fried fish called “galunggong” and a bowl of steaming white rice.
I never got the recipe from her when I moved to the United States so for almost 8 years, I could only dream about this dish but I had never brought myself to try and figure out how it was made. Finally, 2 years ago, I had casually described to my visiting sister-in-law this shrimp-corn dish that I had been craving.
“ You mean, swami?!” she exclaimed” I know how to make that!”
To say that I was thrilled was an understatement. It was pretty easy to make so I have no idea why I had never attempted to make this before then.
The only time-consuming part of this recipe is in the grating of the corn.
Swami (Shrimp with Corn)
3 ears corn (white preferred)
1 lb. shrimp (raw, medium, shell on, with heads preferred)
½ bulb garlic (crushed)
½ bulb onion (diced)
2 tbs fish sauce
1 bunch spinach
Use knife to further scrape corn into 2 cups of water and soak the corn rind in the same water.
Use the corn water to boil shrimp shells.
Saute garlic (with a little skin) and diced onion. Add shrimp and the fish sauce and sauté until the smell of fish sauce is almost gone.
Add grated corn. Use corn water to adjust consistency.
Add spinach when ready to serve.
Grate white pepper if desired.
For the longest time, I was wondering why some dishes I cooked with garlic did not taste the same as the ones prepared from back home (Philippines). It turned out that I was not including some garlic skin when I was sautéing it. The skin adds a new dimension to the flavor of garlic, it intensifies the “garlicness” and adds a nuance of sweetness to it.
The type of corn you use also affects the amount of corn-water that you add. Yellow corn tends to thicken the dish a lot, while white corn gives a certain soupiness that I prefer.
If you are not squeamish, and if they are available, do get head-on shrimps. There’s nothing like stock made from shrimp heads – it really makes a difference to the depth of flavor to the food you prepare with it.