I've had it! I'm sick of my snow boots and heavy parka, and find myself desperately clinging to any small speckle of sunshine peeking through the clouds. These scant rays are like an oasis in this urban desert, and cause my mind wander off to warm, tropical destinations with sparkling turquoise water, and glittering beach sands, complete with lush vegetation and a palm tree or two.

Snap back to reality, JRoy, you're in cold, wintry New England. The silver lining of my mean old imagination's oasis trick is that it inspired me to retreat to my cozy warm kitchen, and cook up a taste of tropical Thailand in an attempt to (really) temporarily quench my desire to pack a bag and head to Logan.

Chili Lime Shrimp with Thai Coconut Pan Noodles is a recipe inspired by warmer weather, is quick and super simple to make, and a healthy substitute for the greasy takeout version. If you're yearning for a moment of temporary transport, or just looking for a snappy supper idea, head to the Asian aisle of the grocery store with this recipe in hand.

For added depth of flavor, I've used coconut oil, which is a high-heat cooking oil that infuses food with a subtle hint of the fruit and a layer of richness that you can't achieve with most other cooking oils. If you can't find coconut oil, then regular canola oil will suffice.


Also, if you feel like firing up the barbecue, grilling the shrimp skewers would be a delicious alternative; you'll just need to soak the skewers in water first, and also give your shrimp a little brush of oil before placing them on the grill.

Chili Lime Shrimp

1 lb. colossal (U15) shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 clove garlic, grated

1 tsp. fresh ginger, grated

Juice of 1 lime

1/2 tsp. chili powder

1/4 tsp. salt

Coconut or canola oil


6-8 wooden skewers

1. Combine the shrimp, grated garlic and ginger, lime juice, chili powder, salt and a pinch of pepper in a bowl. Toss to coat the shrimp thoroughly. Marinate 20-30 minutes.

2. Skewer the shrimp, about 3-4 shrimp per skewer.

3. In a medium sauté pan, heat enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan. When the oil is hot, place a few skewers in the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side.

Thai Coconut Pan Noodles

1/2 lb. large rice noodles (the fat flat ones)

1 clove ginger, grated

2 tsp. ginger, grated

1 bunch green onion, finely sliced whites & largely chop greens

1 tablespoon black vinegar (or rice vinegar)

2 tablespoons fish sauce

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tsp. sugar

1 can coconut milk

1/3 cup water

Juice of 1 lime

1 cup bean sprouts

Fresh Thai basil

Coconut or canola oil

1. In a small sauce pan, heat enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan, and sweat garlic ginger, and the whites of the green onion.

2. Stir in vinegar, fish sauce, soy sauce, sugar,

coconut milk and water. Allow to simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20-30 minutes to reduce sauce by about half.

3. Cook noodles according to package directions, gently pat dry with a paper and set aside.

4. In a large sauté pan, heat enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan. When the oil is hot, toss together noodles, sauce and lime juice, and sauté for about a minute so that all the noodles are coated.

5. Serve with Chili Lime Shrimp, fresh bean sprouts, torn Thai basil, and remaining green onion greens.

Jessica Roy is a private chef, specialty caterer and author of foodie blog, Shiso Fresh. Follow her at http://blogs.lowellsun.com/yourpersonalchef.