Sweet Orange-Glazed Shrimp with Cardamom
This winter was milder than usual here in Greece. Not much snow like other years, relatively high temperatures and lots of sunshine. When the calendar showed March 1, the spring seemed to have arrived already. This meant that we could start again our long walks in a grove nearby, breathing fresh air, enjoying the scent of pines. It’s so relaxing and therapeutic, walking with your other half, discussing, sharing, dreaming, isn’t it?
We also took the opportunity to visit an Athenian beach, pictures of which you can see in this post. We were the only people there during this season and really enjoyed the uninterrupted sound of the sea. To get there, we drove up the mountain Penteli, where the view of the city below on one side, and the bay on the other, was breathtaking.
This weather is perfect for celebrating Easter, which is a few days away. Most of us take a few days off to visit the countryside during this period. Last year, we published an extensive post for Greek Easter traditions in this recipe for Tsoureki sweet bread. We think you’ll really enjoy reading it if you missed it. Also, if you’re looking for a classic Greek recipe for lamb (that’s very popular in Easter), you can find it in this post.
Fusion cuisine: using the best of each culture
In the last month, we cooked various new recipes. We wanted to invent new ways of cooking classic dishes of various cuisines and see what happens. We tried a lot of spices and techniques and some of the results were truly amazing!
Of course, we know that most of the people who visit the blog prefer the traditional Greek and Mediterranean recipes, so we’ll keep this as in focus, but from time to time we’ll share some of these fusion recipes. We think you’re going to love some of them!
Sweet orange-glazed shrimp recipe with cardamom
In one of our experiments, we wanted to see if we could take a classic Asian-style recipe for shrimp and use Mediterranean and Middle-Eastern/Indian ingredients to make it. The result surprised us; it was one of the best recipes for shrimp. Ever.
The recipe is similar to some “firecracker” shrimp recipes we had tried in the past. However, the flavors are quite different. We used balsamic vinegar, which adds depth of flavor to the dish and its tang balances out the sweetness from the -also added- honey. We also used orange juice and zest, for its fruity, fresh flavor. These three are classic ingredients of the Mediterranean.
The Middle-Eastern/Indian ingredient was cardamom. Cardamom is an amazing spice that was used in ancient Greece but nowadays you will rarely find it in any Greek recipe. In India and the Middle East, however, it’s still present in many dishes. Cardamom has a sweet, complex scent, with floral, clove and pepper undertones. If you haven’t used it before, you’re in for a treat! It’s perfect for savory dishes like curries or stews and it’s amazing for baking as well (cardamom cakes are fantastic with tea). You can buy cardamom in pods, crush them open and grind the seeds with pestle and mortar. This is the best way to enjoy its flavor and takes less than a minute to prepare. You can also buy it already ground, but we find this less aromatic.
We used shrimp for this recipe, as we were on Lent, but you can definitely use the same sauce with a diced chicken fillet or a chicken fillet cut into thin strips. Shrimp is a healthier choice though and we think it also tastes better with this sauce.
The recipe can be used as a quick, delicious appetizer or a main dish. Just cook and fluff some rice first and serve the shrimp on top. Basmati and Jasmine work best. It will be an ideal super-fast weeknight meal that will put a smile on your face. If you’re having this as a main, and you’d like more sauce, you can easily double the ingredients (except the shrimp and cornstarch).
So, let’s see how to make this sweet, aromatic, orange-glazed shrimp with cardamom!
- 500g / 17.5oz / 1lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 45g / 1.6oz (6 tablespoons) cornstarch
- 125ml (1/2 cup) fresh orange juice (1 large orange)
- 30ml (2 tablespoons) balsamic vinegar
- 30ml (2 tablespoons) honey
- 5-6 cardamom pods (or 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- salt, pepper
- vegetable oil for frying
Rinse the shrimp and pat dry using paper towels.
Use pestle and mortar to crush the 5 cardamom pods (pic. 1, pic. 2). Extract the seeds (pic. 3) and grind them to powder (pic. 4).
Add the cornstarch (pic. 5) in a large bowl; place the shrimp on top, adding salt and pepper (pic. 6). Mix well to coat well with cornstarch. In case they turn out a little soggy at this point, do not worry. They will fry just fine.
Pour vegetable oil in a frying pan (about 1.5cm / half an inch) and place on medium-high heat. You can also use a nonstick pan for better results. Once the oil is hot, fry the shrimp in batches (pic. 7), about 2 minutes, then flip them (pic. 8) and continue frying for about a minute and a half more. They are ready when they’re golden brown on both sides. Once they all fry, set aside.
Pour the orange juice into a medium-sized saucepan and add the balsamic vinegar (pic. 9). Add the honey (pic. 10).
Add the ground cardamom (pic. 11) and the garlic (pic. 12), salt and pepper.
Use a whisk to mix the ingredients (pic. 13) and place over medium heat, for 7-10 minutes (depending on the heat), stirring from time to time, until it’s reduced, at least by half. You can reduce it to your desired syrupy consistency, thicker or thinner. At this point, add the orange zest (pic. 14) and mix.
The result will be a thick sauce, like the one in the pic. 15. Dip the shrimp in the sauce in batches and serve over a bed of rice, garnishing with extra orange zest.
1. You can make this sauce as thick or thin as you prefer. The first try you make this try to reduce the original volume of the sauce at least by half.
2. You can also use ground cardamom, but freshly ground seeds from pods are always more flavorful.
3. In case your shrimp-cornstarch-salt-pepper mix turns out soggy do not worry. It happened to us sometimes in the past and the shrimp fries just fine.
4. Prefer basmati or jasmine rice to serve this shrimp.
Did you like this recipe?
Enter your email and get more authentic recipes like this, as soon as they're published; directly in your mailbox.
Plus: FREE printable PDFs for your kitchen with the seasonal veggies & fruits and more!