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Cheetie Kumar's Shrimp & Green Beans with Coconut-Lentil Chili Crisp
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Cheetie Kumar's Shrimp & Green Beans with Coconut-Lentil Chili Crisp
Photo: Juli Leonard

We're thrilled to share that two of our favorite rockstar friends, James Beard Award-nominated Chef Cheetie Kumar of Garland and cellist Joe Kwon of The Avett Brothers, led a spectacular Sunday supper cook-along with My Home, NC! On Sunday, July 19, they took over the My Home, NC Instagram for a live cooking tutorial; Cheetie shared how to make her scrumptious shrimp and green beans with coconut-lentil chili crisp, a special favorite from Garland!

We've shared the full recipe below; follow along, and if you're trying your hand at Cheetie's recipe, share your photos by tagging us on Instagram using #homenc! Cheetie offered a few tips for making this scrumptious South Indian shrimp dish below:

"It might sound strange to pair lentils with shrimp, but this recipe doesn’t use legumes in the way most people are accustomed to eating them. It’s quite common in (particularly South) Indian recipes to use a small amount of dry-toasted, raw lentils at the start of a recipe to boost a nutty aroma and lend a little texture to a stew, sauce or a quick stir fry."

"Though you may need to make a trip to the Indian market to source some of the ingredients needed for this recipe, all but the curry leaves will last for a while. Stock up on good, quality peppercorns, whole spices such as coriander (and cumin), small brown mustard seeds, Kashmiri chilis (or Kashmiri chili powder), a small bag of urad dal and a couple of packs of frozen grated coconut. I thaw ½ a bag or so at a time, toast it in the oven at 350 degrees and keep it sealed to have on hand for a fun textural component in salads, curry pastes, toppings and stir fries—as witnessed in this recipe. Don’t be intimidated by the size of the ingredient list. It all comes together in under 30 minutes!"

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • ¾-1 pound green beans, trimmed of ends
  • 2 tbsp urad dal (split black gram lentils) and/or yellow split peas (channa dal)
  • 1 ½ tsp whole black peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp whole coriander seeds
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil (extra virgin preferred)
  • 1 good sized sprig curry leaf (about 12-15 individual leaves)
  • 2-3 Indian dried chiles
  • 1 tsp brown mustard seeds
  • 1 med large shallot (~2 oz), peeled and sliced fairly thin
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 tbsp white sesame seeds
  • 1 ½ tsp Kashmiri chili powder (or substitute ½ tsp cayenne—which is much spicier—plus ¼ tsp hot paprika)
  • 1/3 cup canned tomato puree or pureed canned tomatoes
  • 1 cup good quality coconut milk; try and scoop up the thick part of the can if it’s separated. Do not use coconut milk beverage.
  • 2-3 tsp fish sauce
  • ~2 tsp raw sugar
  • Juice of 1 lime or lemon
  • Chopped cilantro to finish

Directions:

Blanch the Beans: Fill a wide, heavy-bottom stainless steel pan (an “everyday” skillet works well) with 2-3 inches of water. Season heavily with Kosher salt and a pinch of sugar. Prepare a bowl filled with ice water, and have a colander ready in the sink. Bring the water to a rolling boil, and add the whole trimmed beans. Simmer for 90 seconds or until just tender (exact time will depend on the quality of your beans). Quickly drain them and plunge them into the ice bath.

Prepare the Shrimp: Put the shrimp in a bowl and sprinkle with 2-3 tbsp Kosher salt. Massage into the shrimp and immediately rinse the salt completely. Drain the water well, and dry the shrimp on some paper towels.

Ready the Other Ingredients: Prepare the rest of your ingredients; it’s important that everything is on hand, as this recipe comes together very quickly once started. Drain the green beans and cut them into 1-inch pieces. Grind the pepper and coriander together; you want a coarse grind. This is best accomplished in a mortar and pestle, but you can use a spice/coffee grinder, pulsing until just crushed.

Make the Dish: Heat up a large wok, and when very hot, add the coconut oil until melted and hot. Keep the wok on high heat.

Add dried chilis, followed quickly by the whole lentils and pepper/coriander mixture. Stir for a few seconds until toasted and fragrant. Immediately add the mustard seeds, and as soon as they sputter, throw in the curry leaves. Stand back—they will pop and be loud for a second.

Quickly add the shallots, and season with a good pinch of kosher salt. Toss everything around till the shallots are translucent, and add the garlic. Cook for about 1 minute. Add the sesame seeds and then the chili powder, and continue to keep the mixture moving.

Add the tomato puree, and cook until the oil begins to separate. Add the shrimp, and stir until they begin to turn pink. Add the green beans and combine. Cook for 30 seconds, and add the coconut milk and fish sauce. Stir to coat everything with the coconut milk, and let it heat up and reduce slightly—no more than a minute or two.

Finish with fish sauce, sugar and lime juice. Transfer to a bowl.

Serve with rice; Basmati or Jasmine are ideal, along with a quick pickle of cucumber or apple. Sweet potatoes roasted in coconut oil and coriander and topped with crushed roasted peanuts would be a nice side to complete the meal.

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