sesame shrimp recipe

I was a vegetarian from 2004-2008 and for most of that time my grandma was alive. It’s helpful, for this story, to know that she thought I was absolutely nuts. She used to look at me and ask, “But you eat chicken, right?” Eliminating meat made no sense to her and it didn’t have to. She was German, after all. Her shoulders were broad and her body reached up to almost six feet in the air. When it came to most things, she had her mind made up.

This carried over to her dinner plate. She didn’t put anything on it unless it met very specific qualifications. Pork was okay. Pizza was bad. See? It escapes common logic. But that was her and I got to know her habits fairly well.

She moved in with my parents a year before she died. When I went to visit, I could expect her to be in the same leather recliner, her shoes lined up at the bottom of the stool, a crochet needle in her hand, a bag of candy orange slices by her side. She drew her own eyebrows on and so I used to love to see what new expression she’d be wearing.

“You’re a go-getter,” she’d tell me. I was always so flattered by that, especially because I was never sure it was true. It’s hard to imagine she’s missing everything that’s happening now — the way cooking has changed my life. She wouldn’t have understood it, she would have hated most of my food. But she would have raised one of those crooked eyebrows and said, “You’re a go-getter.”

What’s left of her now are a bunch of laced together memories. There are also a lot of trinkets. I saved the mittens she used to wear at night — the ones that kept her fingers nice and toasty. I wear her shiny broach sometimes — the one I bet she wore when she was younger. Maybe to dinner parties. Maybe to help her feel a little more glamorous in that tall, strong body she used to carry around.

This is a meal she would have hated. Sesame shrimp has way too many ingredients in it, though between you and me, it’s really pretty simple. If I made this meal, as I did last night, I would have had to make her something on the side. Maybe pork. Definitely not pizza. At least it would have proven one thing. I eat meat again. That would have made a lot of sense to her.


Sesame Shrimp


20 shrimp, peeled, deveined and put on skewers
1/2 lime
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup canola oil
1 tbs sesame oil
2 tbs rice vinegar
3 tbs sesame seeds
1 clove garlic
1 tbs fresh ginger
handful fresh cilantro, chopped
kosher salt, to taste


Toast sesame seeds in saute pan over low heat until aromatic and very light brown. Be careful not to burn.

Combine soy sauce, lime, vinegar, sesame seeds, garlic and ginger in blender and mix until well incorporated. Slowly add in canola oil and sesame oil until well mixed.

Put shrimp skewers in long baking dish and pour over marinade. Let sit for 30 minutes.

Grill shrimp on high heat for 3-4 minutes on each side, until pink and cooked through. Meanwhile warm the rest of the marinade up in a pot over medium heat.

Serve grilled shrimp, topped with a spoonful of marinade and some chopped cilantro.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

5chw4r7z July 21, 2010 at 7:54 am

Your grandmother sounds like my great grandma Clark, a huge German woman I was scared to death of. I remember at the end of a visit my dad would grab my hand, “kiss your gandma goodbye” he was able to drag me kicking and screaming with a couple feet of her then give up.
Hope she forgives me.
Don’t remember anything about her eating habits, but that shrimp looks amazing.


Courtney July 21, 2010 at 8:04 am

Poor Grandma Clark! I”m sure she forgives you.

German women are great. I should know, I’m one of them. This one was actually a softie. Tough as nails but still a softie.


Barb July 21, 2010 at 8:16 am

Your grandma sounds like both of mine as well. I could relate to a LOT of what you wrote. As for your shrimp, it sounds delicious and pretty darned easy by my standards!


piazzadiscepoli July 21, 2010 at 4:04 pm

@Epiventures I like the ‘print recipe’ option on the blog! Is that new?


Epiventures July 21, 2010 at 4:15 pm

@piazzadiscepoli sort of new, thanks!!


emefem July 21, 2010 at 9:04 am

Brought me back to memories of my Irish grandmothers who were also fierce about their kitchens.
Courtney, that was a lovely prelude to a recipe. Thanks.


Sophias_place July 21, 2010 at 4:11 pm

@Epiventures do you use a flash diffuser for your excellent foodie pics? Umbrella studio in a corner? I’m hungry now dammit, for shrimp. :)


Epiventures July 21, 2010 at 4:15 pm

@Sophias_place no, i just stand on objects and look like a fool. that’s the trick: looking like a fool.


Barb Cooper July 21, 2010 at 9:16 am

You have such a way of connecting with your readers…one of a handful of bloggers that always bring a smile or make me think or teach me something new.


Courtney July 21, 2010 at 9:34 am

Really sweet of you to say, thank you. And thanks to you also emefem!


Intuitive Eggplant July 21, 2010 at 3:38 pm

Yes, a lovely story! And a great recipe. Also glad to know the secret to taking good photos is to look like a fool – I look like a fool more often than I take great photos, but I’ll keep working on it :)


Christine July 30, 2010 at 12:31 pm

I just found your website, and after spending about half an hour reading through it, I was SHOCKED to find out that it is only about six months old. Your design is really inviting (which is to be expected, I suppose, given your current career), and the pictures are all so wonderful to look at. Your croque madame post has more than inspired me to have breakfast for dinner tonight.


Courtney August 2, 2010 at 7:07 am

Wow, thanks for such kind words! I’m really happy you stumbled here and I’ll certainly check your site out as well!


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: