“The work of a journalist is to ask one question and ask another—finding that “aha” moment,” says Brigid Washington. “I think it’s similar to being a chef. It’s the asking why.”
Washington, both a chef and a journalist, is also a natural storyteller. In her new cookbook, Caribbean Flavors for Every Season, which was released earlier this month, four main ingredients are the main characters: coconut, ginger, shrimp and rum. The cookbook contains 85 recipes, each showcasing the versatility of these classic West Indian flavors and how they can be seamlessly integrated into your kitchen throughout the year.
“It’s very approachable, but it’s not predictable,” says Washington, of her cookbook. “I have two small kids. I’m a full-time mother. So this is very much written from that stance.”
The cookbook is also inspired by her family and extended community. “No one is an island,” says Washington. “Behind one name, there are hundreds of names.”
One standout person is Washington’s mother, who inspires the Coconut Curried Shrimp recipe in the cookbook, which she shares with Sweet July. It’s a recipe Washington says exemplifies her mother’s love and thoughtfulness.
Shrimp was always one of Washington’s favorite foods, but “My brother was lethally allergic to shellfish,” she says. “Over the summer, he would go to this camp, and that’s when I would have it. I didn’t really have to ask. [My mother] would do it instinctively.”
This is one of the countless examples representing her mother’s “tangible acts of love.”
Get Washington’s Coconut Curried Shrimp recipe below!
Plus: Looking for the perfect wine to pair with this dish? Sweet July’s wine consultant Julia Coney suggests Kerner, a white grape known to parts of Austria, Germany and Northern Italy. Coney says, “It is fruity and has mild acid on the palate, but on the nose are aromas of flowers like honeysuckle, chamomile and pineapple. It has just enough sweetness to balance the curry and spice of this dish and the fattiness of the coconut milk.”
Brigid Washington’s Coconut Curried Shrimp
Recipe copyright 2022 by Brigid Washington. Photo copyright 2022 by Bonnie Matthews. Published by permission of Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup chopped white onion
2 tbsp chopped garlic (about 6 cloves)
1 tbsp chopped ginger (about 1 inch)
1 tbsp madras curry powder
1 cup full-fat coconut milk
1 cup chopped scallions (about 5 stalks)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 (15-ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tsp salt
1 tsp coarse ground black pepper
- In a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat, add the coconut oil and heat for 30 seconds. Then add the onions, garlic and ginger, and sauté for another 30 seconds. Add the curry powder, stir to combine, and cook for 1 minute. Next, add the coconut milk, herbs and garbanzo beans, and cook for 5 minutes. Following this, add the shrimp, salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes. Serve with naan or freshly steamed rice.