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Spicy Shrimp Paste (serves 8)

This unusual dish is a regional specialty of the Bahia region of Brazil, noteworthy for its African influences.

1/4 (4 oz) loaf stale white bread, cubed
2 cups thick coconut milk (canned, bottled, or made fresh-see below)
2 T olive oil
1 onion, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 T fresh ginger root, finely grated
1 Brazilian malagueta chile pepper, fresh or canned
1 pound smoked, dried shrimp (pulverized in a blender or food processor)

1/2 pound dry-roasted peanuts (pulverized in a blender or food processor)
1/4 pound dry-roasted cashews (pulverized in a blender or food processor)
2-3 T dendj oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Soak bread cubes in coconut milk until soft. Puree in a blender or food processor. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium low heat. Add onion and garlic; cook until translucent. Add ginger and chile; cook for about 2 minutes until softened. Add seasonings to bread mixture and puree until smooth.  Pour bread mixture into skillet, then add shrimp and nuts. Simmer until a thick paste (add water if necessary to keep mixture smooth). Season with dendj oil, salt and pepper. Serve as an entree with coconut rice pudding on the side.

Pequin or bird's eye chiles can be substituted- or use Tabasco sauce to taste Available in some Latin American specialty stores- unsmoked dried shrimp can be substituted, but with a loss of flavor
Dendj a red-hued palm oil from Africa and is often available in Latin American specialty stores- 1/4 cup coconut oil mixed with 1 t paprika, then strained after 1/2 hour is a acceptable substitute.

By Pamela Goyan Kittler, M.S. and Kathryn P. Sucher, Sc.D., R.D. from

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