Thai-inspired Martini Is a Toast to the Sea — and to Oregon

| March 31, 2010 | 5 Comments

One of the things that I love about living in Oregon is the bountiful and fresh seafood available. Another is that the state embraces Pacific Rim cultures. As an Asian-American who has lived lots of places in the U.S., I’ve found it one of the most welcoming places to be.

With our love of the slightly off-kilter or off-base, we joke, for instance, that Eugene was founded by all of the hippies from Berkeley and San Francisco who got tired of high-priced real estate and wanted to get back to nature.

Whenever I’m flying back to Oregon through a hub airport like Chicago, Denver or Dallas, I joke with my friends that I can always spot the Oregonians who are headed for a Portland-bound flight. They’re usually wearing sandals or Birkenstocks, or are wearing Keen clogs and a piece of clothing from Columbia Sportswear — often a hooded jacket if it’s wintertime.

It’s this laid-back attitude and openness to people who are “different” that make it a unique place to live — home of groundbreaking legislation that legalized medical marijuana and physician-assisted suicide.

It’s the kind of place that encourages culinary experimentation. Two of our favorite restaurants in Portland are Typhoon and Saucebox — popular Pan-Asian fusion restaurants located downtown.

And so as a toast to Oregon, I present a fusion creation of my own: a Thai-inspired seafood martini.

Thai-inspired Seafood Martini

Thai-Inspired Seafood Martini

  1. 1 lb. (455 g.) large shrimp
  2. 3-4 sea scallops (1 per serving) 
  3. 2 cups (470 ml.) clover sprouts washed and drained
  4. 1 tablespoon (15 ml.) grated ginger
  5. 2 tablespoons (30 ml.) fish sauce
  6. 2 tablespoons (30 ml.) Mirin (sweet Japanese rice wine vinegar)
  7. 1 teaspoon (5 ml.) toasted sesame oil
  8. The juice from 1 lime
  9. 2 avocados, peeled and sliced into wedges
  10. 1 tomato, chopped coarsely
  11. 1/2 English cucumber, peeled and chopped into bite-sized pieces
  12. 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  13. 1 tablespoon (15 ml.) chopped cilantro
  14. 1 scallion, finely chopped
  15. 1 teaspoon (5 ml.) creole seasoning
  16. 1 stalk lemon grass, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces and smashed with a pestle to release the essential oils
  17. 1 teaspoon (5 ml.) peanut or canola oil
  • Bring a pot of water to a boil, add creole seasoning, a pinch of salt, and the lemon grasss. Let the herbs boil for two to three minutes to flavor the water, then toss in the shrimp and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Immediately drain shrimp into a bowl of ice water to cool them down and stop the cooking. Let the shrimp get completely cold, then peel them and place them in a large non-reactive mixing bowl.
  • Add chopped tomatoes, cucumber, shallot, grated ginger, fish sauce, Mirin, sesame oil, cilantro, scallions and lime juice, and mix well. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.
  • In a cast-iron skillet or pan over high heat, add oil and sear the scallops, cooking them just a couple of minutes on each side over high heat to sear them and set aside.
  • Place a small amount of clover sprouts in the bottom of each martini glass, then divide the avocado wedges among the glasses and arrange them in the glass by leaning them up the sides of each glass (see photo).
  • Spoon the shrimp mixture (along with the liquid) into each glass and top with a seared scallop.
  • You can garnish each serving with some of your remaining clover sprouts, sprinkling them on top of each glass.


— Vic

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Category: Seafood, Thai

About the Author (Author Profile)

Victor Panichkul is a journalist and writer by training; a cook, wine lover and photographer by passion; and a lover of the outdoors since moving to Oregon more than 10 years ago. He is a native of Bangkok, Thailand.

Comments (5)

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  1. Mel Wagner says:

    Vic-this sounds so good! I’m looking forward to trying it. I’m thinking on a warm summer evening. Thanks!

  2. Kathy says:

    How the ingredients was arranged on the glass is so amazing, colors are in good combination. I want to try this very soon. Thai twist is what makes it more exciting. Thank you for sharing your recipe!

  3. VPanichkul says:

    You’re welcome Mel and Kathy. For an added twist, you can toss in some dungeness crab meat with the shrimp in the marinade.

  4. […] This looks so upscale and amazing. I actually came across this recipe as I was searching for another one. I don’t live in a great place for seafood, so I might wait a bit to make this one. Check it out here. […]

  5. Barbara says:

    I am thrilled I found this site! I am making the dish above, not as an appetizer…but as an entree…all of going on top of nice salad greens along with crusty bread.

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