Shrimp with Spicy Green Rice

spicy green rice and shrimp
Photo: Con Poulos

Taking a cue from the Venetian risi e bisi, a soupy rice-and-peas, this version with shrimp highlights sweet, crunchy sugar snap peas with Southeast Asian ingredients: the heat of chiles and ginger, the freshness of basil and cilantro, and the salty depth of fish sauce.


  • 1 clove garlic

  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh ginger (from a 4-inch piece)

  • 1 to 2 Thai chiles, or 1 small serrano chile, chopped

  • 1 cup packed tender fresh basil leaves, plus more for serving

  • 1 cup packed fresh cilantro, plus more leaves for serving

  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce

  • ½ teaspoon sugar

  • ¼ cup vegetable oil

  • 1 large or 2 small leeks, thinly sliced and well washed (2 cups)

  • ½ cup long-grain white rice

  • 3 cups homemade or low-sodium store-bought chicken broth

  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined

  • 4 ounces sugar snap peas, tough strings removed, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces (1 ½ cups)

  • Kosher salt

  • Lime wedges, for serving (optional)


  1. Turn a food processor on; drop garlic through feed tube and process until finely chopped. Add 2 tablespoons ginger, chile, basil, cilantro, fish sauce, and sugar; process until finely chopped. Add 1 tablespoon oil and 3 tablespoons water; process to a fine paste. (You should have 2/3 cup.)

  2. Heat remaining 3 tablespoons oil in a medium saucepan over mediumâ??high until shimmering. Add leek and remaining 1 tablespoon ginger; cook until leek is translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in rice and broth, along with 1 cup water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to mediumâ??low and simmer, covered, until rice is very soft, 17 to 18 minutes.

  3. Add shrimp; simmer, stirring once or twice, until opaque, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in peas and herb paste. Remove from heat; season with salt. Serve immediately, with more cilantro and basil and lime wedges.

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