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There are many different ways to make shrimp seasoning. The most popular versions attempt to mimic commercially produced brands, while others are completely unique. Some seasonings for shrimp are dependent on the way the shrimp is cooked — specifically, if the shrimp is grilled or baked, the spice ingredients may be different than if the shrimp is boiled.
Many people love the flavor of commercial shrimp seasoning and want to make their own. The primary ingredient in these seasonings usually is ground bay leaves. Other ingredients include celery salt and ground celery seed. The blend may also include paprika; dry mustard powder; ginger; cloves; nutmeg; salt; and red, black, and white pepper. By making it from scratch, the shrimp seasoning can be adjusted to have less salt or a different amount of pepper, for instance, allowing the chef to create a dish to suit a particular diet or to favor a particular flavor.
Others may prefer to have Cajun shrimp seasoning, particularly if they are grilling the shrimp. The Cajun seasoning often has chili powder, paprika, onion powder, garlic, oregano, white pepper, salt, and sugar. Other people might prefer their grilled shrimp to have blackened shrimp seasoning. It is similar to Cajun seasoning but also contains cayenne pepper, and it gives the shrimp a blackened appearance. Again, the chef has control as to how spicy the seasoning is.
Some people may prefer to make a more unique shrimp seasoning. For example, shrimp often have an Asian flare on many menus. There are plenty of recipes for this variety of shrimp seasoning available. Commonly, it contains paprika, coriander, sugar, and black sesame seeds.
It is very popular to boil shrimp as well. When boiling the shrimp, the ingredient list may remain nearly the same, but the difference is that all the ingredients are whole, not ground. The ingredients are usually wrapped in a cheese cloth, or they can be strained after boiling. In this way, the shrimp are flavored, but the ingredients are not in direct contact with the shrimp. For example, a good shrimp seasoning for a shrimp boil might include whole bay leaves, ginger root pieces, peppercorns, fresh dill sprigs, mustard seeds, whole cloves, and coriander seeds.
In all, making your own shrimp seasoning can be much healthier than using a commercially produced brand. The chef can control the amount of salt and sugar that is used, for instance. In addition, if she wants to use a particular spice, such as ginger, for its health benefits, she can add more of that spice than a commercial brand may otherwise include.
I've never made my own boiled shrimp seasoning per se, but I have used a package of crab boil, which is a good starting point for shrimp seasoning. You still add your own salt and I also put in a whole lemon, quartered, a couple of bay leaves and some whole peppercorns.
In seasoning shrimp for other cooking purposes, I like Tony Cachere's Creole seasoning blend, if it won't clash with the dish I'm making. I use five-spice powder and soy sauce for Asian seasoning and curry powder or garam masala for an Indian flavor. Lemon and bay leaf are indispensable, regardless of the cuisine, however.
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