Thursday, June 2, 2011 / 10 Comments / ,

Tahitian Vanilla Bean Coconut Shrimp + Bora Bora

We spent a week in Tahiti on Bora Bora for our honeymoon 5 years ago.

 It is the most beautiful place I have ever seen.   I truly thought I was dreaming when I saw the color of that water for the first time. I kept asking, "Is that real? That turquoise water can't be real!" as if it were some sort of Disneyland special effect. The view from our over water bungalow bedroom...
Each of the resort's 80 1,000+ square foot over water bungalows has a glass bottomed coffee table which can be pushed aside to feed the fish.
aerial view, courtesy of InterContinental

Yummy Mummy Bora Bora Mini Guide


Bloody Mary's is by far the most famous restaurant on the Island and a fun experience (so I hear; we loved the food at our resort, so we didn't venture out).

Visit a black pearl farm. There are several on the island that offer tours and shopping.  

Feed the local sting rays and Black Tip sharks. They're friendly!

The food in Tahiti is heavily influenced by French cooking, as it is FRENCH Polynesia. We enjoyed the most amazing fresh fruit, French pastries, and French hot chocolate every morning. Asian and other European influences, as well as uniquely Polynesian dishes, are also evident in Tahitian cuisine. Fresh local seafood and tropical produce are of course front and center. The most popular of all Tahitian crops is the Tahitian Vanilla Bean. And it's not just for desserts...

Chevrettes à la Vanille et Coco (Tahitian Shrimp in Coconut-Vanilla Sauce)

printable recipe                                                                                                                                          

To lighten this dish, substitute light coconut milk or evaporated milk for the cream.  

serves 6

2 lbs medium shrimp or 2 lbs large shrimp
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup dark rum
1 cup heavy cream
1 Tahitian vanilla beans, sliced open lengthwise
3/4 cup coconut milk
salt & freshly ground black pepper
lime wedges for garnish
shaved, toasted coconut, toasted for garnish (optional)

Peel and clean shrimp, keeping tails on. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan or wok. Saute the shrimp for two to three minutes and or until they have turned pink. *The shrimp would be even better grilled!

Remove them from the pan and set aside. Remove the balance of olive oil from pan.
Add rum and the vanilla bean to the frying pan and reduce the rum until it is nearly evaporated (down to about 2 tablespoons).

Add the cream and coconut milk, and reduce the mixture by 50%. Scrape seeds out of the vanilla pod and discard pod. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Shrimp can either be mixed into the sauce and served or mounded on a rice and the sauce poured over all. Garnish with lime wedges (the shrimp really need lime squeezed over) and parsley. Sprinkle toasted coconut over top if desired. Sauted chard makes a nice and traditional side. I served fried plantain slices with the shrimp. While they were a fun tropical addition, we found them rater bland. Perhaps they needed a pinch of good salt.
Recipe adapted from

Tahitian Black Pearl farm and shop. 

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