Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Malvani shrimp

One of my three closest friends in school, Priya was the one who always exchanged her lunchbox with me when I had the much loathed cabbage. Patta gobi with matar (cabbage with green peas) just never made any sense to me, and frankly, still doesn’t, so I’ll spare you recipes of the stuff. Now Priya’s family always made delicious seafood curries, and this is her recipe for a shrimp dish that she made when we visited her and her amazing daughter Niteeka in Texas.

The shrimp was so good I ate heaps of it and begged her for the recipe. I’ve now made it several times and although it’s somewhat different from hers, I still love it. The cilantro and coconut give it a fresh taste that I love and the ease of using frozen shrimp make this a week day standard.

The recipe is from Kerala, where her husband Mahesh is from, and calls for Kokum, which is an ingredient I’ve only seen in Indian grocery stores. But another souring agent like amchur powder or lime juice should do if you don’t have kokum handy.

I usually add green peas or corn from the freezer if I feel like it. These can be added as the final step. They add a nice colour and extra vegetables never hurt anyone.

(Photos courtesy Philippa- thanks!)
Priya’s shrimp (or scallop) curry

3 lbs shrimp (or scallops)
8-10 pieces Kokum (to prepare, pour boiling water over them, soak for 5 min)
Garam masala (optional – there is usually enough heat from the chilies to skip this)

Blend following 4 in mixer:
¾ to 1 cup shredded coconut (frozen or dried)
3 cloves garlic
1 green chili (or more if you can stand it!)
5-6 stems of cilantro (this should just be leaves, but it’s ok to include some stems)

Add some oil to pan – heat to medium (keep flame low-medium)

Add these if you have them handy, but they’re optional for me:
2 1/2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp haldi
1 tsp chili powder

Then add blended mix of cilantro/coconut– stir and fry for 1-2 mins, do not brown (shouldn’t be burnt)

Add shrimp, brown it, until cooked

Then add water, very little (shrimp will release water)

Cook about 5 min

Add kokum with its water (the kokum isn’t usually eaten)

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cook until ready.