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  • Tamarind Shrimp Curry

    TOOLS: You’ll need a small frying pan, a plate, a spice grinder or a mortar and pestle, 2 large mixing bowls, and a 6-quart / 6-L sauté pan. sauté pan.
    VEGANIZE IT! Substitute 24 to 28 ounces / 680 to 790 g of tempeh, extra-firm organic tofu, or seitan, cut in 1-inch / 3-cm cubes and follow the instructions. Bake the tofu for added texture.

    I learned how to make this curry during a stay at Ayisha Manzil Homestay in Thalassery (Tellicherry), Kerala. Our hostess, Mrs. Moosa, used turmeric powder to marinate the shrimp and freshly roasted and ground coriander to round out the flavors in this uniquely spiced curry. For a fun twist, serve your guests a small plate of this recipe—1 cooked shrimp nestled in 1 tablespoon of curry.

    • ¼ cup /20 g coriander seeds
    • 1 pound /450 g medium shrimp, peeled and deveined (28–32 pieces)
    • 2 teaspoons turmeric powder, divided
    • 1½ teaspoons red chile powder or cayenne pepper, divided
    • 1 tablespoon plus ½ teaspoon plus 1 pinch salt, divided
    • 4 tablespoons /60 mL coconut oil, divided
    • ½ teaspoon mustard seeds
    • 20 fresh curry leaves
    • 1 large yellow or red onion, finely diced
    • 1–2 fresh Thai, serrano, or cayenne chiles, stems removed and finely diced
    • 1 (2-inch / 5-cm) piece ginger, peeled and grated
    • 10 cloves garlic, peeled and minced or grated
    • 5 medium tomatoes, peeled and diced*
    • 1 teaspoon tamarind paste
    • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
    • 2 cups /470 mL water
    • ¼ cup /60 mL coconut milk (regular or light)
    • Brown or white basmati rice, for serving
    1. Place the coriander seeds in a small frying pan over medium–high heat and dry roast for 5 minutes, until the seeds turn reddish-brown. When roasting spices, never leave the pan unattended—they burn easily. Transfer to a plate and set aside to cool completely.
    2. Using a spice grinder or mortar and pestle, grind the coriander seeds into a fine powder. Set aside.
    3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the shrimp, 1 teaspoon of the turmeric, ½ teaspoon of the red chile powder, and ½ teaspoon of the salt. Mix well, cover, and set aside to marinate at room temperature for at least 20 minutes while you prep the remaining ingredients.
    4. In a 6-quart / 6-L sauté pan over medium–high heat, warm 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the shrimp and sear, turning once to ensure even cooking, for a total of 2 minutes. Be careful not to cook the shrimp through, or they will be overcooked later. Remove from the heat. Carefully remove the shrimp from the pan and transfer to a clean bowl. Set aside.
    5. Return the sauté pan to medium–high heat and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Once the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds and cook for 30 seconds, until the seeds pop. Keep a lid handy, as the seeds can pop out of the pan. Carefully add the curry leaves and cook for 20 to 40 seconds, until the leaves wilt slightly. If you don’t have fresh leaves on hand, use dried or frozen ones. If you can’t find curry leaves, don’t worry—just omit them.
    6. Add the onion, the pinch of salt, the remaining 1 teaspoon of turmeric, the remaining 1 teaspoon of red chile powder, and the fresh chiles to the sauté pan. Cook, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, for 3 to 5 minutes, until slightly browned.
    7. Add the ginger and garlic to the sauté pan and cook for 1 minute. Add the ground coriander and stir well.
    8. Reduce the heat to medium and add the tomatoes, the tamarind paste, the remaining 1 tablespoon of salt, and the brown sugar to the sauté pan. Simmer for 6 minutes, until the tomatoes start to break down.
    9. Slowly add the water, ¼ cup / 60 mL at a time, to the sauté pan and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes, until the oil starts to separate slightly and the ingredients start to pull together. Add the coconut milk and cook for 3 minutes, until warmed through.
    10. Add the shrimp to the sauté pan and cook for 2 minutes, until they are cooked through and slightly opaque. Remove from the heat.
    11. Transfer to a serving bowl. Serve immediately over a bed of the brown or white basmati rice.

    *See notes for peeling tomatoes. A serrated peeler is the easiest way.

Indian For Everyone by Anupy Singla. Copyright © 2014 Anupy Singla. Published by Agate Publishing. All rights reserved.

© 2016 Alta Editions LLC.