Here's a heavily-spiced shrimp curry that takes less than half an hour to put together (chopping included,) but is deeply flavorful.
When most Americans think of Indian food, the scope can be pretty narrow—Chicken Tikka Masala, Saag Paneer, and Garlic Naan under hot buffet lights. The majority of these unctuous, rich curries come from Northern India by way of the Mughal empire, and are undoubtedly delicious, but in actuality, the cuisine of India is incredibly diverse and hyper-regional. We're cooking out of India: The Cookbook today, and this particular recipe comes from Andhra Pradesh—one of the coastal states of India, where you tend to see a lot more seafood, coconut-based curries, brighter flavors compared to the Northern or Central states.
This heavily-spiced shrimp curry takes less than half an hour to put together (chopping included,) but is deeply flavorful. There are a few ingredients that can be a little difficult to seek out, but are worth hunting down if you’re able. Tamarind paste can be found in some specialty grocery stores, but in a pinch, adding a little extra lime juice and a pinch of brown sugar closely mimics its tangy-sweet flavor. Fresh curry leaves have a really distinctive flavor—herbal and smoky and taste nothing like curry powder. If you’re not able to find them, just leave them out and you’ll have a delicious curry nonetheless.
What you'll need:
¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ cup neutral oil
4 onions, sliced
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 teaspoon grated garlic
1 cup coconut milk
½ cup dried, flaked coconut
4 green chilis, de-seeded and chopped
6 black peppercorns
10 mint leaves, chopped
6 curry leaves, chopped
Juice of 1 lime
1 teaspoon tamarind paste
Let's get started!
To make the marinade, mix the turmeric and chili powder together in a large bowl and season with salt. Add the prawns and turn until coated, then cover and set aside in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
Put the ground coriander and cumin in a small bowl, add 4 tablespoons of water and mix together.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat, add the onions and stir-fry for 2 minutes, or until translucent.
Reduce the heat to low, add the shrimp to the pan and fry for 3 minutes. Add the ginger and garlic pastes together with the ground coriander mixture and fry for 2 minutes. Pour in the coconut milk and add the dried coconut, chilis, cloves, peppercorns, chopped mint and curry leaves and simmer for about 5 minutes. Add the lime juice and tamarind and simmer for another 5 minutes, then remove from the heat.