It is hard to believe that this is my first non-vegetarian post on this blog. I do eat chicken, some fish and shrimp but I don't cook with them that often. That are a few reasons why that happens/has been happening lately. Whenever we go out to eat, almost 90 percent of the time I order non-vegetarian. So, when I cook at home, I feel like eating vegetables. The other thing that contributed to my sparse non-vegetarian eating habits is that, for the past 8 weeks, I was a part of a group "walking" program where we were supposed to walk and also count the fruits and veggies we eat each day. So, every time I thought of cooking something non-vegetarian, the thought that I couldn't count them came to my mind and I just refrained buying meat at the grocery store.
Growing up, my mom never cooked shrimp at home. I think she just didn't like the taste and smell of shrimp! Although, my dad was a "shrimp eater", he always had to eat it outside since he couldn't make it on his own :). For some reason, since my mom never made it at home, I wouldn't eat it anywhere else too. My mom did cook other sea food though. The fish pickle that she makes is just out of this world. YUM! For that matter all the non-vegetarian pickles she makes are really good - the mutton pickle, the chicken pickle, just thinking about them makes my mouth water! For a person who doesn't "eat" non-veg she is an amazing non-veg cook! Yeah, that is right, my mom doesn't eat non-vegetarian but she does cook it for the family and guests! We have seperate utensils at home that she cooks non-veg in :). Yeah, is pretty funny to watch her cook non-vegetarian trying to avoid touching everything else and only managing with the few utensils set out for this particular task :)).
Back to shrimp, I never ate shrimp until I came to the U.S few years ago. I don't remember the first time I ate it either. It must have been at a friends house when I was studying here. I really did not like the way it tasted, so never cooked with it. But all that changed when I went to Chilis/Carlos O Kellys (don't remember which one) couple of years ago and I ordered a dish and the waitress said that for a couple of bucks extra, I could get an order of grilled shrimp that will be placed on top of the dish. I thought I would try it and told her that I would like a side of it not mixed in with my actual meal. The shrimp that she brought was so yummy! It was grilled, sprinkled with some lemon juice and that totally changed my view on shrimp.
Now that you know my entire association with shrimp, back to this post. This shrimp curry is a spicy, yet tasty concoction. It goes really well with jeera rice or even plain basmati rice. The spices in this recipe can toned down (or up) to your liking.
First a few kitchen notes
- I skip the marination part if I am really in a hurry. Instead of the 30 minutes I specify, I sometimes do it for about 10-15 minutes, the time it takes me to chop all the other veggies/spices up.
- The cumin + caradamom + cloves powder can be substitued with regular garam masala but the taste will definitely be different. I usually grind this masala up and store in the refrigerator for a month or so to use in different dishes.
For the marination
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 pinch red chili powder
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon/lime juice
- 1 pound raw, shelled and deveined large shrimp (about 50-60 shrimps)
- 1 large onion, chopped fine
- 2 Indian green chilis, slit length wise
- 2 tbsp garlic chopped fine
- 2 tbsp ginger, chopped fine
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 large tomato, chopped fine
- gooseberry sized tamarind, soaked in hot water, juice extracted
- 2 tbsp freshly grated coconut
- 1 heaping tbsp cinnamon + caradamom + cloves powder
- 1 tbsp coriander powder
- 1 tbsp chili powder (I think I added more than that, so this can adjusted to your liking)
- salt, to taste
- 2-3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- One sauce pan
- small bowl for marination
- Toss the ingredients for the marination for together with the shrimp. Set aside in the refrigerator for about 30-45 minutes.
- Put the sauce pan on medium high heat, add the oil.
- After the oil heats up add the onions and fry for about 3 minutes.
- Add the garlic and ginger, fry until onions are translucent.
- Add the turmeric powder, stir.
- Add the tomatoes and fry until they are mushy.
- Add all the masalas, the caradamom + cloves + cinnamon powder, the coriander powder, the chili powder, salt, coconut and stir.
- After a minute or so add the tamarind juice, another cup of water and bring to a rolling boil.
- Add the shrimp, add more water if necessary, the gravy should be too watery. Cook the shrimp until they are done (which is very quick, about 5-6 minutes), take off the heat.
- Add the mint and the coriander leaves.