Sunday, March 28, 2010


I've been eating lots of good food lately and I haven't been sharing. I know that's not very nice of me, but I'm sorry. Some of it just seems so simple, like scrambled eggs with Tabasco sauce wrapped in a tortilla and topped with guacamole. Just a little breakfast burrito makes me happy. Some days it's been some of my old favorites that I've told you about before, like fennel mushroom salad or Thai hot and sour soup. And some days it's been recipes without real recipes, like cajun spice sprinkled over shrimp, fried and tossed on a pillow of cheesy grits.
Plus, I was eating a gallon of homemade strawberry ice cream for weeks. That's what happens when I don't share.

But I'm going to stop that right now and share a very nice shrimp curry recipe with you, because my friend Huzefa shared it with me. It's a good recipe for lots of reasons. It's fast. It tastes good, like you spent a lot of time on it, but as I just mentioned, it's fast! And it can't go wrong. There are recipes you make once and they're great, but not so great the second or third time. Maybe you did something wrong, but you can't track down what that might be. So you have to let it go, and just remember it as a great meal you once had. But this recipe isn't like that. I've made it several times and it has never failed me. The spices, tomato paste and coconut milk are in perfect proportion (although it's quite spicy, and some may want to tone it down) so the flavor doesn't focus on any one element. I think the sauce is good enough that if you don't like shrimp, you could substitute fish or make it vegetarian with potatoes or cauliflower.
But I'll quit talking now and just show you a picture. And the recipe of course.

Indian Shrimp Curry (from Madhur Jaffrey)
4 servings

1 tablespoon tomato paste
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
1 fresh, hot green chile, finely chopped (or 1/2 a chile if you prefer less spice)
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
7 ounces coconut milk, well stirred (1/2 a can)
***Shrimp Ingredients***
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
10 dried curry leaves (I use bay leaves)
1 1/4 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

To make the sauce: Put the tomato paste in a bowl. Add the salt, sugar, cumin, cayenne, cilantro, green chile, lemon juice, dried curry leaves (bay leaves) and 1 Tbsp water. Mix well, slowly adding coconut milk until completely blended. Set aside.

To complete: Put the oil in a wok or frying pan over med-high heat. When the oil is hot, put in the mustard seeds. When mustard seeds begin to pop -- a few seconds -- add the garlic. Stir and fry till garlic turns medium brown, add shrimp. Stir until shrimp are opaque most of the way through. Add the sauce, turn heat to medium and heat till the sauce begins to simmer. Add the garam masala. Turn off heat and cover for ten minutes to allow flavors to develop before serving.

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