Thursday, January 20, 2011

Goan shrimp and vegetable curry

Suvir Saran, the author of the recipe I based this on wrote "I associate this dish's flavors with Goa" and "feel free to add whatever vegetables you want" so I'm guessing that this is not so very traditional. But it uses up three sprigs of the curry leaves, which is a lot for 4 servings, and "whatever vegetables you want" means a bunch of CSA vegetables I have so that's convenient.

Here's my version:

herb paste:
2 sprigs curry leaves, removed from stem
1 1/2-inch piece ginger, peeled and chopped
zest and pulp from 1/4 lime (substituting, poorly, for 1 Tablespoon lemongrass)
1/2 cup cilantro leaves and tender stems
1/2 hot pepper, chopped

1. Blend all that with a few Tablespoons of water into as smooth a paste as you can manage. Set aside.

1 1/2 Tablespoons cooking oil
3/4 teaspoon whole cumin seed
1/2 teaspoon brown mustard seed
1 sprig curry leaves, removed from stem and roughly chopped
2 dried chile peppers
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
3/4 pound assorted vegetables, prepped (I used 1/2 pound green beans plus 1/4 pound baby bok choy)
1 can coconut milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
3/4 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined. Brined wouldn't be a bad idea either.
3 Tablespoons more cilantro, chopped
salt to taste

2. Put oil into a large pot over medium high heat. Add seeds. When they start popping, add curry leaves, peppers and turmeric. Stir and cook 1 minute.

3. Add the herb paste, reduce heat to medium low and cook 2-3 minutes more until fragrant.

4. Add the heartiest of the vegetables (green beans in my case) and some salt and cook until about half done, adding other, more delicate vegetables as appropriate.

5. Add coconut milk and cream plus some more salt. Turn heat up and bring to a boil. Return heat to medium low and simmer until vegetables are done to your liking.

6. Add shrimp and simmer 1-2 minutes until just cooked. Stir in cilantro, adjust seasoning and serve with rice.

And here it is:

All the sauce drained into the rice. Here it is still in the pot:

So, not bad. Not as intensely flavored as you'd expect given all those herbs and spices, but nicely fragrant of curry leaves. The coconut milk really takes on the cumin and mustard well and there's a little spice to it. My problem is just that the flavors are too distinct. The green beans taste like green beans and the shrimp tastes like shrimp. The sauce is nice but the rice soaked it all up. I think this is going to be one of those better the next day dishes. The flavors will blend with a good long soak.

Serving with some other starch instead of rice might be a good idea too. Chapatis maybe.

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