Back during the summer we had been steadily working our way through the stunning book 660 Curries by Raghavan Iyer, but we’ve slacked off a bit of late. Everything from that book has tasted fabulous, but much of it, like a lot of Indian food in general, is very unphotogenic and so not very conducive to blogging.
This week we ended up needing to cook one more dinner at home than we had planned, so I went looking for a recipe that could be made from just what was in the freezer and pantry. This shrimp curry was just the ticket, since we had the last of a bag of frozen shrimp needing to be used, there was a bag of dried grated coconut in the cupboard, fresh cilantro left over from a Thai stirfry, and everything else is a standard pantry item for us. We scaled the recipe down to match the amount of shrimp we had.
The shrimp was a huge success: perfectly cooked with a sharp, clean garlic and coconut flavor, just a hint of tang from the vinegar, and only a little spicy. I cooked a little spinach (also from the freezer) with ginger and green chile to go alongside, and made some fresh chapati (whole wheat griddle breads). The curry was very dry, with the sauce clinging to the shrimp, so rice wasn’t needed. A fantastic weeknight dinner – I wish there had been leftovers for lunch the next day, but we polished off everything.
Garlic Shrimp with Coconut (Lasoon Jhinga)
- from 660 Curries by Raghavan Iyer
- 1 pound large shrimp, peeled
- 1/4 tsp ground turmeric
- 1/4 cup white vinegar, slightly warmed
- 2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1/2 tsp peppercorns
- 4 cloves garlic
- 3 dried red chiles
- 1/2 cup shredded coconut, fresh or dried
- 2 Tbsp oil
- 1 tsp coarse salt
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Toss the shrimp with the turmeric and refrigerate for half an hour.
If using dried coconut, reconstitute it: cover with 1/4 cup boiling water, let sit 15 minutes, drain.
Put the vinegar in a small bowl with the cumin, pepper, garlic and chiles. Soak about half an hour, then blend with the coconut and 1/4 cup water until smooth.
Sear the shrimp in a single layer in a skillet, 1 minute per side. Add the coconut puree and salt, stir, and simmer at medium heat until the shrimp are cooked, about 3-5 minutes. Sprinkle with cilantro.