It’s been a while since I’ve posted an Indian recipe. And the one I have today may please those, like my friend the bean king, who complain that my recipes call for too many esoteric ingredients that most non-Indian cooks don’t have lying around the kitchen. This is a very simple recipe that produces quite delicious results. And it’s healthy to boot, packed as it is with veg. I guess it’s a Bengali’ish recipe. It’s in the style of a general way of making shrimp/fish dishes that my mother and a couple of my aunts follow: lots of potatoes and veg and only ginger, turmeric, red chilli powder, green chillies and whole garam masala to flavour the sauce/curry. Following my mother, I use a lot of tomatoes and some garlic too, and this is not very traditionally Bengali. But traditions, you know, are always on the move. At any rate, this is simple enough to make, and you might give it a go.
- Shrimp, 1 lb
- Potato, 1/2 lb, cut into pieces roughly the size of the shrimp
- Cauliflower, 1/2 lb, cut into pieces roughly the size of the shrimp
- 1 large red onion
- 1 tblspn or so of fresh ginger root
- 1/2 tblspn or so of fresh garlic
- 1.5 cups worth of diced tomato
- 2 Thai chillies, slit
- Whole spices: 1-2 sticks cinnamon, 4-5 cloves, 1-2 dried cassia leaves (tez patta) or dried bay leaves
- Powdered Spices: 1 tspn turmeric, 1 tblsn mild red chilli powder (preferably Kashmiri), 1 tspn ground black pepper
- 1 pinch sugar.
- 2 cups of water
- 1 pinch garam masala powder (optional)
- 1-2 tblspns chopped cilantro for garnish.
Preparation (see the slideshow below for pictures of some steps)
- Coat the shrimp with a little bit of the turmeric and salt and set aside.
- Peel the onion and nuke it in the microwave for 1 minute and then make a paste of it with the ginger and garlic.
- Heat some oil in a large pan and saute the shrimp over high heat for a couple of minutes. Set aside.
- Add a bit more oil to the pan, reduce the heat to medium, add the whole spices and fry till they begin to darken and turn fragrant.
- Add the onion-ginger-garlic paste and saute, stirring often till cooked down completely and till the smell of raw onion is gone.
- Now add the powdered spices and saute for 1-2 minutes.
- Next add the potatoes and saute for 3-4 minutes.
- Then add the cauliflower and saute for 1-2 minutes.
- Now add the tomatoes and sugar and saute till completely cooked down.
- Add the water, stir, bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a high simmer for 5-10 minutes or till the potatoes seem half-cooked.
- Add the shrimp and green chillies, mix in thoroughly and cook, partially covered over medium heat till done.
- Add the garam masala powder at the end, mix in thoroughly and cook for another minute.
- Garnish with the cilantro and serve with dal and rice.
- You don’t want to use very large shrimp for this prep. I use the 31-40 ct/lb size.
- You could use hot chilli powder if you like, I suppose, but it’s a very nice flavour with the heat coming largely from the fresh green chillies.
- You want the final consistency of this to be pourable but quite thick.
- And yes, you could think of this as a sort of alu-gobi with shrimp. Which means that if you leave out the shrimp it’s a recipe for a very simple alu-gobi.
- If you want to add more veg. some peas would be great too.
- I think I’ve mentioned before the reason for microwaving the onion. It’s a tip I got on an Indian food forum a long time ago. A paste made normally from American onions risks turning bitter when sauteed—and as the paste is the primary component of the sauce here that would be an utter disaster. For some reason, microwaving the onion first fixes this.
- My next shrimp recipe will be for the classic Bengali malai curry with coconut milk.