Yummy Goan style shrimp curry….
Last week Justin went to the store and came home with a couple of bags of frozen shrimp. The first recipe I made was shrimp cakes, which, to be honest, didn’t really turn out that well (I will try them again and let you all know how they turn out). Since that disaster I was deciding what to make with the other bag of shrimp…
Ordinarily I prefer fresh shrimp, but these were already peeled and deveined, which made my life much easier. Man, I’m lazy. ANYWAYS….back to the dish.
I had been craving curry for a few days now, but I did not want to make my traditional home-style curry. I was watching Bachelors in Paradise (I love trashy TV. Did you watch JoJo’s season?!) and suddenly got inspired! I thought back to when my family and I went to India in 2013. We traveled all over the country to many places including Delhi, Rajasthan and Goa.
Goa is a state in the southwest region of India and is formally a Portuguese province. It is known for its beautiful beaches, tropical weather and great seafood.
While I was in Goa I was lucky enough to try scuba-diving for the first time. It was amazing! The water was beautiful and all the amazing creatures of sea were breathtaking to look at. Unfortunately for me I had some issues equalizing as I went down in the ocean. This left me cranky, with a headache and in a lot of pain. The only remedy: food. Lots of food.
That night my family and I went to a shack on the beach and enjoyed traditional Goan food; masala crab, different kinds of fish curries, and stunning fresh vegetables.
The Goan diet is very heavy in fish, and they often use fresh coconut and coconut milk in a lot of their cooking. Additionally, Goans cook with numerous spices (just like the rest of India) and vinegar. The vinegar leaves a sour note to the meal, which is perfectly balanced with the heat from the spices, the smoothness from the coconut milk and the delicateness of the fish.
Since all we had was shrimp, I decided that Goan Shrimp Curry was going to be on our dinner menu for the night!
I started by marinating the shrimp in the salt, turmeric and vinegar. Well….let me backtrack. I started with the shrimp, salt and turmeric. I let that marinate until about 10 minutes before I was ready to cook the shrimp and then added the vinegar. If you leave your shrimp marinating for too long in vinegar they will become quite tough. This is due to the breaking down of the molecular bond between the shrimp and the vinegar. Don’t ask me how I know this. Nerd Alert!
Then I toasted the coriander, cumin and coconut.
From there everything else was easy sailing. Sliced and sautéed onion. Chopped and sautéed tomatoes.
I realized half-way through this dish that I did not have any tamarind on hand. Tamarind is another sour agent that derives from a flower. We use the pulp in cooking. It was brought over to Goa by the Portuguese colonists. In a panic I rushed over to google to see what I could substitute for tamarind. There were many option including lime and amchur (mango powder). Amchur has a similar taste to tamarind, as a result I mixed the powder with equal parts water, into a paste and added it in! Worked like a charm!
After that, I added in the coconut spice paste, coconut milk, and then the shrimp to finish off the dish.
This dish is very light and can be made spicier (or not) or more coco-nut-ie (making up words over here!) It can be served with rice, or naan, or can be eaten plain.
I hope you all enjoy! Leave us a comment below with how your version turned out!
- 1 pound, peeled and deveined shrimp
- ½ medium onion
- 4 pieces of garlic
- 2 tomatoes
- 2 serrano peppers
- 1 piece of ginger
- 2 tsp coriander seeds
- 2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp black mustard seeds
- 1 ½ tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp red chili (or Kashmiri) powder
- 1 tsp tamarind pulp (I substituted equal parts amchur powder (mango) and water)
- 1 whole lemon or lime
- 2 tsp vinegar (apple, malt or Goan)
- 3 tsp grated coconut flakes
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1 tsp sugar
- Cilantro for garnish
- Salt to taste
- Peel and devein shrimp. Marinate in salt, turmeric and vinegar, set aside.
- Toast coriander seeds, cumin seeds and grated coconut in a pan over low heat until browned and fragrant.
- In a food processor, blender, coffee grinder or pestle mortar, grind toasted spices and coconut with black mustard seeds, chili powder, serrano’s, garlic, and ginger with water into a light paste. Set aside.
- Slice onion into half-moons.
- Chop tomatoes into small pieces.
- Mix equal parts amchur and water into a paste.
- In a pan pour enough oil to cover bottom of pan on medium heat. Add onions and sauté until soft and slightly caramelized. About 10-12 minutes.
- While onions are cooking down, cook shrimp in another pan over medium heat. 2-3 minutes per side, until opaque. Remove and set aside.
- Once onions are cooked down add tomatoes and salt. Continue to cook down for an additional 5-7 minutes.
- Add the first paste made with spices and coconut. Cook down for 1 minute. Add amchur paste. Add 1 tsp of water if mixture starts to stick in pan.
- Cook down the paste for 8-10 minutes letting all the flavors incorporate with the onions and tomatoes.
- Add coconut milk and fresh lime juice. Continue to cook for 6-8 minutes.
- Add shrimp and let simmer for 2-4 minutes.
- Garnish with cilantro.
- Serve hot over rice or with naan.
- Sub amchur powder with equal parts water for tamarind.
- You can use lemon or lime to create an additional sour profile.
- Substitute fresh fish for shrimp.
- Do not over-marinate the shrimp in the vinegar. The shrimp will become too tough.