International cooking for the youthful malcontent.

Fresh Coconut and Shrimp Curry

You could subtitle this post “Or, a recipe that uses all that fresh coconut meat you just produced, because you followed my previous post’s instructions like the awesome person that you are.” Yes, it’s a shrimp curry that features fresh coconut. This is loosely inspired by South Indian spices and ingredients, and requires a medium amount of work because, hell, I like doing work in my kitchen. Why do you have to have everything done so fast?

So, in addition to preparing fresh coconut (you can substitute dried coconut for fresh, but with this kind of recipe I recommend you do not, since the fresh coconut is the star of the plate) I’ve also roasted and ground a special masala to spice the dish. The overall flavour is sharp, slightly sweet, and fresh. We’re talking about green peppers, rich coconut meat and shrimp in a curry spiked with black pepper, cinnamon, curry leaves and mustard seed. The grated coconut also adds a nice texture to the dish, as well as a colourful appearance. I’ll skip an extended introduction and get to it, since this will take a bit of time, even if you’re prepared your coconut in advance. If you absolutely do not have a way to grind whole spices, you could try using powdered spices, but keep in mind you will have to adjust the amounts!

Ingredients:

  • approx. 16 large raw shrimp, shelled and de-veined, tails on, defrosted in bowl of cold water
  • 1 medium-large onion
  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 medium tomato
  • 1 cup of grated fresh coconut
  • 2-3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2″ of cassia bark or cinnamon stick
  • 1 1/2 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp loose curry leaves
  • 2 tsp whole coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp whole cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp Kashmiri chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric

Serve with: rice

What you will need: spice grinder or mortar and pestle, deep frying pan, knife and cutting board, measuring cups and spoons, wooden spoon/utensil, small plates or bowls for organizing

Directions:

  1. Roast the whole spices: Turn a burner to medium (4-5 on mine) and put a frying pan on it. Once the pan is hot, add the whole spices (cassia bark/cinnamon, black peppercorns, curry leaves, coriander and cumin seeds) and roast them until they’re fragrant, but not burnt. Maybe just a minute or two, or maybe even less. Watch the cumin and coriander seeds for colouring – once the coriander and cumin appear browned or reddish, you should be good. Carefully transfer the roasted spices to a plate to cool for about 10-15 minutes.
  2. Prepare your vegetables: Slice the onion in half, and then slice each half into 1/4″ thick strips. Put aside. Finely chop the garlic and put aside. Cut the green pepper and tomato in bite-sized chunks. Measure out the coconut and keep ready.
  3. Make the masala: In your spice grinder of choice, add the cooled whole spices, along with the Kashmiri chili powder and turmeric. Add a bit of cayenne if you like it a bit hotter. Grind the mix into a medium-fine powder.
  4. Now we’re ready to get cooking. Put the oil into the frying pan and turn the heat up to medium (5 on my dial).
  5. Once the oil is very hot, add the tsp of mustard seeds, and fry them briefly until you hear some of them pop. They’ll make a cracking Rice Krispies kind of sound.
  6. Immediately add the sliced onion, and fry it until it’s softened and the edges are browned. About 3-5 minutes.
  7. Add the garlic and fry it for a few minutes.
  8. Add the green pepper and fresh coconut, and stir everything together to coat all the ingredients with the oil.
  9. Add the masala, and stir the mix to coat everything evenly with spices. Stir-fry this mixture for 2-3 minutes.
  10. Add about 1 to 1.5 cups of very hot water, and bring it to a gentle boil in the pan. You want just enough water to fill out the body of the curry. Adjust as you see fit.
  11. Add the shrimp, tomato, and salt. Bring the liquid to a simmer, and cook the curry for about 5-7 minutes or until the shrimp are done to your liking.
  12. Check the seasoning and add a bit of salt if you prefer, then serve immediately with rice.

Delicious fresh coconut. Plus, lots of fiber!

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