Thursday, February 4, 2010

Coconut Curry Shrimp

Curry always reminds me of my childhood. When I was young, we lived across the street from an East Indian family, and their daughter was only of my closest friends. I don't remember much about it now, but one of my most distinct memories was of the mom standing over her stove, making chappati. She would put the dough in a pan and it would rise up high, billowing, and she'd flip it.

There is nothing on Earth as delicious as fresh, home made chappati. I haven't had it since I was 7.

Although I have fond memories of curry, I admit it kind of scares me. What if I make it too hot? Too mild? What if I do it wrong? Recently I found out that there is a woman in town who does Indian food classes and I SO want to go. In the meantime, I made this recipe from Crazy Plates. It wasn't bad-very coconutty, and nice over rice. Even though I had a horrible virus this week it felt like just the thing to beat those nasty germies into submission. Even Jake actually had a fellow student try to steal the leftovers right from his lunch.

While this is delicious, I felt it had a little something missing. Lime, maybe? Next time I'd add a bit of juice, with some salt and pepper. Still it was comforting and spicy, which was just the thing this week.

Adapted From Crazy Plates by Janet and Greta Podleski

1/2 cup each minced onion and red bell pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp ground cumin
3/4 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp curry powder
1 cup light coconut milk (not cream, which is used for desserts. Milk. You'll find it in the Thai food section)
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1 pound uncooked jumbo shrimp, peeled
1 tbsp cornstarch (stirred into 1 tbsp water)
2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
4 cups rice

In a large fry pan, heat a small amount of oil and saute the onion, red bell pepper until soft. Stir in the cumin, coriander, and curry powder, allowing them to cook and meld for about a minute. Stir in the coconut milk, sugar, and crushed red pepper flakes, stirring to get all the little spicy bits from the bottom of the pan.

Turn the heat to medium high and gently add your shrimp. Continue to cook and stir gently while they turn a lovely pink, and as soon as all of them are finished (about 4 minutes), add the cornstarch/water mixture. Stir and let it bubble, thickening up into a delicious sauce. Salt and pepper to taste, then sprinkle your fresh cilantro over top. Remove from the heat and serve over hot steamed rice.

Serves 4, deliciously.
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