Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Experimenting with Shrimp Curry

I am thankful every day that my kids will eat spicy food....not too spicy but they will eat a good curry...and life just isn't worth living without curry.

We have had some record breaking heat.  With the humidity it has been more like late July.  When it is hot like this no one wants to heat up the house more with a bunch of cooking but after the initial flush of excitement was past, I wasn't craving more BBQ either.  Beside all the meat we had was frozen. So what better to eat in hot weather than the spicy hot food from a spicy hot country?

About 2 years ago I got an opportunity to go to a cooking demo hosted by famous Canadian chef Vij and his wife Meeru.  They were charming and the food was good.  Included in the cost of the demo was a copy of their most recent cook book.  Over the last couple of years I have tried a few of the recipes from this book but not many.....I have been surprisingly disappointed with the ones I have tried (with the exception of the lamp popsicles rub).  I find that all the curries are thin on flavour and a bit unctuous. At first I kept assuming it was me (typical woman move)...that I had messed something up when reading the recipe but now that I have made a few of them a few times.....well I am starting to feel like it might not be like all things not right, I alter them.

So even though I didn't want to heat up the house....I got inspired by a random curry craving and it had to be done.

So first I made my favourite fragrant rice.....(not from Vij and Meeru's book)...I seriously love this stuff.  I make it even when we aren't eating a Indian/curry like meal.  It is equally good with roast chicken, some baked fish or a poached egg!.  In flipping through the book I found a fish curry  that I wanted to try.  I have made a lot of curry in my life but I haven't experimented with seafood and stuck with classics like chicken, beef and lamb. But I had some shrimp and a cravin' in my heart....

Yogurt and Ginger Curry

2 1/2 cups plain yogurt (minimum 2%...don't buy low fat ANYTHING) Let's over budget at $1.50
1/3 cup unflavoured coconut oil $0.75
1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
3 tbsp finely chopped ginger (or grated)
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp turmeric
2 tbsp ground coriander
1 tbsp paprika
1 tsp ground cayenne pepper
3 cups water
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro from the garden
2-3 tbsp ground almonds (left overs from making almond milk)
2 cups fresh or thawed peeled 31-40 shrimp (1 lbs on sale for $5.99)
TOTAL: $8.24 but let's say $9.00 if you include all the tiny costs of the spices and ginger.  Made 4 serving @$0.56 a serving.  If you include the cost of the rice it might be a dollar a serving

Place yogurt in a large bowl and set aside

In a medium pot, heat oil over medium heat and sizzle the cumin seeds for 30-45 seconds, or until they darken.  Add the ginger, stir and saute for 1 minute.  Add salt, turmeric, coriander, paprika, and cayenne, stir for 2-3 minutes.  The spices will become slightly pasty.  Turn off the heat and add the water, sir until combined.

To prevent the yogurt from curdling, slowly whisk in the marsala water 1/2 cup at a time to the yogurt.  This slowly warms it evenly and prevents it from 'cooking' to quickly.  Once about 1/2 the marsala water has been added you can just pour the now spice filled yogurt right into the pot.  Turn the heat to high and bring the curry to a boil, whisking constantly, then reduce heat to medium, add the ground almonds and let simmer for 10 minutes.  Once the sauce has reduced a little bit turn it right down to the lowest setting on your stove.  You want the liquid to be too hot to keep your finger in it "ouch hot water" but cool enough that it is not bubbling or boiling.  This is the perfect temp to perfectly poach your shrimp and not over cook them

Chef Michael Pardus shows you how to poach shrimp the right way in the video below

Add your fresh cilantro and serve over hot rice.  Although it might seem like this might be too spicy for the kids the natural sugars in the yogurt (even plain yogurt is full of natural sugars) tempers the heat making it mild and creamy with a little kick.  For their plates I just went easy on the sauce.  If you find it is too spicy for your little ones, mix it with a little more yogurt and then pour over rice.  This is a great way to introduce curry flavours to kids

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