Goan Shrimp Curry

 Portuguese-Asian fusion food is overlooked in our culinary traditions.   This is likely do to the fact that the Portuguese empire was so vast and its Asian possessions consisted only of Macau, Timor-Leste and Goa.  Portugal had a profound influence on Asian cuisine because it introduced potatoes, tomatoes, pineapples, guavas, cashews and the chili pepper to the region.  Can you imagine Asian cuisine without these ingredients?  Despite this, Asian cuisine did not have as profound an influence on Portugal.  This is a phenomenon seen in other European empires: the colonizer doesn’t always “take up” the traditions of its colonies since it regrettably considered them to be savages.  Colonizers also forced the conquered population to adopt its traditions and customs hence the cultural impact was heavily shifted.  Its unfortunate because Luso-Asian cuisine is delicious.  An example of this delicious fusion is Goan Shrimp Curry.  Curry is a style of cooking and not a spice.    This confusion stems from the fact that spice mixtures and blends are labelled “curry”.  A curry is basically a stew of animal protein or vegetables that has been infused with spices.  The spice blend called curry powder is typically made up of many spices with but there are variations the central spices typically used are coriander, turmeric, cumin and fenugreek.  The exact mixture and ingredients vary from to region to region and sometimes even from family to family.   You can buy curry powder in your local supermarket, but I prefer to make my own.  The flavors are bolder, and you can change up the ingredients depending on your taste.  Please note: I take an immersion blender and puree the ingredients just before I add the shrimp.  I find that it is not only more aesthetically pleasing but it makes a great sauce that you can spoon up with some rice or soak up with some Naan bread.

 

Goan Shrimp Curry
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Goan Shrimp Curry

Ingredients

    For The Curry Powder
  • 7 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 2 teaspoons mustard seeds
  • ½ cup dried red chilies
  • 4 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 3 tablespoons fenugreek seeds
  • 4 teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 3 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoons whole black pepper
    For the Shrimp Marinade
  • 2lbs Raw Shrimp with heads on
  • ½ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
    For the Curry
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 10 curry leaves, roughly torn (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2-inch piece ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cups canned petite diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons Curry Powder
  • 1 13.5 ounce can coconut milk
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 4 scallions (green part only) cut into 2 inch ribbons or strands
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Mix the lemon juice, cayenne pepper, garlic and salt in a bowl and then add it to the shrimp making sure to evenly coat each piece. Set aside for 30 minutes.
  • Heat the oil in a heavy pot or Dutch oven until beginning to smoke then add the curry leaves and the crushed red pepper and cook for 15 seconds. Stir in the ginger, onion, and salt and cook, stirring often, until the onion is browned, about 8 minutes, being careful not to burn the onion. Add the garlic, coriander, and turmeric and cook until the garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes to the pot. Cook, stirring it often until the liquid of the tomatoes is almost gone then add the curry powder and cook for 1 minute. Pour in the coconut milk and then add water to the brim of the can and pour that in as well. Bring to a boil then take an immersion blender and puree the mixture so no clumps remain. Add the shrimp and any accumulated juices. Bring to a simmer and cook until the shrimp are curled and opaque, about 2 minutes. Taste the liquid and add more salt or pepper top your liking. Stir in cilantro and garnish with scallion ribbons. Serve with white rice (I prefer basmati) and some Naan bread to soak up the sauce.
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