There is a kind of summer afternoon that is almost magical. The afternoon that is neither too hot nor too cold, pleasantly breezy, and magically mellow. As I sit and type this I hear the gentle swishing of leaves and branches, the lake water lackadaisically lolling against the dock, the kids quietly painting, and Coke Studio in the background. We are up in the Kawarthas for our annual cottage vacation. The first time we came up here my little one wasn’t born yet and now she is the one who is most enthusiastic and will plunge right into the lake on overcast days with an infectious glee.
I will be totally honest with you and say that although I have adjusted to it cottage living does not come naturally to me. In my childhood an outdoorsy trip meant going to stay in a fully staffed guest cottage up North in Pakistan. Outdoor excursions were peppered with “bhutta” (roasted corn), expresso, and chai breaks. Here if I want a chai break then I should get cracking right about now.
I’ve been thinking a lot recently about how time consuming cooking ‘our’ food can be. Most dishes, especially those with some kind of gravy, take a long time to get there. This delicious 15 minute Shrimp and Coconut Curry fortunately isn’t one of them. It gets ready thanks to the tomato paste and quick cooking protein (shrimp). If you want a smooth curry (i.e. no onion pieces) then simply pull out the onions after sauteing them and blitz to a paste with a little water. I’ve tried making a paste before frying the onions and I find two things happen. One it takes a lot longer to saute a raw onion paste. Two it takes a lot more oil. Bah I say.
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- 1 onion, extra finely diced
- ¼ t tsp kalonji (onion/nigella seeds)
- 1 sprig curry leaves
- 1 400 ml can coconut milk
- ½ tsp ginger paste
- ½ tsp garlic paste
- ¾ - 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp red chilli powder
- ⅛ tsp turmeric powder
- 3-4 tbsp tomato paste
- a pinch of sugar
- 200g peeled raw shrimp
- 2-3 green chillies cut into strips (optional)
Heat a little oil in a heavy bottomed pot
Add the nigella seeds, let them splutter a little then add the onions
Saute the onions until just translucent and then add the garlic and ginger paste, cook for a minute
Now add the chilli powder, turmeric, and ¾ tsp salt
Cook till the oil rises a little to the top then add curry sprig and 3 tbsp of the tomato paste, stir to mix
Pour in the coconut milk, a pinch of sugar, mix well and bring to a boil.
Add the shrimp, let cook just until the shrimp forms a open C shape.
Adjust consistency with water per your liking ( I usually add a small splash) then taste and add more tomato paste if needed and the green chillies (if using)
Serve with plain rice
- This is a less is more recipe, keep the ginger-garlic levels scant for best flavour
- If you wish to double it then put in 1 ½ tsp red chilli powder in the first round, 2 becomes too much somehow.
- For a smooth curry blitz the cooked onions and spices together with a little coconut milk and then return to the pot and add curry leaves and remaining ingredients. Otherwise just mince the onions super finely and enjoy!
Pin it right here to try later!