Sunday, 27 December 2009

And Now for Something Completely Different - Lasoon Jhinga

I am already feeling pretty done with Christmas and with turkey, and it will be a little while before I crave mashed potatoes again. The perfect antidote for me is Asian cuisine, the most warming and comforting for me being South Asian, specifically Indian.
This recipe for Garlic Shrimp with a Coconut Sauce is from 660 Curries, a book that has yet to let me down. Big on flavour, the dish wakens your senses and warms your soul.

Lasoon Jhinga
Garlic Shrimp with a Coconut Sauce

660 Curries, Raghavan Iyer

1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1/4 cup distilled white vinegar, slightly warmed
2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp black peppercorns
4 large garlic cloves
3 dried red Thai or cayenne chilies, stems removed
1/2 cup shredded fresh coconut; or 1/4 cup shredded dried unsweetened coconut, reconstituted*
2 tbsp canola oil
1 tsp coarse kosher or sea salt
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro leaves and tender stems for garnishing

*To reconstitute coconut, cover with 1/4 cup boiling water, set aside for about 15 minutes, and then drain.


Place the shrimp in a medium-size bowl, sprinkle the turmeric over them, and toss. Refrigerate, covered, for 15 to 30 minutes, to allow the shellfish to absorb the spice's flavour and colour.

While the shrimp is marinating, pout the warm vinegar into a small bowl and add the cumin seeds, pepper corns, garlic and chilies. Soak until the chilies soften slightly, about 30 minutes. Then transfer the vinegar and the soaked ingredients to a blender jar, and add the coconut and 1/4 cup water. Puree, scraping the inside of the jar as needed, to form a smooth, red-speckled paste.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp, arranging them in a single layer. Sear on each side to seal in the flavours, about 1 minute per side. Then add the coconut-garlic sauce and the salt. Stir once or twice, lower the heat to medium, and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp are salmon-orange, curled and tender, 3-5 minutes.

Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.

**I served it on a bed of brown basmati rice, which was spooned onto a plate of baby spinach.

Totally delicious and warming Shrimp Curry for Souper Sunday with Deb of Kahakai Kitchen.