My Facebook followers will remember my post showing you pictures of delicious curries/entrées good enough for entertaining this Holiday season. This shrimp roast is an easy to make, lip-smacking recipe from dear mom. She makes it when a simple shrimp/prawn curry or shrimp fry won’t do. It can be tricky to infuse a lot of complex flavors into shrimp, mainly because they get cooked really fast. But this traditional South Indian recipe will open your eyes to new possibilities. It can be adapted to other seafood like mussels, squids or even crabs.
Typically in western cuisine, shrimp is flash-cooked in the pan for just a couple of minutes. While this ensures the natural color and sweetness of these crustaceans are not lost, it is not something that I grew up with. Shrimp (and other seafood) do take well to being cooked with lots of spices, which takes them to a completely different level of taste.
The secret to the flavor lies in the dry-roasted and ground cumin or jeera. It adds a distinct flavor and great aroma to the dish. Though it is best to roast and grind cumin seeds yourself, good-quality, fresh cumin powder from the store works well, especially if you are crunched for time.
The peeled and de-veined shrimps get cooked in a spicy and tangy gravy which is then reduced till fairly dry. This is then roasted with a bit of extra oil to further enhance the flavors. Coconut oil is preferred because it pairs excellently with the spices, jeera and curry leaves. But you can use any oil you usually cook with.
Read on for the recipe.
SPICY SHRIMP/PRAWN ROAST WITH ROASTED AND GROUND JEERA/CUMIN
- Shrimp – 1 lb, peeled and de-veined (I usually use medium-sized shrimp, but you can use jumbo or king-sized ones too.)
- Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
- Pepper powder – 1/2 tsp
- Salt – 1/4 tsp
- Lemon juice – 2 tsp
For the shrimp/prawn roast,
- Cumin seeds – 2-3 tsp
- Oil – 3 tbsp, divided (coconut oil preferred)
- Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
- Curry leaves – a few sprigs
- Onion – 1, finely chopped
- Ginger – 1″ piece, chopped
- Garlic – 5-6 cloves, crushed and chopped
- Green chilies – 2, chopped
- Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
- Red chili powder – 1 1/2 tsp
- Coriander powder – 2 tsp
- Tomato – 1, chopped
- Tamarind pulp water – extracted from a small lime-sized ball in 1/4 cup warm water or 1 tsp tamarind concentrate dissolved in 1/4 cup warm water
- Salt – to taste
- Garam masala powder – 1/2 tsp
- Peel, de-vein and wash the shrimp. Marinate with all the ingredients listed under ‘to marinate’ and refrigerate while you prepare the gravy.
- In a deep skillet or pan, dry roast the cumin seeds on medium heat. Cool slightly and grind to a powder in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder. Keep aside.
- Heat 2 tbsp oil in the pan. Add mustard seeds and curry leaves. When they crackle, add onion and saute till translucent.
- Now add the ginger, garlic and green chilis and saute well till onions are golden.
- Add turmeric, red chili and coriander powders and 3/4 tsp of the ground cumin and saute for a minute. Then add the chopped tomato and cook till it breaks down and turns mushy, maybe in a couple of minutes.
- Now add the shrimp, tamarind water and salt and cook for a couple of minutes till shrimp gets fully cooked.
- Increase the heat and start reducing the gravy. When it is thick, keep stirring frequently so that it doesn’t burn at the bottom. You can see the roast intensifying in color. Add a few teaspoons of oil at the sides and fry for a couple of minutes, stirring frequently. Sprinkle garam masala powder and a bit of the extra cumin powder (if you have any), stir well and remove from heat.
- Serve hot with rice and curry or with Indian flat breads like chapatis, appams or dosas.
- You can adapt this recipe to use shelled mussels, squid or even crabs, all of which are extremely popular seasonal catch enjoyed throughout coastal India. If you are using crab, make sure it is cleaned properly and fully cooked before you start reducing the gravy. It might also need more water to cook in the initial stage.
Add this dish to your next dinner party. I am sure your guests will love this spicy shrimp roast. Or make this whenever you fancy a slightly different seafood preparation.
Do you like shrimp? Do try this delicious recipe and let me know how it goes.
I am linking this up at these awesome blogs.
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- By Stephanie Lynn