I have a confession to make. I am a judgmental, picky–sometimes even bratty–eater. I always have been. If something looks funny, I might still try it; but I make no promises (ehhmm…pickles!).
Growing up, I had a list of foods I would absolutely refuse to eat. The list included (but was not limited to): onions, shrimp (and other sea creatures), pickles, most vegetables and tomatoes (unless they were sauced, smashed, diced or in the form of ketchup. I loved ketchup).
As I get older, I notice my taste-buds have evolved quite dramatically and most things on my list have been crossed off. But, it wasn’t until I developed a love for Indian food (and a certain Indian…) that I began to appreciate onions, tomatoes, veggies…and shrimp.
Ok…If I’m being completely honest, I can’t say that I really enjoy shrimp (tolerate…yes. enjoy…not so much.); but drowning the little, pink sea-creatures in a sauce of creamy curry sure makes it a whole lot easier.
Piyush, on the other hand, can’t get enough of the funky looking crustaceans and loves when I surprise him with a steaming bowl of shrimp curry.
This particular curry originates from West Bengal, India. It has a base made from coconut milk, cardamom, cinnamon, and clove—things I love!
The flavor is semi-sweet; but has a little kick from the addition of the chili powder.
Bengali-Style Shrimp Malai Curry
(creamy shrimp curry) Serves 4
- 1 lb. large shrimp
- 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tbsp. oil–more, if needed
- 3/4 onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 2 inch piece of cinnamon stick
- 5 whole cloves
- 7 cardamom pods
- 5 medium-sized Indian bay leaves (I have used regular bay leaves, and those work fine as well)
- 1 inch piece of ginger, grated or about 1 tablespoon ginger paste
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped or about 1 tablespoon garlic paste
- 1 tsp. paprika
- chili powder, to taste –i used about 1/4 tsp. of really spicy powder
- 3/4 cup lite coconut milk
- salt and pepper–to taste
- Peel and de-vein the shrimp, leaving the tails intact–if you can. I prefer to use wild-caught shrimp rather than farm raised, and unfortunately my store only had one option for wild-caught…so my shrimp had no tails.
- Put the shrimp in a bowl, add the lemon juice, then toss them together and leave them sit for around 5 minutes. Rinse the Shrimp under cold water and pat dry.
- Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed pan over medium-high heat and cook the onion until lightly browned. Add the garlic, ginger, turmeric, chili powder and paprika and cook until everything becomes fragrant and cooked through. Grab your blender.
- In a blender, combine the onion mixture and 1/2 c. coconut milk. Blend until smooth and set aside.
- In the same pan that you cooked the onions, add a little more oil. Toss in the cloves, cardamom, bay leaves and cinnamon. Let the spices “fry” for about a minute.
- Add the shrimp to the pan and cook until they begin to turn pink. Once they’re almost cooked through, dump the contents of the blender into the pan. Add 1/2 c. water into the blender and swish around–dump this into the pan too. Stir everything so that all the shrimp are well coated. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.
- Once the mixture is simmering, add the last 1/2 c. coconut milk. Let curry simmer away for about 15 minutes–until the sauce has thickened.
- Enjoy with rice or rotis!!!
Note: You can skip the blender stage and leave everything “chunky”…the taste is the same (and it’s actually more authentic); but you won’t have that smooth, beautiful gravy.
I served the curry with home-made pooris—which, unfortunately, my stomach can not tolerate. It couldn’t in India, either…but I was hopeful.
We also ate our shrimp curry alongside a simple veg. curry.
This curry is super easy; and is often my “go-to curry.” I’ll get the recipe up here soon!