My Maharashtrian Masala is a lovely combination of delicious tastes and flavors. This aromatic & flavorful dish can literally be made with anything such as chicken, meat, seafood, vegetable or any combination thereof of your choosing. The versatile recipe also works well with boiled eggs, paneer or extra firm tofu. The only thing you will need to adjust is the cooking times accordingly. It’s also a perfect dish for last minute entertaining since it comes together very quickly. You can always adjust the amount of chilies & make the dish as mild or as spicy as you wish.
I have decided to make this dish using shrimp but again, feel free to use your family’s favorite ingredients – this recipe works well with just about any combination of ingredients. This dish can also be made completely vegetarian or vegan.
MAHARASHTRIAN SHRIMP MASALA
1 lb of medium shrimp (peeled, de-veined & tail-on)
1 tsp cumin seeds
pinch of asafetida (hing)
1 medium onion, finely diced
2-3 large garlic cloves, finely minced
1˝” piece of ginger, peeled & finely minced
2-3 small green Thai chilies, slit in half lengthwise (to taste)
5-6 fresh curry leaves
˝ tsp turmeric (haldi)
˝ tsp ground cumin powder
˝ tsp red chili powder, to taste
1 tsp ground coriander powder
2 tsp kala or goda masala (or you can use garam masala)
salt & pepper, to taste
1 medium tomato, finely diced
˝ cup toasted unsalted peanuts (or cashews)
˝ cup freshly grated coconut (or you can use thick coconut milk)
2 tbsp oil (vegetable or canola)
freshly chopped cilantro leaves for garnish
In a large deep skillet or wok on medium high heat, add the oil. When hot, add the asafetida & the cumin seeds. Let the cumin seeds sizzle for just a minute or so & then add the onions. Sauté the onions until just lightly browned. Next, add the garlic along with the ginger, green chilies & curry leaves. Sauté for another 5 minutes & then add the spices (turmeric, ground cumin powder, red chili powder, ground coriander powder, kala masala, salt & pepper). Let the spices cook for a few minutes before adding the tomatoes along with about ˝ cup of water. Stir well to combine, cover, reduce the heat to simmer & let cook for about 5-6 minutes or until the tomatoes have completely broken down & melted into the dish.
Now add the shrimp & mix well to coat all of the shrimp in the spices/aromatics. Let cook for about 4-5 minutes or until all of the shrimp have turned opaque & curled up slightly. Do not overcook. Lastly, add the peanuts & coconut. Mix well to combine all of the ingredients together. This dish is not really a curry but more like a thick gravy, but if you prefer more of a curry – then simply add a little more water or coconut milk as needed until your desired consistency is reached. Let cook for a few more minutes & then garnish with the cilantro leaves. Serve hot with fresh chapatis & fragrant Basmati rice as part of any Indian meal.