I absolutely love shrimp, so this Goan dish is a personal favorite of mine. Goa is a serene and tranquil oasis located on the southwest coast of India in the Konkan region. Its cuisine is characterized by the abundance of fresh seafood and succulent coconuts. Famous for its distinctive dishes, Goan food is a delicious combination of exotic Indian spices and traditional Portuguese cooking styles. This dish is a perfect example.
1 lb of large shrimp, peeled and de-veined
1 medium onion, finely diced
2-3 large garlic cloves, peeled and finely minced
1” piece of ginger, peeled and finely minced
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 tbsp desiccated shredded coconut (unsweetened)
¼ tsp black peppercorns
1 stick of cinnamon (2” in length)
2 cardamom pods, crushed
3-4 dried red chilies, to taste
¼ tsp turmeric
½ tsp garam masala
½ tsp ground cumin powder
salt, to taste
1 tsp dried tamarind pulp, soaked in ¼ cup hot water (or you can use 1 tsp tam concentrate or 1 tsp tamarind powder)
1 cup of coconut milk
2 tbsp oil, vegetable or canola
freshly chopped cilantro leaves for garnish
Using a spice or clean coffee grinder, grind together the desiccated coconut, cloves, peppercorns, cinnamon and cardamom into a fine powder. Set aside until needed.
In a large deep skillet or wok on medium high heat, add the oil. When hot, add the cumin seeds and the onions. Let sauté until just slightly brown, and then add the garlic and ginger. Let sauté for 2-3 minutes and add dried red chilies and the spices (turmeric, garam masala, ground cumin and salt). Stir and let the spices cook for a few minutes before adding the tamarind (either the rehydrated pulp along with its liquid, tam concentrate or tam powder). Add the coconut milk, reduce the heat and let simmer for 4-5 minutes. Add the shrimp and the ground spice mixture. Stir to even coat the shrimp in the curry. If the curry is a bit thick, add a little water if you prefer. Cover and let cook for just a few minutes until the shrimps are done. Garnish with freshly chopped cilantro leaves and serve with fresh chapatis and fragrant Basmati rice.
Feel free to use your favorite fish or scallops to make this dish. It works with chicken as well.