Easy Shrimp Curry (Masala Jhinga)
In this dish, shrimp are cooked in a masala (spiced tomato and onion base) in which I combined the cooking styles and flavor of northern and southern India. The masala base is a northern Indian style used by my mother, but I have added mustard seeds as a spice, which are common in southern Indian cooking and are used by my mother-in-law. I then add a little bit of water to give a saucy curry like consistency to the final dish. Since this shrimp dish has a saucy consistency, it goes well with plain boiled rice or even with Indian breads.
Serves 3 to 4
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Refrigerator life: 2 days
Reheating method: Place the refrigerated shrimp curry in a saucepan over medium-low heat and stir periodically. Or, place the shrimp curry in a microwave and stir periodically.
1 lb (500 g) shrimp (in the 40 to 50 per lb range)
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 dried finger-length red chili peppers
3/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
3/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 small onion, grated on the largest grating holes on a box grater or in a food processor
1 fully ripe tomato, cut into 4 pieces
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
11/2 teaspoons Garam Masala
1/4 cup (65 ml) water
If you’re using shrimp with their peels and heads on, remove their heads, peel the shrimp, remove their tails and devein them. Rinse the peeled shrimp in cold water.
Pour the oil into a medium nonstick skillet and place over medium heat. When the oil is heated, tear open and add the red chili peppers, cumin seeds and mustard seeds. Sauté until the cumin seeds turn brown and you hear the mustard seeds pop, stirring frequently, about 10 seconds. Do not let the cumin seeds burn and turn black. Immediately add the onion. Sauté until the onion is golden brown, stirring frequently, about 6 minutes.
Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the tomato and cover the saucepan. Cook until the tomato becomes completely soft and mashed and is combined with the onion to form a coarse paste, stirring every minute or so and lightly mashing the tomato, about 5 minutes.
Add the turmeric, red pepper, salt, black pepper and Garam Masala. Stir to combine. Cook uncovered for 6 minutes, stirring frequently. This is the masala (spice base).
Add the shrimp. Stir to combine. Add the water and increase the heat to medium. Cook until the shrimp are opaque and they curl up, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Enjoy now or let cool to room temperature and refrigerate for later!
Reprinted with the express permission of Tuttle Publishing, a member of the Periplus Publishing Group.