About a month ago, a friend gave me a copy of Canal House Cooks Every Day and I can’t put it down! So far my favorite recipe—the one that has already become a weekly obsession—is a wonderfully complex curry that is even more wonderfully easy to prepare. This fiery curry, which gets its heat from Kashmiri chile powder, is meant to be served over a delicious sounding curd rice, but given that we’re trying to lighten things up during the week, I just steam a small head of orange cauliflower florets and serve the curry over that.
For those in Los Angeles, you can find Kashmiri chile powder and fresh curry leaves at India Spices & Groceries on Pico Blvd., just west of Fairfax.SHRIMP ROAST Adapted from Canal House Cooks Every Day Serves 2-3 For the spice blend: 2 teaspoons ground coriander 1/2 teaspoon Kerala-style garam masala 1/4 teaspoon lightly crushed fennel seeds For the shrimp: 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined 1 teaspoon Kashmiri chile powder 1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric 1 teaspoon salt 1/4 cup (scant) coconut oil 1 medium onion, diced 2-3 cloves garlic, minced 1 teaspoon peeled and finely minced fresh ginger 1 tablespoon tomato paste For the tarka: 2 tablespoons coconut oil 10-15 fresh curry leaves
For the spice blend, mix together the coriander, garam masala, and fennel seeds in a bowl. Set aside.
For the shrimp, pat the shrimp dry and put them in a medium bowl. Add chile powder, pepper, turmeric, and salt and toss to coat. Set aside.
Heat scant 1/4 cup coconut oil in a large wide skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until they begin to brown around the edges, about 8 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, tomato paste, and fry for 1 minute. Add spice blend and fry briefly until fragrant. Increase heat to high and add shrimp, stirring constantly until the shrimp are cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a serving dish.
For the tarka, heat 2 tablespoons coconut oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add curry leaves and fry briefly until they crackle. Pour tarka over shrimp. Serve over steamed cauliflower or rice.