Cooking with Stella

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Kerala Shrimp Curry

Stella's glorious shrimp curry is well known throughout the diplomatic circles of Delhi. It is one of her signature dishes, tart with tamarind and lush with coconut milk.


Rinse off shrimp. Place in a medium-sized bowl, add the marinade ingredients, stir well, and set aside.

Chop the tamarind pulp coarsely and place in a bowl. Pour in the boiling water and mash tamarind a little with a fork. Set aside to soak for about 10 minutes.

In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan or a wok, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until a pale golden colour, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Raise the heat to medium-high. Add the mustard seeds (they may pop or sputter) and cook for 30 seconds. Add the fenugreek seeds and tomatoes and stir well. Add the garlic, ginger, green chiles, curry leaves, turmeric, coriander, and red chile powder. Cook, stirring, for a minute or two, then add the coconut milk and a pinch of salt. Lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile strain the tamarind mixture through a sieve into a clean bowl: Using a wooden spoon, press the tamarind pulp against the mesh of the sieve to extract as much liquid as possible. Set aside the liquid and discard the pulp.

Stir three tablespoons of the tamarind liquid into the simmering curry. Taste, and then adjust the balance of flavours if you wish by adding more tamarind liquid, and/or salt.

Shortly before you wish to serve, add the shrimp, and any marinade, to the curry and cook until the shrimp has just changed colour, about three minutes. Garnish the curry with chopped coriander and serve with plain rice and lime wedges.

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