Sri Lankan Shrimp Curry
Growing up, all I knew about Sri Lanka was it is an island nation in the Indian Ocean, neighbor of India, has a cricket team, Colombo is the capital city, LTTE rebels fighting for a separate state for Sri Lankan Tamils in northern part of the country and King Ravana of Lanka from the Hindu Epic Ramayana was the king of current day Sri Lanka. I do not know much about the country even now but learned a bit about the cuisine. Being a South Indian, I could relate to the food. Rice is a staple, coconut is used a lot in cooking & being an island national, seafood is equally popular. This post from Veggie Belly is a good travelogue about the food and culture of the country.
Today I have a spicy shrimp curry from this island nation. In fact, this is the first recipe I cooked for this marathon. Back in May after the April mega marathon, I was not at all motivated to cook & was even contemplating if I should do this marathon. Mr.U did not show much interest and I needed him on board as he is the only taster I have at home. My blogger buddies on what’s app motivated me to start with countries neighboring India as these cuisines would be similar to Indian and then gradually move on to the Far East & Western cuisines. I remembered Mireille doing a Sri Lankan curry some time ago. I went to her blog’s recipe index and checked out the recipe & decided to do it. Her blog is a treasure trove of international recipes.
Coming to the recipe, Mireille used Sri Lankan curry powder and I did not want to buy it just for one recipe. I searched for the curry powder recipe online to make it at home and finalized Chamari’s recipe. She also has a recipe for shrimp curry. On the day I planned to cook, I was too lazy to even make the powder and searched for other recipes and found Ramona’s recipe. This recipe doesn’t use any curry powder. Both Chamari and Ramona cooked shrimp with onions and other spices, unlike the curries I am used to. I am used to sautéing onions and spices first, before adding the shrimp. I tweaked the recipe a bit. Mir sautéed onions and spices before making the curry. I followed that part of the preparation from Mireille’s recipe recipe.
The curry was quite delicious and bit on the spicier side. In fact it was the amount of spices; chili powder, ginger garlic and green chilies that Ramona used in the recipe that attracted me to her recipe. I am glad I followed her recipe. The spice level was just perfect as per out taste. I wanted to make this curry again for better pictures but never got around to doing it again.
Adapted from: Ramona
Total Time: 25 – 30 minutes
Preparation: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 – 25 minutes
Serves: 2 – 4 (depending on how it is served)
- 1 lb. Shrimp (I used 26 – 30 count frozen shrimp)
- 2 tbsp. Oil
- 1 tsp. Fenugreek Seeds
- 1 ½ “ – 2” Cinnamon Stick broken into 3 – 4 pieces
- 1 medium – large Onion chopped or 1 cup chopped Onion
- 3 Garlic Cloves chopped or 1 tbsp. chopped Garlic
- 1 ½ – 2” Ginger or ½ – ¾ tbsp. chopped Ginger (ginger can also be grated)
- 2 Green Chilies chopped or approx. 1 tsp. chopped Green Chilies
- 2 – 3 tsp. Chili Powder (adjust to taste. I used 3 teaspoons)
- 1 – 1 ¼ tsp. Salt (adjust to taste)
- 2 – 3 tbsp. Lime/Lemon Juice
- 1 cup Coconut Milk (I used Thai Kitchen Lite coconut milk)
- ½ – 1 cup Water (I used 1 cup but add as required)
- Wash, devein the shrimp and wash it. Shell can be removed but the shell gives more flavor to the curry. I bought deveined shrimp with shell on. I removed the shell for ½ the shrimp and kept the shrimp on for the other half. I kept the tails intact. Depending on your preference either remove the shell or keep it.
- Chop onions, ginger, garlic and green chilies.
- Heat oil in a pan, add fenugreek seeds and cinnamon sticks. When the oil is infused with the flavors and the spices change color, add onion and sauté for couple of minutes. Onions should just begin to become translucent.
- Add ginger, garlic, chilies and sauté for another couple of minute until onions are translucent and golden brown.
- Add chili powder, turmeric, salt, shrimp and mix.
- Reduce the heat to med – medium high and sauté for about 5 minutes. Shrimp will curl up and change color.
- Add lemon juice, mix well.
- Cover and cook for another 5 minutes until shrimp are almost cooked.
- Add coconut milk, water and bring to a boil. Taste the curry and adjust lemon juice and salt.
- Once the curry starts to boil, reduce the heat to low and let it simmer 5 – 7 minutes until curry is done.
- Serve hot with rice.
- If using frozen shrimp as I did, run shrimp under cold water and then leave it in the water for some time until the shrimp is thawed, about 5 – 10 minutes or as long as required.
- Next time I make it, I would like to see how it tastes with some lemon grass. This is an optional ingredient and I left it out it.