Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Lime Shrimp Curry

When I became an omnivore in 2005, after an eleven-year vegetarian period, I eased into it by starting with seafood. Among the most innocuous items in this category are shrimp, especially when they have undergone euphemistic transformation – “peeled” (de-headed and de-tailed) and “deveined” (intestinal removal). Then (and now) I am thankful that shrimp don’t require any dissection in the kitchen or at the table. They can simply be popped into the mouth whole.

Beyond ease of preparation, shrimp are high in protein, calcium and cholesterol, and low in calories. They are used in a wide variety of dishes throughout the world, most notably Spanish paella de marisco, American shrimp cocktail, Thai tom yum soup and Italian-American scampi.

Shrimp are ten-footed, filter-feeding crustaceans that live on or near the ocean floor. In 2005, almost 3.5 million metric tons of shrimp and prawns were harvested from the sea. Shrimp are collected largely through trawling, a system of nets that sweep the oceans and inadvertently catches many non-target species. A study by the Food and Agriculture Organization found that for every pound of shrimp harvested, almost 6 pounds of non-shrimp animals were caught in trawling nets. Since the 1970s, shrimp have also been raised on shrimp farms. Worldwide production in 2003 was 1.6 million tons - largely produced in Thailand, China and Brazil.

This curry is adapted from a recipe by Ruth Reichl which appears in her book Comfort Me with Apples. I’ve removed the butter and heavy cream and added more vegetables.

Serves 4-6

1 pound shrimp, peeled, deveined and cooked
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 onion, chopped
3 tablespoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
1 tablespoon flour
1 can coconut milk (light coconut milk will work)
2 cups broth (chicken or vegetable)
1 lime, zest and juice
1 head of broccoli, chopped into bite-sized florets
1 can of whole straw mushrooms
salt and pepper to taste

1. Defrost the shrimp according to directions on the packet or cook fresh shrimp. Set aside at room temperature.
2. Over medium heat sauté and garlic and onion in olive oil until translucent, about 5 minutes.
3. Add all the spices and flour and continue to cook for 2 minutes.
4. Add the coconut milk, broth and all the zest of the lime and bring to a boil.
5. Add broccoli and simmer for 3 minutes. Then add the mushrooms, juice of the lime and salt and pepper to taste.
6. Remove from heat and add shrimp. If you cook the shrimp they can get rubbery. Since they are pre-cooked they only need to be warmed up, which keeps them tender. Allow shrimp to warm up for 2-3 minutes and serve immediately.
7. Serve over rice or couscous. Best served with a spicy Indian pickle. I recommend this lime version.


Anonymous said...

Ooh, I had no idea you were such a huge fan of lime pickle until I saw all these ringing endorsements of it! I am too. LOVE the stuff. Also love almost other kinds of pickle.


Anonymous said...

This looks delicious! Can’t wait to try it!