Shrimp in Fresh Coconut Milk (Jhinga Masala)

Seafood is very popular on the South, West, and East Coasts of India.  There are endless varieties of fish preparations, and they differ from region to region.  The chili-hot Andhra Pradesh fish and prawn curries, the coconut- and curry-flavored Madras prawn and fish curries, the mustard-flavored fish and prawn curries of Bengal, and, of course, the unforgettable fish and shellfish curries of Kerala and Goa are all spectacular.

Treat your family and friends to this delicious shrimp curry, flavored with turmeric and fresh gingerroot from my first book Feast of India: A Legacy of Recipes and Fables (1991, 2015).

Shrimp in Fresh Coconut Milk (Jhinga Masala)

Serves 6

2 pounds fresh jumbo shrimp
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
¼  teaspoon asafoetida powder
1 large onion, peeled and chopped fine
6 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 1-inch piece fresh gingerroot, peeled and grated fine
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 fresh green chilies, cut into thin strips
10 curry leaves
2 cups coconut milk
Salt to taste

Shell and devein the shrimps.  Heat the oil in a large saucepan.  Add the mustard seeds and fry over medium heat.  When they start popping, stir in the asafoetida powder for 30 seconds; then add the onion, garlic, and ginger and cook until the onion is browned.  Stir in the turmeric, chilies, and curry leaves, and fry for a minutes.  Add the coconut milk and salt, stirring to a simmering point, and add the shrimps.  Mix thoroughly and cook, uncovered, for 15 minutes, until the shrimps are tender and pink.  Serve hot with plain rice, vegetable sambar, and pappadams.

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