Posted by: gdevi | June 11, 2010

Shrimp Po’Boy Blues

Read about the end of Louisiana shrimp industry here. Every night when I watch the Rachel Maddow show and see images of the oil spill devastation on the wildlife in LA I wish I could go and help in the clean-up there. What a beautiful part of the country completed destroyed by these greedy oilmen. I don’t remember the name of the documentary now–but sometime back I saw this beautiful documentary about the impact of Hurricane Katrina on the bayou wildlife — it has beautiful music by Allen Toussaint and Tab Benoit — very beautiful music – and it was amazing to see how the alligator babies survived the hurricane. I wish I could go help the clean-up — all of us — Krish, Dayani — the dogs can’t help — but we should all be doing something to help these people and animals. Can you imagine a beautiful pelican drowning in crude oil? All the pornography in the world wouldn’t match the obscenity of that one image.

I am going to try and remember all the shrimp dishes we cook in Kerala. Here is one that my mother used to make fairly regularly in our house. You need firm, fully grown raw mangoes (no ripe ones) for this dish.

Ingredients

1 pound of shrimp, shelled and deveined

1 fairly big, raw mango or two small mangoes (no ripe ones)

1 cup of shredded coconut

1-2 green chillies

1 tsp red chili powder (or paprika; depending on how much heat you can tolerate you should reduce the amount of both the green chillies and red chillies. I eat very spicy food, but I cook very mild food because Krish and Dayani both don’t like spicy food. My recipes tend to follow what I consider tasty, but it could be hellfire and damnation for you.)

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp cumin seeds

3-4 shallots

1 Tbsp ginger sliced in small pieces ( you can add more ginger if you like the taste. I do.)

1 Tbsp coconut oil

Method

Grind the coconut, ginger, shallots, turmeric, cumin, green chillies and red chili powder together in  a food processor to make a smooth paste. The curry mix should not be too liquidy so add water carefully while grinding the mixture. Pour the mixture into a heavy bottomed sauce-pan (clay or cast iron pans are ideal). Stir in the shelled, cleaned, deveined shrimp into the mixture. Slice the raw mangoes into thin strips — take slightly less than the amount of shrimp you have — and stir into the mixture. Mix everything well. Add salt to taste. Cook the mixture on medium heat until the mixture starts to boil and the shrimp and mango pieces become opaque and translucent respectively. Reduce heat to low and cook for twenty minutes. You will smell the cooked smell of the sauce and the shrimp and mango pieces. Remove from heat and add the coconut oil on top of the dish in a swirling motion so it touches all parts of the dish.

Serve with warm white rice. Delicious! The taste of shrimp is balanced with the creamy nuttiness of the coconut sauce and the tartness of the mango pieces. I ate a variation of this dish in a Thai restaurant once; they used coconut milk instead of ground coconut and they served the whole dish inside the scooped out skin of the mango. Very interesting.

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