Thursday, January 14, 2010

Curried shrimp with peas

N had minor surgery on Wednesday (all's well, nothing to worry about), and I don't know what it was in my insane preop mom brain that made me assume I would actually bring him home that afternoon and then sit down and do my usual Wednesday-night-NTMC-recipe-writing ritual.

Because, clearly, I did not. Thus, please accept my apologies for the dead air here today.

Please accept, also, that I'm just going to sort of throw this recipe at you, without much in the way of witty and interesting introductory text.

Oh, and the blurry picture above. I don't know what happened there!

I will say the following: This was a first-time-tried recipe. I was in the library the other day, picking up something I'd placed on reserve, and I decided to browse through the cookbooks. When I saw this recipe in The Best Recipe (by the editors of Cook's Illustrated Magazine), I grabbed the book with one hand, and fished out my library card with the other. I went straight from the library to the grocery store across the street, got the needed ingredients, and headed home. Because Cooks Illustrated is, by far, my favorite cooking magazine. Nothing else even comes close.

The only other thing I'll say is this: I think I may have had a slight allergic reaction to this dish, delicious as it was. Hives, itching...on my thighs. I'm guessing it was the shrimp, though it could just be my head. In any case, as I was reaching for the antihistamine, I thought of Niksmom, and how I should have known better than to even contemplate a recipe she's allergic to! Niksmom, you have some powerful mojo, girl!

And with that, I present the many-ingrediented (yes, I made up that word) but easy to make and utterly delicious...

Curried shrimp with peas (adapted from Cook's Illustrated's The Best Recipe)

For whole spice blend
2 cinnamon sticks
4 whole cloves
4 cardamom pods
8 peppercorns
1 bay leaf

For rest of recipe
1/4 cup canola oil
1 medium onion, sliced thin
4 large garlic cloves (puree in food processor with ginger, below)
about 2 inches fresh ginger, peeled (puree in food processor with garlic, above)
1 1/2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined (mine were frozen, and so had to be thawed along with peas, below)
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp salt
about 3 canned plum tomatoes
1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt
chopped fresh cilantro leaves (plus some for garnish)
1 cup frozen green peas, thawed

Some notes: You can omit as many of the spices as you like, or even other ingredients; this seems like a pretty forgiving recipe. In fact, the original has a bunch of other suggestions for things to add and/or subtract. This is not one of those recipes you need to sweat. At the same time, I do suggest getting everything out and measure and cut and prepare and set aside beforehand, as if you were the host on a cooking show. I almost always just grab ingredients as I go, but in this case, that would likely have spelled disaster, because the actual cooking goes QUICKLY.

1. Heat oil in pot or skillet; I used my dutch oven, and thought it was perfect for this. Let the oil get good and hot, then add the whole spice blend, stirring for less than 30 seconds. (The book's recipe never has you remove these whole spices, but I didn't like the idea of biting into them while eating, and so searched for and removed as many of them as I could find before serving the dish.)

2. Add onion; saute until softened or slightly browned.

3. Stir in garlic, ginger, ground spices (including salt), tomatoes, yogurt. Stir pretty much constantly until spices smell cooked, about two minutes.

4. Stir in cilantro and two cups of water; bring all to a boil. Taste and season with more salt, if needed.

5. Add shrimp and peas. Simmer for three minutes.

6. Serve over rice, because you're going to want something to sop up the spicy liquid. Trust me on this.

Enjoy. Because this is some hive-worthy stuff!


  1. Sorry about the hives. Must've been the double whammy of shellfish AND peas. I'm allergic to one and my boy to the other. Sorry, I'll try to keep our allergy mojo under better wraps.

    Sadly, there was once a time when I was not allergic to shellfish. My formerly non-allergic self would've enjoyed this recipe immensely!

  2. I would just use curry powder.

    I am not allergic to shellfish but I am to fish with scales if I eat it more than once a week. I am also allergic to string beans in the summer only. I just bought them at Whole Foods with shiitake mushrooms... guess what I am making this weekend. LOL

  3. This sounds really yummy! Thanks for sharing.