MALABAR SEAFOOD CURRY: A LITTLE BIT OF KERALA IN LA
After a few days of pretty good eating in the peachy state of Georgia (Savannah post soon come), our return home left us wanting not only a bit of comfort eating, but also in one of those all too rare moods where meat was not top of the agenda.
It was Sybil who suggested we use up a few bags of frozen prawns and scallops lurking at the back of the freezer and, when that was combined that with my own urge for something with a little bit of spice, it had me reaching for this terrific recipe for Malabar Seafood curry given to me by a friend from the southern Indian state of Kerala.
The use of coconut is very typical of many dishes from the area and you could substitute the shrimps and scallops that I used for white fish or other types of seafood. I have made similar dishes with clams, mussels and even chunks of lobster and crab. The key to a great end result is to poach the seafood in the sauce towards the end of the cooking time so that it does not over cook and become tough.
Some versions call for tamarind to be added as a souring agent. While that can be delicious, I find that the addition of fresh lime juice at the very end of the cooking time achieves much the same affect and gives an added freshness to the dish, as indeed does the garnish of grated lime zest.
Definitely worth a try.
INGREDIENTS (Serves 4)
12 Large Shell On Shrimp
5 Large Scallops (sliced into three discs)
1 13oz Can Coconut Milk
1 Can's Worth Of Water
½ Large White Onion (sliced)
3 Cloves Garlic (peeled and minced)
3 Green Chillies (seeded and minced)
1 Inch Fresh Cinnamon Stick
1 Inch Fresh Ginger (peeled and minced)
½ Tsp Fenugreek Seed
½ Tsp Mustard Seed
3 Green Cardamom Pods
1 Tsp Ground Coriander
1 Tsp Ground Turmeric
1 Tsp White Pepper
1 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Sugar
1 Lime (juice and zest)
Vegetable Oil For Cooking
Heat the oil in a large, deep sided frying pan.
Add the fenugreek seed, mustard seed, cinnamon stick and cardamom pods and fry for two minutes to allow them to flavour the oil.
Add the minced ginger, chilli and garlic and sweat for a few minutes until they begin to lose their raw smell.
Add the sliced onion and cook until soft and golden.
Combine the salt, sugar and ground spices and mix with a little water to form a paste.
Add to the pan and combine well with the existing contents.
Cook for five minutes until the spices begin to release their oils.
Add the can of coconut milk and the same amount of water.
Stir well and bring the sauce to a simmer.
Allow the sauce to cook until the contents of the pan have reduced by half.
Add seafood and poach gently until it is cooked.
Add the juice of one lime an stir in gently
Spoon into a serving bowl and sprinkle with lime zest.
Serve with plain boiled white rice and, if you can find them Appams or “hoppers” as they are known (rice flour batter pancakes)