Shrimp or Prawns as they are called in India were a treat while growing up. My mom being a vegetarian, I got to eat them when I would visit my aunt’s house during summer break. Rajesh tells me that given the amount of work involved in shelling and deveining shrimp, it was not cooked as often compared to other seafood at his house. It was a favorite nevertheless! Fortunately for me, shelled and deveined shrimp is now readily available in all grocery stores. This is my mother-in-law’s recipe, it is an easy dish and is my daughter’s favorite. The coconut oil gives the dish its distinct flavor and should not be omitted.
- 2 lbs shrimp - shelled and deveined
- Grated coconut - 1 cup
- Roasted red chillies - 7-8 (depending on your spice tolerance)
- Tamarind paste - 1 tsp
- Rice flour - 1 tsp
- Hing (Asafoetida water) - 1 tbsp
- Coconut oil - 1tbsp
- Salt to taste
Wash the shrimp, pat dry and set aside.
Dissolve hing powder or a small piece of hing (Asafoetida) in a tablespoon of warm water.
Prepare the masala by blending the grated coconut, chillies, tamarind and rice flour to a smooth paste. The masala has to be ground as finely as possible.
Pour the masala in a deep vessel, rinse the blender with a cup of water and pour the water into the vessel.
Bring the masala to a boil and, add the shrimp and reduce heat.
Shrimp cooks very quickly so 4 to 5 minutes should be enough to cook the shrimp.
Add salt to taste, pour in the hing water and coconut oil and turn off heat.
Serve hot with white rice.
- Shrimp tends to get chewy when overcooked, so turn off the heat as soon as the shrimp is no longer translucent and changes color.
- The finer and smoother the paste, the better. My father-in-law swears by masalas that were ground on a grinding stone, the masala as he puts it would turn out be as smooth as sandalwood paste!
- Rice flour is added as a thickening agent.
- This is one of those dishes that improves in flavor as time passes and often tastes better overnight.
- This can also be eaten with idlis or shevai (rice vermicelli).