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How to Make Indian Shrimp Fit for the Gods
"Good enough for Ganesh"
Never cook without tunes! A Bollywood beat really hits the spot here, but in my case I was listening to K'Naan. Something non-Anglo, is what I'm saying. No need to drink, you're gonna do that later!
If the only shrimp you ever had is the frozen grocery store kind, find a market and get some nice fresh local shrimp if you can. The difference in flavor will knock you on your butt, seriously.
If you live on the coast, google the term 'CSF'. It stands for Community Supported Fishery. It's kinda like a fisherman's co-op that sells subscriptions. You buy a 'share' for a fixed price...
...then every week or every couple weeks you go to the drop point and pick up your stuff. It might be clams or oysters one time, or fillets the next, or some whole local fish, or anything really.
That way you know it's fresh, best-quality local stuff, and you're supporting a guy in your hometown who makes a living on his boat. Check it out! Anyway...now we cook!
Step one: shrimp. I took the shells off but left the tails on for a handle. Don't forget to save those shells in a ziplock bag in your freezer, you can use 'em later to make a killer shrimp stock.
Chop one onion, the chilis and lotsa garlic. I've got six chilis here because we like these shrimp hot, hot, hot! These are the bar snack you're gonna make instead of Buffalo wings from now on!
You need a half teaspoon salt and a quarter teaspoon turmeric.
Then you need a cinnamon stick, four or five whole cloves, and two cardamom pods, smashed open.
You don't need a good pan (these are gonna be fast) but it should be big enough that the shrimp aren't piled on top of each other, so if you've got a thin, cheap chili pot like mine, that's perfect.
Pour in some oil over medium high and do the onions and garlic until they're gorgeous.
Then add the chiles and the whole spices and let 'em get to know each other for several minutes.
Drizzle in a little water, then the turmeric and salt. The water is just so you don't burn that spice like I always do. If you're better at Indian cooking than I am, you might not need the water!
Then add those shrimp and stir fry 'em! Make sure they all get in contact with the hot pan. They're done when they're all pink (but not bright pink).
The last step is to take that pan off the heat and drizzle in a little bit of lime juice. This will brighten up the flavor and bring everything together into harmony, trust me!
Serve as a killer snack with cold beers and dish towels instead of napkins. Maybe wet wipes too, 'cuz these are as messy as a crawfish boil!
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Wake Forest, North Carolina
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