new Things I Ate in Cambodia: Shrimp Vindaloo: It's Actually Sorta Portuguese!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Shrimp Vindaloo: It's Actually Sorta Portuguese!

Vindaloo is an Indian dish that's particularly common in Goa - the well known Indian "vindaloo" derives from the Portuguese dish Carne de Vinha d' Alhos, which was adapted with tons of spices to the Indian palate. Today's vindaloo is defined primarily by the addition of vinegar - red wine vinegar traditionally - and a considerable amount of chili. Although vindaloo is traditionally prepared with pork, shrimp can be easily substituted, as I've done here. Vindaloo isn't all that common in India - in fact, I don't remember seeing it on the menu anywhere - but it sure as hell is good and worthy of addition to your recipe roster. This particular recipe is from the Cooking Club cookbook, and it's pretty darn easy (and good).

You will need (for 4 servings):

1 teaspoon whole cloves
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
2 teaspoons garam masala
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
1/3 cup tamarind concentrate/paste
4 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons chopped ginger root
1 tablespoon ghee or vegetable oil
1 to 2 pounds shrimp
1 teaspoon salt
Fresh black pepper
1 large onion, sliced
1/2 cup water
1/2 of a 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes, with juice
7 curry leaves/ 2 bay leaves
1 tsp sugar
1 red bell pepper cut into 1 inch pieces

Get yourself a small skillet and heat it over medium heat. Add the cloves and mustard seeds, and dry roast them til' they get fragrant - about 2 minutes.

Put the cloves and mustard seeds into a blender jar, along with the garam masala, turmeric, cinnamon, cayenne, vinegar, tamarind, garlic, and ginger. Blend it all at a nice high speed until it's turned into something approximating a liquid.

Now, heat up the ghee or oil, and brown the shrimp. Once they're pretty much done, stick them in a bowl. The aim is to get some nice flavoring on them.

Next, saute the onions and get them caramelized - this will take around 10 or 12 minutes. Be patient. Once that's done, toss in the spice paste and saute until they're fragrant, around 2 minutes.

Then, add the water, red pepper, tomatoes, curry leaves, and sugar, and bring it all to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for about 20 minutes or so. Once done, it should look about like this.

Serve it up with some yogurt raita (recipe forthcoming,) and some other Indian veggie dish - this roasted cauliflower, potato, and pea dish with Indian spices was a delicious addition. The tomato chutney I talked about earlier also goes nicely - not surprising. Go forth, my brethren, and cook Indian tonight.

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