Though they all share a similar flavor profile, the world of curries is complicated and vast. More often than not, I'm surprised by some new idea or technique when reading new recipes, which was the case with this one from Food and Wine for a Goan-style curry from the Goa state of India.
Though I've definitely seen curries made with coconut milk, this is the first time I've seen one calling for dried coconut flakes. Toasted in the pan along with cumin and coriander until golden brown, it blends up into paste with garlic, ginger, and tamarind to become the sauce. It's surprisingly light and delicate for a curry, and lends itself particularly well to shrimp.
- 3 dried red chiles
- 1/4 cup dried unsweetened coconut flakes
- 1 1/2 teaspoons coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- One 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 teaspoon tamarind concentrate or 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon neutral oil
- 1 small onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 2 jalapeños, halved lengthwise, seeded, and cut into half-moons
- 1 pound shelled and deveined medium shrimp
- 1 tablespoon malt or cider vinegar
- Cooked jasmine or basmati rice
In a medium skillet, combine chiles, coconut, coriander, and cumin over high heat. Toast, stirring and shaking constantly, until coconut begins to brown, about one minute. Transfer to a blender with ginger, garlic, tamarind, and 1/2 cup of water. Blend until completely pureed.
Add oil to skillet and heat over high heat until shimmering. Add onion and jalapeños and cook until onion is golden, 2-3 minutes. Add puree and bring mixture to a boil. Simmer 10 minutes to combine flavors, adding a little water if necessary to create a smooth sauce.
Add shrimp and simmer until just cooked through, about 2 minutes. Season sauce with salt and vinegar, if needed. Serve with rice.