Saturday, February 25, 2012

Shrimp with Bay Leaves and Fenugreek

Copyright 2012 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
Shrimps is not one of my favorite food to eat as I grew up being allergic to them. It was only later in my 20s that I started to eat them regularly. I did feel some tingling sensation in my extremities but they eventually went away and I do think I have built up an immunity to them. Not so much with crabs though. I still get terrible hives with them. I managed to eat my way through a whole lobster though by taking an antihistamine minutes before gorging on them while attending a conference at New Hampshire. I dare not try this trick with crabs.

Shrimps are cooked simply back home. They are washed in water, drained and steam-cooked covered in a thick-bottomed wok over medium heat. The only seasoning is salt and you leave them cooking in their own juices until they have all turned coral. A little bit of oil is added to toast them lightly and then they are devoured quite quickly. For this version, I'm upping the level of difficulty just a tiny bit. This dish is basically cooked in aromatic herbs and spices on a bed of sauteed onions which I think imparts a sweetness to the already sweet taste of the shrimps. This recipe works well for shrimps that have been peeled since the additional flavor makes up for the rather bland taste of shrimp cooked with both the head and shell missing. Bay leaves were used in lieu of fresh curry leaves which is not available where I live but if you can find them, do use double the amount as they impart a distinct perfumed aroma to the dish which is quite hard to explain and describe.  

Shrimp with Bay Leaves and Fenugreek - Adapted*

2 tbsp canola oil
2 onions, thinly sliced
5 bay leaves
1 tsp nigella seeds
1 dried red chili, deseeded
1 1/2 lb large shrimps, shelled with tail on
2 tsp ginger, grated
salt and pepper
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 tbsp lemon juice

1. In a large skillet over medium heat, saute the onions with the bay leaves
    until the onions are softened. Season with salt and pepper.

2. Add the nigella seeds and the red chili and saute for 2-3 minutes.

3. Add the shrimps and and ginger and increase the heat to medium high.
    Cook for 5-6 minutes or until the shrimps have turned coral. Do not
    overcook the shrimps.

4. Add the fenugreek seeds and lemon juice and cook for 2 minutes more.
    Serve immediately.

*Vijayakar, Sunil: 30 Minute Indian, Laurel Glen Publishing, San Diego:2000. 

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