Eral Iguru/ Shrimp Coconut Kurma

This recipe is a very traditional Tamil Nadu style preparation of shrimp/prawn and you just cannot go wrong with this one! The curry has just a handful of basic ingredients but the shrimp itself adds immense seafood flavor making this dish so aromatic and mouth-watering. This dish is also very easy to prepare and barely takes time. The only lengthy process is that of cleaning/de-veining the shrimp but if we have access to cleaned shrimp, then it cannot get any simpler. This tastes best with rice or dosa.

Ingredients:

Shrimp/ prawn (small variety) – 20
Bay leaf – 2
Cinnamon – 1/2 inch piece
Cloves – 3
Onion, finely chopped – 1 cup
Tomato, finely chopped – 1/2 cup
Garlic cloves, slivered – 6 to 8
Turmeric – 1/2 tsp
Salt – to taste
Oil – 3 tbsp

To grind:
Green chilies – 3
Coriander leave stalks – 5 to 6
Coconut, grated – 1 cup

Method:

  • Clean and de-vein shrimp
  • Grind green chilies, coriander leaves and coconut into a smooth paste
  • Heat oil in a wide pot and add bay leaves, cinnamon stick and cloves
  • Add the garlic and saute well
  • Add onion and saute until it turns translucent
  • Add the tomato, turmeric and the ground paste and cook for couple more minutes
  • Add salt and a cup of water and bring it to a boil
  • Reduce the heat to medium and add the shrimp
  • Cover and cook for about 15 minutes or until desired consistency is achieved
  • Serve hot with rice or dosa

Tip: A good way to clean shrimp is to wash them in a bowl of turmeric water after removing the shell and veins.

Hawaiian-style Shrimp Scampi

This dish is inspired by the Shrimp Scampi served at Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck in Hawaii. We had visited two of the Hawaiian islands back in 2009 and this place, among other places serving the local cuisine, was recommended by my husband’s colleague, who grew up in Hawaii. This was our last meal in Hawaii during our trip and the most memorable one! It is such a simple dish with just a few ingredients but packed with so much flavor and I can still recall the taste and the butter literally flowing down our fingers as we made our way through the big serving of one of the best Shrimp Scampi. I recreated this with Indian flavors and it just brought back all the lovely memories. This recipe uses far less butter but tastes as good as the original one. 

Shrimp scampi

Ingredients:

White shrimp, deveined- 30, preferably with tail on
All-purpose flour – 1/2 cup
Chilli powder – 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder – 1/2 tsp
Cumin powder – 1/4 tsp
Salt – 3/4 tsp
Butter – 5 tbsp
Olive oil – 3 tbsp
Garlic, finely chopped – 12 to 15
Coriander leaves, finely chopped – 3 tbsp
Lemon juice – 2 tsp
White rice, cooked – 2 cups

Method:

  • Clean the shrimp and pat dry
  • Mix flour, chilly powder, coriander powder, cumin powder and salt
  • Dredge the shrimp in the flour mixture

            shrimp scampi 2  shrimp scampi 3

  • Heat 3 tbsp of butter and 2 tbsp of oil in a cast iron skillet
  • Add half the garlic and place half the shrimp without over-crowding
  • Cook 3 minutes on each side until nice and golden brown

           shrimp scampi 4 shrimp scampi 5 shrimp scampi 6

  • Remove from heat, garnish with coriander leaves and lemon juice
  • Heat remaining butter and oil and add the remaining shrimp and repeat the process
  • While serving, drizzle any left over butter/oil from the pan over the shrimp and rice

Shrimp Biryani

I learnt this recipe from my mother-in-law and this has become one of my favorite shrimp preparations. I prefer using medium sized shrimp/prawn in biryani as opposed to the smaller ones that are typically used in curries.They are also a lot easier to clean as I usually get the fresh variety and peel/devein them myself. 

Shrimp Biryani

Ingredients:

Shrimp, cleaned and deveined – 25
Basmati rice, washed and soaked – 2 cups
Onion, finely chopped – 3 cups
Cinnamon – 1/2 inch piece
Cloves – 3
Bay leaf – 1
Coriander leaves, finely chopped – 4 tbsp
Garlic cloves, crushed – 5
Tomato, finely chopped – 3/4 cup
Turmeric – 1/2 tsp
Chilly powder – 1 tsp
Coriander powder – 1 tsp
Garam masala powder – 3/4 tsp
Oil – 4 tbsp
Ghee – 2 tsp
Salt – to taste

To grind:
Coconut pieces – 1/4 cup
Green chillies – 2
Garlic cloves – 4
Ginger, chopped – 1 tbsp

Method:

  • Heat 3 tbsp oil in a pan
  • Add the crushed garlic and 2 cups of chopped onion and saute well
  • When the onion starts changing color, add the tomato and saute for few more minutes
  • Add turmeric, chilly powder, coriander powder and garam masala powder and mix well
  • Add salt and enough water to cover the shrimp. Cover and cook for 15 to 20 minutes
  • While the shrimp cooks, grind the coconut, ginger, garlic and green chillies together into a smooth paste
  • Heat the ghee in another pan, drain and add the basmati rice. Saute it for 3 to 4 minutes and transfer to a bowl
  • In the same pan, heat the remaining 1 tbsp of oil
  • Add cinnamon, cloves and bay leaf
  • Add the remaining 1 cup of chopped onion and saute for 5 minutes
  • Add the ground paste and coriander leaves and saute for couple more minutes
  • Add the cooked shrimp along with any water remaining
  • Add the rice and add more water making sure that the total number of cups of water is twice as that of the rice
  • Add salt, cover and cook on medium heat for approximately 15 minutes or until all water is absorbed and the rice is cooked

Meen/Fish Kuzhambu

Meen Kuzhambu is one of the most traditional and commonly prepared dish of Tamil Nadu. It is also one of the few dishes the recipe for which is pretty much the same across all households and also, hasn’t been modified over time. It is said that this dish tastes best the next day and it is also adviced not to reheat the kuzhambu once it has been prepared. Fish that are typically used in this dish are Vanjaram(King fish), Kanangeluthi(Mackerel) or Shankara(Red Snapper). I have used Black Drum that is local to Texas. You can also use any freshwater variety. This dish tastes best when using the fish with the bones. Request your fish monger to cut them as steaks. I also add the head as it adds more flavor. There are lots of YouTube videos on cleaning fish heads but if you live in India, you can get it cleaned from the store itself.

Meen kuzhambu

Ingredients:

Fish slices – 10 to 12
Sesame oil – 2 tbsp
Olive oil – 2 tbsp
Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp
Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
Fenugreek seeds – 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves – 5 to 6
Tamarind juice – 1 cup
Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
Chilly powder – 2 tsp
Coriander powder – 2 tsp
Jaggery – 1 tsp
Salt – to taste

To grind;
Olive oil – 2 tsp
Onion, roughly chopped – 2 cups
Tomato, roughly chopped – 1 cup
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Black peppercorns – 1/2 tsp
Garlic cloves – 6
Curry leaves – 10

Method:

  • Clean the fish and set aside
  • Prepare the masala first by heating oil in a pan
  • Add cumin seeds, peppercorns, garlic and curry leaves followed by onion and tomato. Saute for 3-4 minutes
  • Remove from heat, let it cool and grind to a smooth paste 
  • Mix the paste with tamarind juice, turmeric, chilly powder and coriander powder
  • Heat the olive oil and sesame oil in a wide pan. Add cumin seeds, mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds and curry leaves. You can substitute these with Vadagam
  • Add the mixture previously prepared along with salt and jaggery
  • Add water and bring it to a boil which will take 10-12 minutes
  • Once the curry comes to a boil and you notice the oil at the surface, add the fish pieces. Cover and cook for 10 minutes
  • Serve hot with rice

Tip: Use a wide pan so that there is room for all the fish pieces. This will also ensure they don’t break. Using an earthenware pot adds to the flavor.

Mangalore Fish Curry

This is a recipe from a Kannada book ‘Oggarane Dabbi’. It’s one of the first fish curries I have attempted and tastes really good. I have made this using tilapia. You could use cod, king fish or any type of fish that you would generally put in a curry.

Mangalore Fish Curry

Ingredients:

Tilapia – 1/2 kg or 4 fillets
Tomato – 1
Onion – 1
Ginger-garlic paste – 1 tsp
Grated coconut – 1/2 cup
Turmeric – 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder – 1 tsp
Fresh coriander – 1/2 cup
Cinnamon – 3
Cloves – 2
Tamarind – lemon-sized ball
Red chilli powder – 2 tsp
Salt to taste
Oil
Water

Method:

  • In a blender, combine grated coconut, ginger-garlic paste, cinnamon, cloves, fresh coriander, tomato, tamarind, coriander powder and red chilli powder. Grind this using enough water to get a smooth paste
  • Heat oil in a wok and add finely chopped onions
  • Once the onions begin to brown, add turmeric and the ground paste
  • Fry till the raw smell of the paste leaves and oil begins to separate
  • At this stage add enough water to get a curry consistency (about 3 cups)
  • Add salt and boil for a few minutes
  • Add chopped pieces of fish and cook for about 5 minutes, covering the wok with a lid
  • Your Mangalore fish curry is ready and can be served with chapathi, ghee rice or dosai

Nandu Varuval/ Crab Fry

This is a very easy recipe for crab fry and you just cannot go wrong with it. Though I always prefer fresh ingredients, be it meat or seafood, this one is an exception and I chose to use the frozen variety. The frozen ones are pre-cooked but cooking them again with the masala does not take anything away in terms of taste and texture. Also the ones I picked from a local grocer here in Texas were already cleaned and broken down. You can also find frozen whole crabs which require some amount of cleaning. If you prefer fresh crabs, there is nothing better than that. It is a lot easier in India where the fresh variety are more easily available and plus, you can always get help with the cleaning.

I have used Dungeness crab but you can use the same recipe for blue crabs or any other variety. Dungeness crabs are much larger and if you plan on using a different type of crab, you can vary the number of crabs or the ingredient quantities accordingly.

IMG_4404

Ingredients:

Dungeness crab, frozen and pre-cooked – 2
Cinnamon – 2 inch piece
Cloves – 6
Ginger, chopped – 2 tbsp
Garlic, chopped – 4 tbsp
Onion, roughly chopped – 2 cups
Coconut, grated – 1 cup
Turmeric – 1 tsp
Chilli powder – 4 tsp
Coriander powder – 2 tsp
Salt – to taste
Oil – 1/4 cup

Method:

  • Grind cinnamon, cloves, ginger, garlic, onion and coconut into a fine paste
  • Heat oil in a wide vessel and add the ground paste
  • The paste has to be sauteed well for 20-25 minutes to get rid of the raw onion smell. This is the most important step in this recipe as this determines the taste of the entire dish
  • Add turmeric, chilli powder, coriander powder and salt
  • Add the crab and enough water to cook it. Cover and cook for 10-15 minutes. If you are using fresh crab, you would have to cook longer (approx – 20-25 minutes) till the flesh becomes opaque and tender
  • Open lid and continue to cook till all the water is absorbed and you get a thick consistency
  • Serve hot with rice

 

Shrimp Masala

This is my mom’s recipe for shrimp masala and keeping it simple is the key to this recipe as I think it brings out the best flavor of the shrimp. The ones we get in India are called prawns. Though prawns and shrimp are very similar, they are not the same but it does not matter which one you get as long as you pick the smaller sized ones which will taste the best. You can read more about the difference here. I always prefer fresh shrimp over the frozen ones. I get them from the Asian market and de-vein them myself as in most stores, the de-veined ones are always frozen. I admit that it is an arduous task but it is worth all the effort. You can de-vein them the previous day and refrigerate to save time.

IMG_4301

Ingredients:

Shrimp – 1 pound
Onion, finely chopped – 2 cups
Tomato, finely chopped – 3/4 cup
Garlic – crushed – 6 to 8
Turmeric – a pinch
Chilli powder – 4 tsp
Coriander powder – 3 tsp
Cilantro, finely chopped – 3 tbsp
Salt – to taste
Oil – 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp

Method:

  • Clean and de-vein the shrimp
  • Heat 1/4 cup oil in a pan
  • Add garlic and onion and saute well
  • When the onion turns translucent, add the tomatoes and saute for couple more minutes
  • Add the shrimp and saute for few more minutes till they start changing color
  • Add turmeric, chilli powder, coriander powder and salt
  • Add 1-1.5 cups water. Cover and cook for 15-20 minutes
  • Open lid and continue to cook until all the water is absorbed
  • Add cilantro and saute well
  • Add extra 2 tbsp oil if needed and saute till the masala thickens and coats the shrimp
  • Serve hot with rice

Tilapia Fish Fry

Fish fry is a south Indian delicacy and was a Sunday-regular during my growing up days back home in Bangalore. It was usually made using vanjaram (king fish). These were bought as steaks from the local fishmonger and had bones in them. I now make this dish regularly using tilapia and it tastes great. You can even use cod, king fish or salmon. While I prefer fillets since they don’t have skin, you can even get them cut as steaks from your local market. It’s an easy recipe for a weeknight dinner along with a side of vegetables.

Tilapia Fish Fry

Ingredients:

Tilapia – 2 fillets
Salt to taste
Turmeric – 1/2 tsp
Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
Coriander powder – 1.5 tsp
Cumin powder – 1/4 tsp
Juice of half a lemon
Oil

Method:

  • Lay the tilapia fillets on a plate and sprinkle salt, turmeric, chilli powder, coriander powder, cumin powder and lemon juice
  • Spread evenly on the fillets using hands
  • Alternatively, you can make a mixture using the above-mentioned masala and then apply it on to the fish
  • Cover the plate using cling wrap and keep it in the refrigerator 
  • If you have sufficient time, you can allow the marinated fish to rest in the fridge overnight or even for a few hours. It would be ideal to rest it for at least 15 minutes before frying
  • Heat oil in a pan that’s wide enough to hold either one or two fish fillets at a time (ensure that the pan doesn’t get too hot, otherwise the fish will burn)
  • Place the fillets in the pan and cook for about 2-3 minutes on one side before flipping
  • Keep a close eye on the fish since tilapia cooks very quickly
  • Cook for a couple more minutes on the other side as well
  • Once done, drain on kitchen towel and serve hot!
  • This dish goes well with rice and rasam or sambar. You can even have it with just a side of steamed vegetables like broccoli, asparagus, green beans and carrot

Tilapia Puttu

If you grew up in a non-vegetarian eating Tamil household like me, sora (shark) puttu is a dish you are sure to have eaten. It’s an unusual dish but tasty. And when I say shark, I don’t mean the big, scary-looking creatures you see on TV shows. These are smaller in size and quite easily available at a fish store near you (I can speak for the states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, India). Mohanapriya made this dish once using cod and it tasted really good. She later told me she tried it using tilapia and that it turned out great too! That’s when I decided to try it out as well. This recipe is from my brother who is the sora puttu expert in the family!

Tilapia Puttu

Ingredients:

Tilapia fillets – 4
Onion – 2 medium-sized
Garlic – 4 cloves
Green chillies – 5
Curry leaves – a sprig
Turmeric – 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
Pepper powder – 1 tbsp
Coriander leaves – 1/2 cup
Oil
Water

Method:

  • Boil water in a flat-bottomed vessel/pan. Add about a tablespoon of salt
  • Once the water boils, add the tilapia fillets and cook for about 5 minutes on a medium flame (I cooked them two at a time as I didn’t have a larger vessel)
  • Once the fish is cooked, drain them and transfer to a plate. Fork the fish and set aside
  • Heat oil in a pan. Add curry leaves and chopped garlic. Cook for about 30 seconds
  • Add finely chopped onions and green chillies and fry till the onion begins to brown
  • Add salt to taste, turmeric and pepper powder and mix well
  • Add the fish and mix well
  • Cook for a few minutes and garnish with fresh coriander
  • This puttu is best eaten along with rasam and rice

Note: I have never made this dish using shark. If you are using shark, you will have to remove the skin after boiling. The cooking time will also differ.