Adapted from The Complete Oriental Cookbook (Marshall Cavendish Ltd., London, 1978), this recipe pays tribute to Lydia’s recent ginger, turmeric, and lemon posts and to the early days of my traveling pantry. Serves 4.
1-1/2 inch piece ginger root, peeled and chopped
3 cloves garlic
4 green chiles, seeded
6 Tbsp coriander leaves, chopped
1 Tbsp coriander seeds
Juice of 1 lemon
2 cups unsweetened coconut milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1-2/3 pounds shrimp (or firm white fish, cut into portions or 2” pieces)
2 medium onions, chopped
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp salt
Put ginger, garlic, chiles, coriander leaves and seeds into a blender with the lemon juice and enough coconut milk (4 oz) to blend to a smooth paste. Heat 1/4 cup of the oil in a large skillet. When hot, add the shrimp (or fish) and fry, turning occasionally, for 5 minutes; shrimp should be just pink, fish should be just opaque. Set aside. Skim off a bit of excess oil from the pan juices.
Add the remaining oil to the pan and fry the onions until golden.
Stir in turmeric, mustard seeds and salt and fry for 1 minute, stirring
constantly. Add the spice paste and fry for 5 minutes,
stirring constantly. Return the shrimp (or fish) and juices to the pan and coat thoroughly in the paste. Pour in the remaining coconut milk and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer over low heat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally and very gently. Serve over basmati rice.