In my lifetime I’ve hosted more dinner parties than I can count. Don’t get me wrong. Entertaining is fun and I love planning and preparing special meals. My husband and I love shrimp curry, but I haven’t served it at many dinner parties because it is so labor-intensive.
Yet this dish is still at the top of my entertaining list because it is fun. Guests love the combination of flavors, but I think they love the participation even more. Participation leads to conversation and sharing — the purpose of any dinner party.
Apparently shrimp curry originated in Maharashtra, India. Some recipes are made with unsweetened coconut milk. Yogurt is also used as the basis of the sauce. According to the Addicted to Curry website, so many curry recipes exist that it is impossible to count them. Indian curries are divided into Northeast Indian, Nepalese, South Indian and Shri Lankan. Bengal, Pakistan, Malaysia, Brunel, Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore all have their own types of curries.
My original recipe had a chicken stock base. You could not taste the stock, but it added an undercurrent of flavor. Then I discovered a quicker recipe in “The Blue Sea Cookbook” by Sarah D. Alberson. Actually, there are several quick recipes, all made with condensed soup. Your grocery store should carry lower salt soup. Serve the curry with a choice of toppings:
* hard boiled eggs, chopped
* salted peanuts
* crumbled bacon
* fresh pineapple tidbits
* toasted coconut
* mango chutney
* chopped green onions (white and green parts)
* chow mein noodles
* halved grape tomatoes
* golden raisins
* dried apricots, cut into thin slices
Your guests will load on the toppings, so have plenty on hand. Set the mood with an Indian tablecloth, purchased from an import store, and a few serving bowls. Lighted candles will add to this mood. Here is the recipe for Easy Shrimp Curry.
1 pound shrimp, shelled and deveined
2 cans shrimp soup (or cream of chicken or mushroom)
1 cup sour cream (I use fat free.)
1 teaspoon curry powder or homemade garam masala
Cooked rice (Basmati is my choice because of its large grains and texture.)
Cook shrimp in boiling water for 3 minutes, until it turns pink. Be careful not to over-cook the shellfish or it will become tough. Drain and cut in half width-wise or length-wise, saving some whole ones for a garnish. Heat soup (don’t add any water) in a large saucepan. Add sour cream, curry powder, and shrimp. Stir gently, cover, and leave on the lowest heat, or transfer to a slow cooker, set on low. (Line the cooker with a special bag to make clean-up easy.) Serve with an array of condiments in small bowls. Complete your menu with a green salad, Indian flat bread, orange sherbet and almond cookies for dessert. Makes 4-6 servings. Note: This recipe may be doubled, tripled, or quadrupled. You may also prepare it a day ahead of time and reheat in a slow cooker.
Copyright 2010 by Harriet Hodgson