Spicy Malabar Shrimp curry

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A recipe too good not to share! I recently came across one of Maunika
Govardhan’s shrimp recipes that had my taste buds jumping with
excitement. I had a friend, who loves seafood, coming for dinner so I
thought I should give it a try.

Well my excitement got the best of me… I was so eager to make this
dish that I didn’t stop to read the detailed instructions and instead
started making it simply by going back and forth between the
ingredients and method on my iphone.  Before I knew I was at the last
step of making the sauce and I had poured in 4 tablespoons of tamarind
paste. It took me a minute to realize that it probably is too much as
the recipe also calls for lots of tomatoes but it was too late. Once
the shrimp was cooked, I had a taste and it was sour. I went back to
the recipe and read her detailed notes where she clearly mentioned the
strength of the tamarind paste.

The clock was ticking so I had to act quick. I thought about not
serving the shrimp but decided that was not an option. Do I add more
shrimp, potatoes or maybe another onion? I decided to saute one sliced
onion in ghee and add it to the curry. It definitely reduced the
sourness! When I served the dish that evening all the spices had
blended so well that this was the star dish of the night. The flavors
and aroma of all that curry leaves, fenugreek seeds and mustard seeds
go so well together. I cant wait to make this over and over again.
Lesson learned… read the recipe!

Thank you Maunika Govardhan @cookinacurry for this amazing recipe. I
can’t wait to try more.

Original recipe:

Here is my adaption of her original recipe:


Prep time: 5 mins  Cooking time:20 mins    Total time: 25 mins


20 Jumbo/extra large shrimps shelled and deveined
3 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp black mustard seeds
½ tsp fenugreek seeds
120gms shallots thinly sliced
1 green chili slit lengthwise
15 curry leaves
4 garlic cloves
1/2 inch piece of ginger
1 dried red chili
1 tsp turmeric powder
3 tomatoes finely chopped
2 tbsp tamarind paste (more or less depending on the sourness you like)
1/4 cup of chopped cilantro garnish
1/2 cup water
Salt to taste



  1. Heat the oil in a heavy bottom saucepan on a medium heat. Add the mustard seeds and let them splutter. Add the fenugreek seeds and the sliced shallots. Saute for a minute and add the green chili along with half the curry leaves. Continue to cook for 5 minutes over a medium heat until the shallots begin to change color to a light brown.
  2. Make fine paste of ginger, garlic and dry red chili in a blender and add it to the pan. Add turmeric powder and mix well.
  3. Add the tomatoes and continue to cook until they soften for 5 minutes. Mash with the tomatoes with the spoon. Add water along with the tamarind paste.  Lower the heat and bring to simmer for 2 minutes.
  4. Add the shrimps and cook covered over a low heat for 5 minutes stirring half way through. Turn the heat off and add the remaining curry leaves and cilantro. Serve with steamed Basmati rice.

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