Prawns, Kerala Style, and Rice with Whole Spices.

This was by far the fastest, easiest recipe I’ve made from the Jaffrey cookbook, and it was one of the most flavorful. This, my friends, is a winner.

We got a pound of small tiger shrimp at the Reading Terminal Market, along with some absolutely bursting ripe tomatoes from Livengood Farms. I can’t believe how juicy and flavorful those tomatoes were.

OK. Chop two tomatoes and put then in the blender with half a cup of dried coconut, three cloves of chopped garlic and just a bit of ginger. I ended up also putting a chopped onion in there, because I neglected to tell Joe not to grab it. Didn’t seem to have any negative effect, though!

Fry a finely chopped onion. When it starts to brown and get soft, add the paste from the blender, three tbsp of tamarind paste (my new favorite ingredient), half a cup of water, ground coriander, turmeric, cayenne pepper and salt. Mix, bring to a boil and simmer for five minutes.

Then throw your (peeled, deveined) shrimp into the liquid and bring to a boil again. Keep stirring until they’re cooked. You’re done. Simple.

As for the rice: Our foodie friend Nagesh made this for a party last week. (I hope he won’t mind my giving away his culinary secrets here.) I may have missed an ingredient or two, but it was quite simple: five cloves, five cardamom pods, and a generous pinch of black cumin into the water just before turning on the rice cooker. Lots of flavor, minimum effort.

This was delicious! The shrimp were done perfectly, and the sauce was sweet and coconut-y. I thought the bitter edge of the black cumin was a nice counterpoint to the sweetness of the sauce. It was a light meal– we probably should have made some bread as well. Next time– and believe me, there will be several next times for this dish.

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