I’ve been thinking about Indian food recently. Obsessing really. This is what usually sends me off on a recipe search. Picture The Goddess, crawling in camo through her jungle of cookbooks and the Inter”Webs”, in search of ideas. That’s an image, isn’t it? In this case, there wasn’t really a search. It just sort of came together, and I had leftover shrimp and lobster…see how that works? When I cook for pure pleasure, this is how I cook. By that I mean, when I don’t need to keep track of amounts, take pictures, etc. I add, taste, adjust, taste, simmer, taste, adjust…you get the point. This is the main reason I do this blog. My goal for you, the reader, is to get to the point where the recipe is merely a guideline for your wonderfully, creative mind.
Before we begin, a couple of things: Ghee—it’s great stuff. Ghee is simply clarified butter. By removing the milk solids, you raise the smoking point, or the point at which butte will burn when heated. You can make your own, or you can purchase ghee in Indian markets or a good quality supermarket. Scallops—be sure to get that little piece of muscle that remains attached to the side of the scallop (this is a sea scallop. A bay scallop is much smaller, but the principle is the same). This is going to be tough and unpleasant, in a chewy-sort of way. Not all the scallops will have it still attached, so check them closely. It’s a bit more difficult to see on a bay scallop, simply because they are so small…but, as we know, good things do come in small packages!
So, as I was saying, I had a goal. In general, I’m trying to be less heavy-handed with spices (and herbs). I have a tendency to over-flavor a dish. You all know exactly what I mean, don’t you? The flavors get “muddy” and nothing shines through. Or it’s just not stellar, but ho-hum…no one wants ho-hum. To that end, I try to begin with less. And surprise!…I’ve found, less is in fact, more. From an overall flavor stand point, anyway. So, I’m trying to be more “economical” with spices and flavors. And with curry, The Spice Honey isn’t keen on what can be strong curry flavors. He likes curry. He doesn’t love it. To that end, I wanted the curry flavor, but subtle. I also didn’t want to overpower the seafood, which is pretty easy to do with scallops and lobster, shrimp less so. I find a good curry needs a bit of acid and bit of sweet. My acid of choice is lime. So I drop in both some zest and juice. Drop in lemon, if you prefer. I use a good-quality curry powder, but I boost some of the flavors…cardamom and coriander, with just a hint of additional cumin and allspice.
So I begin by sautéing the veggies in ghee, just until they soften slightly. I put the spices in at the end of this process, so the spices toast a bit, to better round out their flavor.
Toss in everything else but the seafood, and I simmer the sauce for a bit. Not too long, so the flavors stay fresh. I cooked the sauce a few hours before I was going to serve, which was intentional. I just let it stand at room temperature, which gives the sauce time to mellow. You can absolutely make the sauce a day or two ahead, refrigerate it, then gently reheat it just before serving.
Just before serving, I add the cleaned shrimp, cook for just a couple of minutes. Then, very gently stir in the cooked lobster and the raw scallops. Cook for about 30 seconds, cover the pot and remove it from the heat. I let it stand for about 4-5 minutes, which allows the residual heat to complete cooking the seafood; then it’s ready to serve. I serve this over basmati rice. However, I think it could be pretty decent over grits or polenta. I served Braised Eggplant with Warm Spices, Pomegranate Molasses and Mint and some nice, warm naan. Sichuan Cucumber Salad would also be a nice side.
Seafood Coconut Curry with Mango
- 1 tablespoon ghee or neutral oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1/2 red bell pepper, cut into narrow strips
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons julienned fresh ginger
- Grated zest of 1/2 of a small lime (about 1/2 teaspoon)
- Juice of 1/2 lime (about 1 tablespoon)
- Seasoning Blend:
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin (use more if you want)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 14.5 oz diced tomatoes (I prefer fire-roasted)
- 1 13.5 oz coconut milk (NOT sweetened coconut cream)
- 1/2 pound large shrimp, shells removed
- 1/2 pound bay scallops, cleaned (muscle removed)
- 4-6 ounces cooked lobster chunks
- 1/2 cup diced mango (or pineapple or both)
- 2-3 tablespoons freshly minced cilantro
- 3-4 tablespoons roasted cashews
- Jasmine or basmati rice for service (cooked)
- Toasted naan
Heat a heavy pan over medium heat; add oil, onion and pepper strips to the pan. Sauté until slightly softened and a bit translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in the garlic, ginger, lime zest and juice, and seasoning blend; sauté for 1 minute. Add the diced tomatoes with juices and the coconut milk. Stir and bring to a boil. Simmer on low, for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the shrimp; cook for another 1 1/2-2 minutes; they don’t need to be fully cooked. Gently stir in the scallops and lobster meat. Continue to simmer, for about 30 seconds. Do not overcook the scallops. Remove from the heat, cover and let stand for about 4-5 minutes. Serve over hot rice and sprinkled with cilantro, chunks of mango and toasted cashews, with naan on the side.
NOTE: Use 1 pound of cleaned shrimp, instead of the scallops and lobster, if you wish. Any combination you choose to use, will be delicious! You may stir the mango chunks into the sauce, with the scallops, or sprinkle over the top of each dish.
Seafood Coconut Curry with Mango Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2019. All rights reserved.
You may have noticed I didn’t add any chiles or heat. That’s up to you. I’ve begun adding sriracha to my dish when I want heat. That way everyone can have their own level of heat. The Spicy Honey was particularly happy…he specifically asked if I planned to post this, because “this was really tasty, but you could have kicked up the heat a bit more”. Everyone’s a critic!!! But, I’ll take the compliment any day.