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04/18/2014

~ E-Z Jamaican Shrimp Curry in a Hurry w/No Worry~

IMG_0029I'm no expert, but, I do know just enough about Jamaican cooking to NOT be dangerous.  I know that a dish consisting of ackee fruit and salt cod is their National Dish.  Since I've just spent the past week posting some luscious recipes for cod fish (I love cod), a lovely thought and tribute to Jamaica (I love Jamaican food) would have been to end the week with this uniquely tantalizing recipe.  Alas, even if I could get my hands on an ackee here in the states, I wouldn't touch it. Parts of the ackee are toxic, so, my better judgement tells me to leave that recipe to the experts!

IMG_9891But.  Once I started reminiscing about Jamaican fare (from barbeque to jerk, they make some of the best fish, chicken, pork, beef and lamb dishes in the world), I started salivating. They make some magnificent curries too, so, tonight, for our Good Friday dinner, I've decided to make Jamaican shrimp curry.  It's quick and easy to prepare (a 30-minute meal), full of great Caribbean flavor, and, the only "special ingredient" you'll need is:

Jamaican-Style Curry Powder!

Jamaican curry powder contains allspice and Indian-style curry powder does not.  Indian curry powder contains cardamom and mace, Jamaican curry powder does not.  All Jamaican curries contain coconut milk, but only South Indian curries do.  Jamaican curries tend to be spicy and sweet while Indian curries are mild and slightly tart.

"Curry" is a catch-all English (British) term used in Western cultures to denote stewike dishes from Southern and Southeast Asia, as well as, Africa and the Caribbean.  Curry powder (the commercially marketed blend of spices we buy in our American markets) doesn't really exist in any of these places.  Hand-made pulverized blends of dried spices, the amounts of which vary to suit the palate of each family or cook are prepared in a mortar and pestle.  Dishes called curry are relatively easy to prepare and can contain meat, poultry, fish or shellfish.  Seasonal vegetables can be included, or, the dish can be made of vegetables (vegetarian). 

Easter is on my doorstep, and in the midst of all of my prep...

IMG_0012... this spicy, delightful, time-saving meal is just what I need!

IMG_99331 1/2  pounds peeled and deveined extra-large shrimp (26/30 count), tails off (about 2 pounds unpeeled shrimp to start)

1  cup each: green and red bell pepper, cut into 1/4" strips, strips cut into thirds (about 1 green bell pepper and 1 red bell pepper)

1/2-3/4 cup green onions, cut into 1/4" pieces, white and light green parts only

1/2  cup chopped cilantro leaves + additional leaves for garnish

1  14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes, VERY well drained

3  tablespoons hot Jamaican curry powder, mild Jamaican curry powder may be substituted

1  teaspoon garlic powder

1  teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/4  teaspoon habanero powder (optional) (Note:  Jamaicans typically use fresh, Scotch Bonnet chilies for extra heat.  I don't often have them on hand, but, the slightly citrusy flavor of incendiary habanaro powder, which I keep in my pantry, is a marvelous substitute.) 

1  14-ounce can coconut milk that has been well-shaken prior to opening

2  tablespoons coconut or vegetable oil, for preparing skillet

4  cups uncooked jasmine rice, or, 8 cups steamed jasmine rice, cooked via your favorite method (Note:  I use an electric rice steamer, and, I steam the rice before I start prepping.)

IMG_9922 IMG_9930~ Step 1. Steam the rice.  Once it is cooked rake through it to separate the grains (I use my vintage pasta fork to do the raking).

IMG_9954~ Step 2.  Prep the peppers, green onion and cilantro, placing in a large bowl as you work.

IMG_9940~ Step 3. Add the diced tomatoes, shrimp, curry powder, garlic powder, ground ginger and sea salt to the bowl.  

Using a large spoon stir until all ingredients are evenly coated.

IMG_9963 IMG_9960                                           ~ Step 4. Add the well-shaken can of coconut milk.  Stir again to thoroughly combine.

~ Step 5.  Set aside, 5-15 minutes, to give the flavors time to marry. Note:  30 minutes is ok too, but, any longer toughens the shrimp.

IMG_9985 IMG_9971                                        ~ Step 6. Heat the vegetable oil in a 12" nonstick skillet over medium-high.  Add shrimp mixture to skillet, increase heat to high, and continue to cook, stirring constantly for 5 full minutes. Turn the heat off, and rest, on the hot stovetop, 1-2 minutes to finish cook the shrimp. Thick sauce, perfectly cooked shrimp:

IMG_9989Portion rice into bowls, portion shrimp curry over rice.  

Serve immediately:

IMG_0052E-Z Jamaican Shrimp Curry in a Hurry w/No Worry:  Recipe yields 4-6 servings.

Special Equipment List:  cutting board;  chef's knife; colander or strainer; large bowl; large spoon; 12" skillet, preferably nonstick; electric rice steamer (optional)

IMG_9309Cook's Note:  If it is a more traditional 30-minute meal you want on Good Friday, click into Categories 3, 14, 19 or 20 for ~ Mel's 30-Minute "Brain Food" Meal:  Broiled Cod w/Spicy Saffron Rice, Peas & Stewed Tomato Sauce ~.  Happy Easter all!

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Photos and Commentary courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2014)

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