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Monday, May 30, 2016

Shrimp head curry

Era meen thalai kulambu / prawn head curry / shrimp shell curry.

My mom used to do this more often, whenever she had bought shrimp. Shrimp is usually made into a thick stir-fry in Tamilnadu cuisine, but that won't be enough for a large family , even if we buy a kg (which is way too expensive).The person in-charge of the kitchen should be clever enough to satisfy everyone (!). So ladies in my mom's generation could have invented curries like this :)
Optimistically  I guess this shrimp head curry is a way to utilize the shrimp completely. After observing many cuisines of the globe, I assume that this is not an unusual way to extract juices from shell fish.  I am sure this is a more economical as well as delicious way to get the nutrients from shrimp. Here in my house, I make this curry sometimes, as it can be used as a side dish for idli, the next morning.

I had this recipe in my draft for a very long time, since 2010. Hope you all love this flavorful shrimp curry in coconut sauce.
Fresh whole shrimp
                             

Shrimp taken out of shell
Shrimp head curry with potatoes.

Ingredients:
Shrimp - 1/2 kg
Onion - 1
oil - 1 tbsp
tomato - 2
curry leaf - 2 sprig
green chilly - 2 slit
mustard - 1 tsp
sea salt - to taste 
chopped potato - 2

Masala to grind:
shredded coconut - 1/2 cup
cumin - 1 tsp
shallot - 4
fennel - 1 tsp
red chilly powder - 1 tsp
turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
coriander powder - 3 tsp

Preparation:
Buy fresh small or medium size shrimp. (Larger variety prawn / shrimp may taste bland - my opinion only). Separate the head portion and keep aside. This head part has some juicy fleshy parts too. 
 Remove the shell , keep it separate. 
Remove and throw away the intestines (green stuff seen at back of shrimp). 
Now we got our usable portion of shell and flesh of shrimp separated.
Keep the shrimp for further cooking separately
Now rinse the shrimp head and keep it for kulambu.
Rinse the remaining shell with legs and put in a mixie jar. Pulse it few times and crush it. Extract juice out of it using a cup of water.Repeat it twice to get the most of the juices. Discard the crushed shell.  Keep aside.

Method: 
Heat oil in a deep wok.
Add mustard.
After mustard gets cracked, add finely chopped onion, curry leaf.
After sauteing it for a minute, add chopped tomato and saute till it gets mushy and caramelized.  Add potato cubes.
Cook this closed with  1 cup water.
Peel the garlic, shallot and grind the masala together to a fine paste with some water. 
Add  prepared masala, green chilly, curry leaf and bring it to a boil.
Then add the cleaned shrimp head and the extracted shrimp juice.
Boil it for 5 minutes and see that the raw smell goes off. 
The curry would have started to smell very delicious now. Then switch off.
Shrimp head curry / era thalai kulambu is ready! 

Serving suggestions:
Serve this curry over rice as main course along with  shrimp pepper fry or shrimp thokku or shrimp roast or shrimp kebab.

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