I am always thinking about food. I spend a lot of time during the day planning meals, usually designed around some ingredient I have on hand and what I need to add to it to make a new dish. Sometimes I'm trying to create a menu for an upcoming gathering of some sort. Today after I got back from the gym, I was leafing through some of my cookbooks looking for some inspiration for a little dinner party that Mark and I are hosting in a week and a half. While browsing Michelle Cranston's book Zest I came across this recipe which was a bit simple for the dinner party, but seemed perfect for dinner tonight. The wind outside had picked up and turned quite chilly (for southern California), so the idea of a steaming, spicy curry seemed rather appealing. Most of the ingredients I happened to have on hand. All I needed to pick up from the store was a container of cherry tomatoes, some fresh basil and a couple of peppers. So, I bundled myself up and headed to the market.
1 tablespoon light olive oil
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
2 large green chillies, such as jalapeno, minced (you may seed the chillies if you are concerned about the level of heat - I seeded one and left the seeds in the other and it was not too spicy)
1 medium onion, finely sliced (the original recipe does not call for an onion, but I had one laying around and it seemed like a good idea to thorw it in)
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
16 or so large shrimps
1/2 cup cocnut milk
small handful of Thai basil leaves (I used regular basil which I cut in a chiffinade)
salt and freshly ground pepper
Heat the oil in a saute pan over medium high heat. When the oil is glistening, add the onions and cook until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the cumin, turmeric and the minced chillies. Cook for one minute or so, reduce the heat to medium and then add the tomatoes.
Cook the tomatoes for a couple minutes and then add the shrimp. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper and cook for about three minutes on each side.
When the shrimp is just slightly pink, remove to a plate and add the coconut milk. Bring to a simmer and cook until slightly thickened. Return the shrimp to the pan and stir to coat with the sauce. Stir in some of the basil, reserving a pinch or two for garnish. Spoon the shrimp, vegetables and sauce over some steamed basmati rice.
I just can't get over the color of this curry. It's so pretty and it tastes great. It's a little lighter than many other curries I've made, thanks to the tomatoes and the basil and the cumin gives it a nice sort of smokey flavor. It was easy and quick to make so it would be great for an after work, weeknight meal.