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Name:Indian Shrimp Contributor:Martin Golding
Description:Indian Shrimp Posted:2003-04-23
Key words:shrimp, Indian Category:Main Dishes
ID:456 Updated:2005-11-28 07:22:35
Ingredients:1 lb shrimp, shelled and deveined, leave the tails on
1 Tbsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
mustard oil, just enough to sautee the shrimp
1/3 tsp nigella seeds
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
cayenne pepper powder, modest pinch; Jaffrey says 1/2 tsp
2 or 3 Serrano hot green peppers, if you feel so inclined
Preparation:Grind the mustard seeds to a powder, and mix it with some water, between
half a cup and a cup, depending on how thick a sauce you want at the end.

Toss the shrimp with the turmeric. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a shallow pan. Add the nigella; allow to sizzle for a few

Add the shrimp, cook till about half done. A minute or two is plenty.

Add the mustard slurry, the green peppers if you plan to use them, and the
salt, cook for a few minutes, and you are done. Two or three minutes
should be plenty if the sauteeing was done well.

1. Ideally, the shrimp should be respectably sized.

2. Grind the mustard to a powder using a coffee grinder.

3. The orthodox preparation uses mustard oil. If you don't have it,
feel free to use any oil which does not have too much flavour of its
own. You will lose some flavour, but it will still be fine, and, if
you are not going to get the flavour of mustard oil, avoid imposing the
flavour of some other oil. This is, after all, a mustard based recipe.

4. Handle the serrano peppers as suits your tastes. My preference is to
slice them in half lengthwise, and to remove the seeds.

If you plan to serve this with rice, let the sauce be fairly fluid. If you
plan to serve it with bread, make it thicker, either by boiling it down,
or by using less water to start. Since shrimp is easy to overcook, it is
probably best to just use less water. Mustard, incidentally, contains
thickening agents, specifically gums.

A thick implementation may be overwhelmingly mustardy.

Since shrimp does not go very far in a gathering of enthusiasts, I will
refrain from estimating how many this will serve. Quite low single digits,

An alternative:

You can cook the same basic dish in a double boiler. Skip the nigella (my
opinion), and use perhaps 2 tbsp mustard oil. Mix all the ingredients
together and cook in a double boiler for about 20-30 minutes, depending on
your particular conditions.

Sometimes coconut water gets used instead of the water. And shredded
coconut is sometimes added.

Madhur Jaffrey's "A Taste of India" has a recipe essentially identical to
this one, which she identifies as having been received from a Bengali. I
don't usually bother to measure things, but since many people do, I have
cheerfully appropriated quantitative information from her recipe.
Hence the acknowledgment.

Incidentally, Jaffrey uses whole dried cayenne peppers. I don't. So I have
skipped them.

If you cook this right, and eat a good bit of it, you should automagically
be able to understand Bengali. That's how classically Bengali this is.

Jaffrey also recommends the use of mixtures of purple Indian mustard and
yellow western mustard, to attenuate the slight bitter undertone of
Indian mustard. Some people will probably find this useful. If you wind up
doing this, scale the mustard up a bit. Yellow mustard is much milder.

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