This week, I interviewed Floyd Cardoz, the chef at Tabla, about his last meal. Here is a recipe for Goan Shrimp Curry (a childhood favorite) from Cardoz’s book, One Spice, Two Spice.
Goan Shrimp Curry
1 1/2 cups roughly chopped white onion
5 garlic cloves, peeled
1 1/2 cups grated fresh coconut or frozen coconut
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
3 small dried red chilies
1 tablespoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 tablespoon canola oil
6 cups Quick Shrimp Stock (see Note) or water
1 mild-to-moderately hot fresh green chili, or more to taste, slit down one side
30 extra large shrimp (16 to 20 count), peeled and deveined, heads left on if desired
2 tablespoons tamarind paste
1/2 pound okra, trimmed
One 13-to 14-ounce can coconut milk (1 3/4 cups), stirred well
Put the onion, garlic, coconut, and 1/2 cup water in a blender and puree until smooth, starting at low speed and increasing to high. If necessary to keep the blades moving, add a little more water.
Finely grind the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, and dried red chilies together in an electric coffee/spice grinder. Transfer to a small bowl or plate and combine with the paprika and turmeric.
Heat the oil in a 4- to 6-quart pan over moderately high heat until it shimmers and add the spice blend and coconut puree. Put 3 cups of the stock into the (uncleaned) blender and pulse to blend any residual puree. Add that mixture to the puree in the pan along with the green chile. Bring the sauce to a boil, stirring occasionally.
Cook the sauce over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until it is the consistency of thick paste, about 15-20 minutes. (Do not let it scorch.) While the sauce is reducing, season the shrimp with salt and let it sit for about 20 minutes.
Stir the remaining stock, tamarind paste, and okra into the sauce and bring to a simmer. Simmer mixture until the okra is barely tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in the coconut milk and bring the sauce to a boil. Add the shrimp and simmer until the shrimp are just cooked through, about 3 minutes. Season with salt before serving.
NOTE: To make Quick Shrimp Stock, cover the shrimp shells with 6 1/2 cups cold water, bring to a boil, and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Strain the liquid through a sieve into a bowl, pressing hard on the shells with the back of a ladle, and use the liquid as a stock.