Regional Indian Home Cooking: Marathi Spiced Shrimp


Spiced shrimp, Marathi-style
You know how you find the same thick-gravied saag paneer and rogan josh at every neighborhood Indian restaurant? Aside from those standard Punjabi-style spots, we’re lucky that we also have lots of south Indian restaurants in New York, some of them great, where we can gorge on dosas and idli. There are also places where we can enjoy the fiery curries from Chettinad, and snack shops where we can get chaats and Bombay frankies. But in the vast, multifaceted world of regional Indian food, those options are just a tiny part of a much larger picture.

To experience rarer regional dishes, you’re going to have to make them yourself. This weekend, my Marathi, Mumbai-born mother-in-law taught me how to make a classic shrimp dish. (Marathis are the people who are indigenous to the state of Maharashtra, which is on the southwest coast of India and contains Mumbai.) It’s very simple and very good; anyone can make it at home and get a taste of Marathi home cooking.

There are no Marathi restaurants in New York, or anywhere in the US that I know of. Too bad, because the region’s cooking is totally delicious–heavy on the seafood and vegetables and assertively spiced (but not ultra-hot). It tends to feature complex spice blends, but not creamy gravies.

Get the step-by-step photos and recipe for Marathi-style spiced sautéed shrimp, after the jump.

Shrimp with marinade ingredients

Marathi Spiced Shrimp
Yield: 4 servings

The combination of cumin, coriander, cloves and chile powder approximates SKP masala, a complex Marathi spice blend that can only be found in Mumbai.
2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon red chile powder
3 1/2 tablespoons coriander chutney
3 tablespoons garlic paste
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
2 teaspoons salt
4 tablespoons canola oil, divided

Make the marinade: In a bowl, combine the shrimp with lemon juice, cumin, coriander, cloves, red chile powder, chutney, garlic paste, turmeric, salt and 2 tablespoons canola oil. Mix with your (clean) hands until all ingredients are combined. Allow shrimp to marinate for at least 10 minutes, or up to 2 hours.

Like so:

Place a sauté pan over high heat. When the pan is hot, add the remaining 2 tablespoons canola oil, and heat until shimmering. Working in batches so as not to crowd the pan and to promote browning, add half of the shrimp to the oil. Let the shrimp cook undisturbed for 2 1/2 minutes, and then flip and cook for 2 1/2 minutes on the other side. Turn the heat down to medium-high if you smell or see the spices burning. The shrimp should be getting deep brown and crispy, but not blackened. Remove shrimp to a serving bowl, and scrape up any browned bits of spice mixture on the bottom of your pan, adding those bits to the bowl. Cook the rest of the shrimp the same way, 2 1/2 minutes on each side.


Serve the shimp hot, with rice or flatbread on the side.



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