Sometimes we'd do it outside, but after going to a very good restaurant here in Sonoma with a bunch of friends for the late seating New Years Eve Dinner, and planning a hoot of a night, we found ourselves being served dessert by our waiter with his coat on at 11:30! We looked around and saw we were the last people in the restaurant. Of course everyone came back to our house to party in the New Year there, but that was a lesson to us. New Years Eve in a small rural town is not always a hotsy totsy time.
That's when I decided to start cooking an Indian Birthday New Years Eve Banquet for Alan. At our house I could be assured the action would keep up until well after the balls had dropped everywhere. This year was no exception.
Vindaloo dishes are found in the South Indian Kitchen and they are heavily influenced by the Portuguese. One thing that distinguishes them is the use of chiles and vinegar. The portuguese have a pork and vinegar dish called Vinha D' Alhos, it's just a hop skip and a jump from Vinha to Vindaloo and along the way the recipe picked up some other ingredients and a whole lotta heat. Since the lamb dish I was making was very mild and aromatic, I wanted a contrast that would spice things up and add a bit of needed bite to the table. Shrimp Vindaloo was just the ticket.
The great thing about this dish is that it is a "make-ahead." The sauce can be made up to a day ahead and kept until serving time. Since the shrimp cooks in the sauce for only few minutes, this dish goes into the easy-breezy-perfect-dinner-party special file. Here's my adaptation of this classic dish.
What to do.
Thinly slice 2 large onions.
In a large skillet or kadhai, heat about 3 Tbs of vegetable oil. I used Tropical Traditions Organic Coconut Oil.
When the oil is hot, add in the sliced onions and saute them until they're lightly brown.
2 tsp of chopped shallot
2 tsp of chopped ginger
Keep sauteing until the onions are browned a bit more.
6 tsp of coriander
1 tsp of cumin
1/2 tsp of Kashmiri chili, or if you don't have that, 1/2 tsp of cayenne.
1/2 tsp of ground black pepper
1/4 tsp of turmeric
1/8 tsp of ground cinnamon
1/8 of ground cloves
1/4 cup of white vinegar
1 and 1/2 tsp of salt
1 cup of chopped fresh or canned tomatoes
1/2 tsp of ground mustard seeds
1/4 cup of unsweetened coconut milk
2 green serrano chiles split in half..or if you want it hotter add a third.
1/4 cup of water. (you can add more if you need)
Bring the sauce to a boil, then turn it down and simmer it for about 5 minutes or so until it thickens a bit. That's it. The sauce is done.
This recipe will serve about 8 people. There were no shrimp left at the end of the dinner. It was that good.
Finally came the dessert. The traditional birthday cake we serve around here, a Princess Cake from Scandia Bakery.
Things got to be a little too "fun" for Patsy who not liking the fireworks, retreated behind the drapes.It was a great party and a great New Years Eve. I for one am glad to see this last year go out. 2010 was not one of my favorite years, and even though we're a year closer to 2012... well, it's got to be an improvement.
I hope everyone had an equally great ring out of the old and ring in of the new.