If we were playing a "lay on the couch and tell me about your childhood... here, look at these inkblots" game right about now, the doctor would say "Sweet" and you'd say "Sour." The doctor would say "Pickle" and you'd say "Shrimp." At that point the doctor would probably say " I think we need to meet 3 times a week" but the doctor would be wrong. You're not crazy. You're an epicure.
Pickles and pickling is not just for cucumbers and cabbage and cherries anymore. Pickling is a great way of preserving stuff. Even better than botox, and there's the added bennies that the good bacteria that results from pickling, boosts the vitamin B content in foods. If you've never thought of pickling the charming little crustaceans, where have you been?! Pickling some say, started in India about 2000 and change BC. Of course they started with cucumbers native to the subcontinent and moved on to mangos, and onions, and carrots and peppers. And then they moved on to shrimp. And pickled shrimp makes for a damn fine and quick and easy meal.
Some of the best pickles in India come from the South, and these pickled shrimp are no exception. This is a dish originating in Goa and as such it's flavored with that particular Goan touch, vinegar. Coconut vinegar to be more exact.
If you've never tried coconut vinegar, you're not alone. I'd never even heard of it before I was sent a bottle of it from the people at Tropical Traditions , and I've been cooking Indian food now for 22 years. I tried coconut vinegar and I have to say, it totally solved my Vindaloo problem, and if you've ever had a Vindaloo problem you know how serious that can be. I love the authentic taste it adds to dishes. I started buying it on my own and now it's a staple in my pantry.
So now back to this very easy and tasty shrimp dish, This is a new basic for quick dinner parties at our house since the shrimp can be out of my freezer (yes, I keep bags of frozen shrimp from Whole Foods in the freezer for emergency guests) and on the table in less than an hour.
Sweet And Sour Pickled Shrimp
Here's What You Need:
40 medium shrimp. About 1 lb.
1 tsp of salt
A 2 inch piece of peeled fresh ginger roughly chopped
8 peeled shallots chopped
1 tsp of cumin seeds
15 dried red chilies, broken in half
10 whole cloves
A 2 inch piece of cinnmon stick snapped in half
1 tsp of black mustard seeds
1 cup of coconut water vinegar (You can also use malt vinegar, or cider vinegar)
3 Tbs of coconut oli or vegetable oil
2 chopped tomatoes or 1 16 oz can of chopped tomatoes
2 onions finely chopped
2 Tbs of sugar
Here's What To Do:
If you're using frozen shrimp, defrost and clean them.
Put them in a bowl and sprinkle them with the salt. Toss the shrimp once and set them aside.
Put the ginger, shallots, cumin, chilies, cloves, cinnamon, mustard seeds, and vinegar in a food processor or blender and whirl it into a paste.
Set it aside.
Place a skillet or kadhai on the stove over a medium heat and add the vegetable oil to the pan. When the oil is hot, add in the shrimp.
Stir the shrimp around and cook them until they turn a light pink.
Add the chopped onions to the pan and saute them until they're lightly browned.
Add in the tomatoes and cook them down for about 3 or 4 minutes until they're nice and soft and pulpy.
Add in the ground spice paste and cook it for about 3 to 4 minutes. It should be cooked down until the vinegar evaporates. The paste should still be wet
Add in the shrimp and the sugar and mix it into the sauce.
When everything is nice and warm, serve it up you're good to go.
Coming up next, a chocolaty treat for V-Day. Follow along on Twitter @kathygori