I recently joined another cooking group called Daring Cooks, in which each month a hostess selects a theme and assigns a recipe (or recipes) to the group and everyone has to cook the same thing (or a close variation, at least.) The purpose is to challenge members to cook things that they may not normally cook. August is my first month to participate. Mary, who writes the delicious blog, Mary Mary Culinary was our August Daring Cooks’ host. Mary chose to show us how delicious South Indian cuisine is! She challenged us to make Appam and another South Indian/Sri Lankan dish to go with the warm flat bread.
I have to admit that I am not a huge fan of Indian food, but that is the point of joining this group, right? To try things outside of my comfort zone. The Appam was interesting, and I can’t say that I mastered the technique to make them but I think I did a decent job 🙂 I chose Shrimp in Coconut Milk to as my second dish, and it turned out really well. I had to go to an Indian grocery store to find a couple of the ingredients, and fortunately there was one close by. Attempt #1 – success!
Source: My Diverse Kitchen
- 1 ½ cups rice
- 1 ½ teaspoons active dry yeast
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- ½ cup of coconut water or water, room temperature
- 1 ½ tablespoons cooked rice
- ½ teaspoon salt
- about ½ cup thick coconut milk (from the top of an unshaken can)
- Soak the raw rice in 4 to 5 cups of water for 3 hours.
- Dissolve the sugar in the coconut water or plain water and add the yeast. Set aside in a warm area for 10-15 minutes, until very frothy.
- Drain the rice and grind it in a blender with the yeast mixture to make a smooth batter. You can add a bit of extra water if needed. Add the cooked rice, blend to combine well. It will not be completely smooth, but will be very thick.
- Pour into a large bowl, cover and leave in a warm place for 8-12 hours. You not only want the mixture to rise and collapse, but to ferment. When it is ready, it will have a slightly sour and distinctly yeasty smell.
- Add the coconut milk and salt, and a bit of water if necessary, so that you have a batter that is just a bit thicker than milk. Notice how it bubbles after you add the coconut milk. You may want to try test-cooking one before thinning the batter.
- Heat a small skillet over medium heat. Wipe a few drops of oil over it using a paper towel. Stir the batter and pour in 3-4 tablespoons, depending on the size of the pan. Working quickly, hold the handle(s) and give the pan a quick swirl so that the batter comes to the top edge. Swirl once only, as you want the edges to be thin and lacy.
- Cover the pan and cook for about 2 minutes. Uncover and check. The center should have puffed up a bit, and will be shiny, but dry to the touch. When ready, loosen the edges with a small spatula and serve immediately.
Shrimp in Coconut Milk
Source: Savoring the Spice Coast of India, by Maia Kamal
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon mustard seed
- 1/8 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
- 10 fresh or frozen curry leaves
- 2 cups thinly sliced onion
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon minced ginger
- 2 fresh green chiles, split lengthwise
- 2 teaspoons tomato paste
- 4 teaspoons ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1¼ teaspoons salt
- ¾ cup coconut milk
- 1 ½ pounds medium, shelled and deveined
- In a large skillet with a lid, heat the oil over medium heat. When hot add the mustard seeds and
cover until they stop popping. Add the fenugreek seeds and stir until they color lightly. Add the curry leaves (they will sputter and spatter), wait about 20 seconds, then add the onions and fry until they are soft, but not brown.
- Add the ginger, garlic and green chiles and cook for one minute. Add the tomato paste, dry masala and salt and stir and fry for another minute. If it dries out, add a few drops of water.
- Add ½ cup of the coconut milk, along with 1 cup of water. Increase
heat to medium-high and cook at a strong simmer, uncovered for 5-10 minutes to thicken the sauce and blend the flavors.
- Add the shrimp, and cook, stirring, until they have all changed color and curled up. This will take less than 5 minutes, depending on the size of the shrimp. Add the remaining ¼ cup of coconut milk, bring to a boil and remove from the heat. Taste for salt and serve immediately.