This is one of my favorite ways of cooking shrimp: I peel and clean the biggest shrimp I can find, dust them with curry powder and pan-fry them. The curry powder coating curiously makes them as satisfying as deep-fried shrimp. They need little embellishment: fresh lime and cilantro will do, though a quickly-made Yogurt Sauce with Toasted Spices, Lime Peel and Basil or Warm Mango with Cilantro Lime and Chile (below) complement them wonderfully.
This employs the simple technique of dusting just about any fish fillets, steaks, scallops or shrimp with a fragrant spice mix —from curry and garam masala, to cumin or sweet, smoky paprika, to your own concoctions. You can swap the curry powder for a mix of coarsely-crushed coriander seed and sesame seeds and sear the fish or shellfish in Asian Toasted Sesame oil with a few thin slices of fresh ginger.
Recipe: Curry Crusted Shrimp
The secret to this simple recipe is to use a fine mellow curry powder, either commercial or homemade (recipe here). Serve the shrimp with basmati rice.
1 1/2 pounds large shrimp, peeled up to the tail and deveined; patted dry
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/3 cup mild curry powder or Sandy’s Curry Powder
About 2 tablespoons olive, grapeseed or peanut oil or half oil and half butter
About 2 cups tender cilantro sprigs
2 limes, cut into wedges
Sprinkle the shrimp evenly with the salt and sugar. Dust each shrimp with the curry powder to form a light coating. Shake off the excess.
Heat a large cast-iron or nonstick skillet over moderate heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil and heat 30 seconds. Add enough shrimp to cover the pan in a single layer. Cook the shrimp until they are browned and crisp, about 2 minutes on each side. Remove to a warm plate and repeat with the remaining shrimp and oil.
Arrange the shrimp on a bed of cilantro sprigs, and garnish with lime wedges. Pass either Yogurt Sauce with Toasted Spices, Lime Peel and Basil or Warm Mango with Cilantro Lime and Chile (below) on the side.
Warm Mango with Cilantro Lime and Chile
1/2 finely chopped sweet onion
1 teaspoon minced hot chile pepper
1 teaspoon olive or peanut oil
2 cups diced fresh ripe mango
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
In a medium saucepan, cook the onion and chile pepper in the oil, covered, over moderately low heat until the onion is soft and just beginning to brown, about 7 minutes.
Reduce the heat, add the mango, and half the lime juice and cook, covered, stirring frequently, until the fruit begins to release some of its juices and softens slightly without loosing its shape, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat, allow to cool slightly before stirring in the cilantro and basil. Serve warm.