Our friend has a summer birthday and that means that every year, on his birthday, we are not in town. Yet, every year, I can count on him to cook birthday dinner for me on Christmas eve. Clearly not a balanced relationship as far as that aspect goes!
So this year, we were psyched to be in town for his birthday and asked what he would like to eat for his birthday. His wanted shrimp tikka masala so that was definitely on the menu.
In Indian families, however, when you invite people for a meal, traditionally a minimum of three courses is the norm. Usually there will be lentils and vegetables that accompany the lentils. After that, there is the non vegetarian course. If the family is vegetarian, the non-vegetarian meal is usually paneer, garbanzo beans, red kidney beans or something that stands in for the protein.
Following that template, I made lentils to start with. I also and roasted cauliflower and potatoes. Traditionally, the vegetables are fried but I roasted them because it's healthier and more time efficient. I also made a simple eggplant crisps that are unique and delicious.
Here is a quick video of the shrimp tikka masala. As you read the recipe, you will bump up against something called a "curry base". That is something that I make in bulk and freeze so making the actual curry takes less than 20 minutes. You will have to prepare that in advance. Click here to see how to make the curry base in bulk.
1 lb thawed Shrimp
2 teaspoon tandoori masala
⅓ cup yogurt
1 teaspoon lime juice
1 tablespoon oil
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp garlic paste
1 tsp ginger paste
2 tablespoons pasta sauce (or tomato sauce diluted with two tablespoons water for color)
2 tsp curry powder mix
1 tbsp tandoori masala powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt 16 oz curry base
4 tablespoons coconut creme
4 tablespoons (half n half or heavy cream)
juice of 1/2 lemon (keep handy. Sometimes the tomatoes create a less tangy base. If so, add ½ teaspoon and scale up)
Marinate the shrimp in yogurt, tandoori masala and lime juice for at least 30 minutes -- let shrimp be at room temperature for best results.
Just before throwing on the broiler, add 2 tablespoons of oil onto the shrimp and mix in.
Turn on broiler.
Broil for 2-3 minutes on each side till shrimp turns orange.
Remove from broiler.
Get ready to cook the curry.
Combine the curry powder and tandoori masala powder in a bowl and set aside.
Heat wok. Put oil in wok. Once heated, put the ginger garlic paste and turn down heat immediately to low. Stir constantly.
Add the spice mix. You want the spice mix to cook in the oil but not burn. Turn the heat up to medium high. You want the spice mix to cook in the oil, not burn.
Add the pasta sauce/tomato paste and stir until bubbles form (the oil will likely separate). This takes around 30 seconds to one minute depending on the heat.
Add ⅓ of curry base. Stir until bubbles form (little craters really), around 30 seconds. Watch the edges of the pan. The curry can stick here.
Now add another 1/3 of curry base and stir briefly. Let it cook until the bubbles form again. This takes 1-2 minutes.
Add the rest of the curry base and let cook until the bubbles form.
Turn the heat down to low and add the SHRIMP AND COCONUT CREME. Let the curry simmer for about 5 minutes.
If it gets too thick add a bit more curry base. Don't add water.
Add the cream and stir.
Mix in the lemon juice AFTER TASTING,
Garnish with a bit of chopped fresh coriander if you like and serve.