August 19th, 2019

The first time I had coconut milk, was from wining a whole coconut at "The Hoppings", Europe's largest travelling fun fair, which is held on the Town Moor during the last week of June each year in Newcastle. This has got to be back in the seventies as a young excited child having the time of his life, riding the merry go round, driving the dodgem cars, sliding down the tall helter skelter.

I'd normally go home carrying a coconut and a gold fish in a bag of water. Unfortunately the gold fish never lived longer than a week, before being flushed down the toilet on its way back to the sea (poor thing).

Back at home we would grab a nail, and hammer it through the three eye holes of the coconut, tip it over a bowl and empty out the coconut water, it always tasted amazing. Thoughts of swimming in turquoise blue Caribbean waters would fill this boys mind with dreams of traveling to Montego Bay, Nassau or Turks and Caicos. Running along white sand, picking up sea shells and having fun with the family. These dreams sure beat our normal caravan holidays by the cold rainy north sea.

This is one of the reasons why I love food so much, it can take you from your home kitchen to another part of the world. With the taste, the smell and feel of something exotic that's not normally grown in your home country. So try this coconut shrimp curry and day dream your traveling by train through a passage to Indian or you're strolling along a Caribbean beach awash with vibrant colors and lush landscapes at sunset.

Coconut Shrimp Curry
Serves 4

2 cups brown basmati rice
4 cups low in sodium chicken stock or water
For the Curry
1lb large wild American shrimp, peeled and de-veined
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 small chili pepper, mined
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 medium onions, peeled and sliced
1x 13oz can coconut cream
1 tablespoon freshly chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon sliced almonds (optional)

How to make:
For the rice:
Place the rice and stock into a medium size saucepan, place the pan on the stove over a high heat, bring to the boil, then turn down to a simmer, cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until the rice has absorbed the liquid.

For the curry:
Place the shrimp, garlic, ginger, chili, curry, cumin, turmeric and cardamom into a medium size bowl, using a spoon coat the shrimp with the spices, season with salt and pepper, then pop into the fridge for the flavors to infuse into the shrimp.

Place large frying pan over a medium heat, add the oil, when hot add the onions, cook for 3 minutes, then add the shrimp and cook for a further 3 minutes. Add the coconut cream, stir and bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer, cook for another 3 to 4 minutes or until the shrimp is cooked all the way through.

Stir in the cilantro, sprinkle over the sliced almonds and serve with the basmati rice.


Chef Mark .

Copyright © 2018, 2019 Mark Allison