- Skill Level: Moderate
- Cost: Moderate
- Favorited: 9 Times
Can be made ahead of time.
One of the secrets to making a single ingredient like shrimp exciting and varied is to serve it with a variety of sauces and condiments. To dramatize this effect, use an assortment of different bowls or buy a thali. A thali is a tray with little metal cups that line its perimeter and is also the name of a kind of Indian dinner where five, seven, or even more dishes are served at the same time. In principle one is supposed to work around the circle, sampling flavors, and end with a sweet, but it’s more fun to go back and forth and experience different juxtapositions. This dish can be made with fresh or dried coconut; getting the flesh out of a coconut is somewhat of an ordeal, but a satisfying one. For the recipe given here, the coconut is puréed, so don’t worry about grating it. Just cut it into manageable pieces—about 1 inch on each side. When grated, a coconut yields about 3 cups—more than you’ll usually need—but it freezes well. This recipe is inspired by one in Madhur Jaffrey’s excellent book Flavors of India.
If you’re using fresh coconut chunks, purée/chop them in a food processor. Combine the chopped or grated coconut with the cilantro, ginger, garlic, chiles, lemon juice, spices, and sugar in a blender and add the coconut milk. Purée for 3 minutes on high speed. Work the mixture through a coarse strainer or food mill to extract the liquid. Discard the solids that don’t go through. Combine with the onion and season with salt to taste.
Nutritional information is based on 12 servings and includes 1/8 teaspoon of added salt.