This is one of India’s hottest dishes. But I always say that the cook is in control, and you can decrease the quantity of peppercorns if you like. The best peppercorns in India come from the verdant state of Kerala, where the air is full of heady aromas. The yellow chile powder used here is an ingredient from Benares and is a common spice used in the chaats sold by street vendors there.
Total Timeunder 1 hour
Recipe Coursemain course
Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, halal, kosher, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free
Taste and Texturesavory
- 20 medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1½ teaspoons table salt
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 4 medium red onions
- 5 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 1 quart (800 ml) plus 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- ½ cup (125 grams) plain yogurt
- 1-inch (2½-cm) cinnamon stick
- 3 green cardamom pods
- 2 teaspoons fresh garlic paste
- 2 teaspoons fresh ginger paste
- ¼ cup (75 grams) cashew paste(see below)
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- ½ teaspoon yellow chile powder (or cayenne)
- 25 black peppercorns, crushed, plus more for garnish if desired
- ½ cup raw cashews
Put the shrimp in a bowl, add the salt and lemon juice, and toss to coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside to marinate for 20 minutes.
Thinly slice 3 of the onions and chop the remaining onion.
Put the tomatoes in a blender and blend to a smooth purée. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
Place a nonstick wok over high heat and add 1 quart (800 ml) oil. When small bubbles appear at the bottom of the wok, lower the heat to medium and add the sliced onions. Cook, stirring occasionally with a slotted spoon, until the onions are well browned. Remove with the slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Let cool completely.
Transfer the onions to the blender, add the yogurt, and blend to a fine paste.
Place a nonstick sauté pan over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of the oil. When small bubbles appear at the bottom of the pan, add the cinnamon and cardamom, and sauté for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add the garlic paste and ginger paste, and sauté for 30 seconds. Add the cashew paste and sauté for 4 minutes. Add the tomato purée and cook, stirring, for 15 minutes. Add the turmeric and chile powder, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
Add the onion paste and stir well. Bring to a boil, then remove from the heat and let cool slightly. Pour through a strainer into a bowl; discard the solids.
Place a nonstick sauté pan over medium heat and add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. When small bubbles appear at the bottom of the pan, add the peppercorns and chopped onion, and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes or until the onion is browned.
Add the shrimp and stir. Add the tomato mixture and 1 cup (zoo ml) water. Stir and cook until the mixture comes to a boil and the shrimp are cooked through.
. Garnish with a few more crushed peppercorns, if you wish. Serve hot.
Soak the cashews in a bowl with 1 cup (200 ml) water for 30 minutes.
Drain and transfer to a spice grinder. Add 1/3 cup (65 ml) water and grind to a smooth paste.
2011 Sanjeev Kapoor