Chile Jumbo shrimp for Chinese New Year
When it comes to food, India and China have more in common than you might think. Both harbour a deep love of ear-tingling chilies, vast quantities of garlic, and seafood.
But these dishes also have been endlessly adapted so that they now are distorted versions of the originals and more Indian than Chinese. Still, they are loved fiercely and cooked regularly in Indian kitchens.
Among the most special of dishes and perfect for celebrating the Chinese New Year (February 8) is this signature Indo-Chinese dish, chili jumbo shrimp, which is made using bird's eye chilies, soy sauce, ginger, and garlic.
The shrimps are juicy, bright, and enlivening, the heat of the chilies working perfectly against the natural sweetness of the seafood. I love to serve these after a soup or dumpling course alongside egg noodles or rice fried quickly in a little sesame oil and a side of salted and steamed greens such as broccoli or bok choy.
Whatever you choose to serve them with, they will sit harmoniously alongside other Chinese dishes. Best of all, they can be cooked in a matter of minutes, leaving you more time to celebrate with family and friends.
Chili Jumbo Shrimp
Not a fan of heat? Start with one chili, tasting and adding as you like.
Start to finish: 20 minutes
2tsp cumin seeds
2tbs canola oil
5 cloves garlic, crushed
2 to 3 red bird's eye, serrano or habanero chilies, finely chopped
1/2tsp ground black pepper
2/3tsp kosher salt
2tbs tomato purÈe
2tbs dark or regular soy sauce
1 1/2-inch chunk fresh ginger, cut into matchsticks
8 scallions, white and green parts, finely chopped
1 1/2 pounds raw jumbo shrimp, shells removed
1. In a mortar and pestle or with a spice grinder, roughly grind the cumin seeds to a coarse powder.
2. In a large skillet over medium, heat the oil. Add the cumin, garlic, chilies, pepper, sugar, and salt.
3. Cook, stirring for 2 minutes, then add the tomato purÈe, soy sauce, and all but a small amount of the ginger and scallions.
4. Cook for another 2 minutes. Increase the heat to high and add the shrimp. Cook, stirring, for 3 minutes, or until the shrimps turn from grey to pink.
5. Remove from the heat. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with the remaining ginger and scallions.
- Meera Sodha Associated Press