There is nothing wrong with having a tree as a friend. —Bob Ross
March is the month when most retired Canadian Gujaratis make their way back home after a winter hiatus in India, just in time to enjoy the last traces of a Canadian winter after months of basking under a torrid Indian sun. My father is one such retiree.
Our ancestral home in Gujarat is adorned with a tamarind tree in front. The tree is as old as my father himself. Although our home has gone through many restorations and transformations, the tree has remained its constant companion. It greets us each time we visit, bids us farewell when we leave. It’s the first tree that I learned to climb and has proven itself to be the best hiding spot in the numerous hide-and-seek games of my childhood. At this time of the year, when my father returns to Canada, he leaves behind the tree heavy with ripe fruit. The fruits certainly do not go to waste; the local villagers are all welcomed to help themselves to as much as they require for the year. I’m certain that no one in our village has ever had to buy tamarind.
Tamarind is the key ingredient in this shrimp recipe from my childhood. If you are not familiar with tamarind, you can read all about it here. The pods are shown below. I make my own tamarind paste but for the recipe below, you may use prepackaged, store-bought paste which is easier to find than the pods.
Spicy Tamarind Shrimp Curry
(serves 4 to 6)
Shrimp and Marinade
- about 300 g shrimp, raw, (shell and tail left on and deveined is preferrable)*
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
- 1 small fresh green chili, minced
- 1 tsp fresh ginger, minced
- 700 g tomatoes, about 6 roma tomatoes, coarsely chopped
- 150 g onion, coarsely chopped
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
- 3/4 tsp red chili powder (use less if you don’t want it too spicy)
- 2 tbsp tamarind paste
- 1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
- 3-4 tbsp olive oil
- about 1/2 cup chopped fresh coriander
- spring onions, thinly sliced for garnishing (optional)
- Marinate the shrimp, let rest for at a few hours, preferably overnight, in the fridge.
- Mix all the ingredients for the sauce in a large saucepan, cover and cook on low-medium heat for 30 minutes until the onions are soft and the tomatoes lose their shape. Using an immersion blender, purée. Alternately, you may chop the tomatoes and onions finely and omit the blending process. Set aside the sauce until you are ready to cook the shrimp.
- In a large skillet, heat olive oil on high med-high heat. Add the fenugreek seeds and allow them to crackle. Add the shrimp, cook until they are no longer grey, turning them over as required. This will not take long, 2 minutes max. Lower the heat, cover and cook on low heat for 2 more minutes.
- Add the tomato sauce, increase the stove temp to high, cover and bring to a strong simmer. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as required and mix in fresh coriander.
*Along with the tamarind, using shrimp with their shells on also plays a big role in the flavour of this dish.
40 thoughts on “spicy tamarind shrimp curry”
Looks delicious! Have you ever tried those spicy tamarind candies? The ones coated in sugar? And good ole Bob Ross. Lol
Thank you Rini and yes, I have, and they are so addictive!
Sounds delicious! And loved all your dark mood photography. Thanks for the share Annika.
Thank you Sumith, you are too kind.
Feeling like, I should try this. Never thought before. But what if I make tamarind paste from fresh ripe tamarind ?
Yes, for sure you may you use fresh. I soak the fresh in a bit of hot water to soften the flesh first. Adjust the amount to your liking.
I’ve never known much about tamarind until reading that article you shared. Interesting to see a recipe with tamarind in it. I recently saw some in a produce store in Florida here in the US..wanted to buy some but haf no idea what to use it for! 😄
Well now you have a recipe! I hope you give it a go!
Funny Annika my husbands parents too are just about to return to the UK after escaping a very cold British winter for India. I need a warm second home to escape the mild Aussie winter!
You can come visit here!
What a lovely recipe Annika. I use quite a bit of tamarind since we use it a lot in indonesian cooking here in the Netherlands as well. But fresh from your own tree beats everything. ☺
Thank you Myra… it is a wonderful ingredient and surely perks up a dish!
The photos are fantastic and the Curry looks so flavourful!
Thank you so much!
Sorry, I was reading tamarind paste, although I enjoy making everything from scratch. I’ll try the tamarind dipping sauce – good idea!
Let me know if you need a recipe… I haven’t posted it yet but have plans to do so soon!
I just ordered some new tamarind paste – i was afraid mine was too old. I’ll wait for your recipe!
I think I need to try this gorgeous shrimp dish and surprise the Indian food lovers in my family! Hopefully sooner then later! And beautiful photos my dear😊
Sounds wonderful! It’s not as complicated as it may seem. Hope your family likes it! Thank you.
Delicious shrimp curry!!
Thank you so much dear!
Well penned post Annika!! The recipe sounds delicious.. Your photos are beautiful as always !!
Thank you so much, you are way too kind!
A lovely post. I have a giant jar of tamarind paste but have perhaps used it once. Now I have an excuse to use some. These shrimp are divine – I love all of the ingredients.
How perfect! You can also try making tamarind dipping sauce… it’s another favourite here.
I would love to if I could get tamarind pods!
Wow! I love tamarind, I’m trying this recipe for tomorrow night!
So happy to hear this, hope you like it as much as we do!
Tamarind is such a great ingredient. Love the flavors of this dish.
It really is! Thank you for stopping by!
My son would so so love this, he adores shrimp curry
This is one of my children’s favourite as well and since you have to peel the shrimp while eating, you really get to enjoy the meal.
It looks delicious! Thank you for sharing the recipe!
My pleasure! Thank you!
That looks delicious