- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Today’s recipe was one of my mother’s favorites for making shrimp curry in a hurry, in less than 20 minutes. Or in just about the time it takes to cook rice to serve on the side.

This was a company dish, as shrimp dishes were when we grew up, but since my three children eat shrimp, we often serve this midweek.

You can further shorten the cooking time if you use pre-cooked shrimp from the seafood counter. If so, add the frozen peas first and let them cook for 2 minutes before adding the shrimp. Let the shrimp cook until they are heated through, 2 minutes more.

Feel free to season this curry as you like, adding more curry powder or hot pepper sauce to suit your taste. Also, feel free to substitute cooked chicken breast, bites of sauteed beef and slivers of lean cooked pork. As always, the condiments are what make curry fun. Offer chopped cilantro, toasted almond slices, fresh mango or mango chutney, and golden raisins or currants to sprinkle on top.

Five time-shaving meals with precooked shrimp

• Toss together a salad using the shrimp, chopped celery, hard-cooked egg and mayonnaise seasoned with cayenne pepper.

• Slice the shrimp in half lengthwise and place them inside two flour tortillas with shredded cheese, chopped bell peppers and cilantro leaves. Griddle to make quesadillas, then cut into wedges and serve with salsa.

• Make your favorite vegetable soup, adding black pepper to taste and the shrimp at the last. Serve with oyster crackers.

• Season melted butter with minced garlic and serve little dipping bowls with the shrimp, which have been warmed briefly in the microwave oven. Serve a green salad and baked potato to the side.

• Saute onion and garlic in olive oil, add the shrimp, plus a can of diced tomatoes of your choice. Spoon over warm grits.

Shrimp curry in a hurry

The preparation time is 10 minutes, and the cooking time is 8 minutes

1 can (10.75 ounces) cream of mushroom soup

Generous ½ cup milk

3 tablespoons sweetened flaked coconut

2 tablespoons barbecue sauce

1½ teaspoons curry powder

1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

½ pound peeled and deveined medium-size shrimp

1 cup frozen peas

1 teaspoon capers, drained (optional)

Chopped parsley, for garnish

Place the mushroom soup, milk, coconut, barbecue sauce, curry powder and hot pepper sauce in a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat.

Cook, stirring, until the sauce comes to a boil and is well combined, 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the shrimp and frozen peas and continue to cook the curry, stirring, only until the shrimp turn pink and opaque and are cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes longer.

To serve, spoon the curry onto plates and garnish it with the capers, if using, and chopped parsley.

Makes 2 to 4 servings.

To share favorite cooking tips, ask questions and access Anne Byrn’s free online newsletter, go to www.cakemixdoctor.com.

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