During this year’s cold winter months I took a few online cooking classes. What an online cooking class? Yes, it is true – this past winter I was introduced to this online source called Craftsy. While drinking my coffee in the morning and still in my pj’s I moved into the “great room” along with my computer, turned on my gas fireplace (yes, I do miss a real one but this is a lot easier to take care of), plopped down in Gene’s recliner with my feet up and watched this class.
Do not get me wrong as I love to attend cooking classes – I cannot even tell you the many different ones I have participated in over the years. But I love to learn and this was just another way to do that. I am fortunate to live in a community with a lot of foodies who take their food very seriously. There are many opportunities to learn something new through Zingerman’s, Sur la Table or my community schools to name just a few. Classes can be full participation, some participation and no participation. Recently my two sisters and I watched and later ate all of the goodies Gale Gand, pastry chef from Chicago made. Now, that was a lot of fun!
I learned about this online site through an email from King Arthur Flour (KAF). Most of the classes are about 2 hours or more and you have the option of watching a part of it or the entire class. You can interact with the instructor and other students with your questions. Recipes are provided with detailed instructions, sometimes the tools required are listed and always a metric conversion guide. I sure need this as I use “cups” for measuring and I rarely weigh ingredients. I am starting to go into this unfamiliar territory, but only gradually.
Anyways, one of these classes was on Indian Curries: The Basics and Beyond with Raghavan Iyer. This recipe comes from his book “660 Curries”. Being a part of Fiesta Friday I have always admired the different curries that were shared. I wanted to get a better understanding of this cuisine and what better way than to take a class to familiarize myself a little more. This was the least complicated recipe and then it had shrimp, cream and tomatoes in it so I knew this would be a good place to start.
I am not sure I quite understand what a “curry” is except it seems to be a generic term for any sauce-based dish. A recipe could be wet or dry, the ingredients vary a lot such as the spices; fish, vegetables or even meat can be used. The heat would depend on your taste – this recipe was perfect for me!
First, making the Bangala Garam Masala just filled my kitchen with such a pleasant aroma and to think this spice blend would be a part of my shrimp dish. Then grinding up the almonds and adding the rest of the ingredients the whole dish just overwhelmed me. The flavor is nothing like I had ever tasted – it was over the top with a spicy and creamy tomato sauce.
Shrimp with Tomatoes & Ground Almonds (Tamatar Jhinga)
- 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup (33 g) slivered blanched almonds, ground
- 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1 large tomato, cored and finely chopped (I also seeded and took the skin off – it’s a personal thing)
- 1/2 tsp. ground cayenne
- 1-1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 1/2 tsp. Bangala Garam Masala (see recipe below)
- 1 lb. (455 g) large shrimp (21-25), peeled and deveined with the tails on or off
- 1/2 cup (120 ml) heavy cream
- 2 tbsp. fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped (I used parsley as I am not a cilantro fan)
Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the almonds and garlic and cook stirring constantly, until the nuts brown, about 1 to 3 minutes.
Stir in the tomato, cayenne, salt, sugar and garam masala, scraping the skillet to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the tomato softens a bit but is still firm, 2 to 4 minutes.
Add the prepared shrimp and pour in the cream, stirring gently. Lower the heat and cover the skillet. Simmer until the shrimp have curled , have a pink/salmon color to them and the sauce is thick, about 5 minutes.
Sprinkle with cilantro/parsley and serve. I served this over white basmati rice.
Eastern Indian Warming Spice Blend (Bangala Garam Masala)
- 1 tsp. whole cloves
- 1 tsp. cardamon seeds (from green or white pods)
- 4 (3-inch) (7.5 cm) cinnamon sticks, broken into pieces
Place the three ingredients in a spice grinder (I used a coffee grinder) and grind until the mixture resembles that of coarsely ground black pepper. Stir the mixture through a strainer into a small bowl. Regrind the mixture left behind in the strainer. Repeat the straining, sifting and grinding two or three times more, until you have at least 3 tbsp. Discard any coarse residual blend that cannot be ground further. The instructor did not throw anything out, he got out his mortal and pestle and ground up that last bit by hand.
Store in a sealed container at room temperature for up to 2 months. Do not refrigerate.
Recipe by cookingwithauntjuju.com
I know many of the bloggers who participate in Fiesta Friday will be happy to see that I actually made a curry, simple yes, but still a curry. If you are a shrimp lover you will especially enjoy this intensely flavored dish. Let’s get partying with Angie and her two co-hosts, Jhuls and Justine.
Bangala Garam Masala – the three ingredients, before and after grinding. Yes, all of that went into this fragrant and delicious dish. Oh, I knew this was going to be good!
The ground almonds and garlic are starting to brown… tomatoes and other ingredients…
Shrimp is not the easiest to photograph but sooooo delicious 🙂