Today’s curried shrimps with yuzu-scented turmeric rice is my new favourite meal. I can’t believe I haven’t made this before, because everyone – including my picky 2-year-old girl – scarfed it down in lightning speed. Perhaps, everyone was just very hungry?
While the thought of cooking curry for the kids sent shivers down my spine (will it be too spicy for them?), I braved the unknown with a steadfast mind. I knew this brand of curry powder that I usually buy – Roland’s Pure Indian Madras Curry Powder – is mild enough for a neophite’s palate. There’s something to be said about reliable pantry standby’s.
And the best thing is: this meal comes together very easily. Week night meals have never been so stress-free! In under an hour and with time to spare, you’ll be done preparing this meal, I promise…and, you’ll look like a supermom! At the risk of sounding like a cheesy tagline, I can attest that this dish is the adventurous parent-cook’s dream-come-true: it’s exotic, it’s easy as 1-2-3, it’s quite nutritious, and it’s delicious.
As we were enjoying this meal one day, I happened to spy some pomegranate seeds hanging out at the back of our refrigerator. I added some of these ruby gems to the rice, and wow! They added some sweet-and-tangy end notes to balance out the shrimps and rice. I was absolutely amazed at how well everything meshed together! For my daughter who loves pomegranate, she really enjoyed this. For my other daughter who doesn’t like pomegranate, it took a bit of coaxing to get her to eat it, but it wasn’t too painful after she’d try them once. All in all, I think this is going to be a family classic for us.
- 1 pound (20 to 25 pieces) medium Pacific white shrimps, shelled and deveined
- 2 tablespoons mild Madras-style curry powder
- 4 garlic cloves, finely minced
- ½ white onion, finely minced
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- a squeeze of lemon juice or yuzu juice
- 1 cup basmati rice
- 1-1/2 cups water
- ¾ teaspoon ground turmeric or freshly grated
- peel of 1 yuzu, left in big pieces or 2 tablespoons pure yuzu juice (or use lemon if yuzu is not available)
- pomegranate seeds for garnish
- Rinse the shrimps after shelling and deveining, then dry with paper towels. Place in a bowl with the Madras curry powder, garlic, and half the minced onion. Mix until well-combined and set aside. You can marinate this in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
- Fire pan over medium heat with olive oil or grape seed oil. Make sure there is enough to coat the bottom of the pan.
- Salt the shrimps and squeeze the lemon or yuzu juice at this point, and then sauté in the pan without overcrowding. Cook for 1 to 1-1/2 minute(s) each side, or until the shrimps just turn opaque. When shrimps turn opaque, give it a quick stir, for about 15 seconds, before transferring to a plate. Set aside.
- To make the rice, rinse basmati rice in at least 5 washes of cold water. When washing, use your hands to squeeze out some of the starch from the grains. Drain.
- In a sauce pan or small pot, heat a bit of olive oil over medium heat.
- When the oil is hot, sauté the remaining half of the minced onions with the turmeric until fragrant.
- Mix in the rice and stir until all the grains are coated in turmeric powder. Add the yuzu peel or juice, then add the 1-1/2 cups of water.
- Cover and bring to a boil, then immediately reduce heat to a simmer (medium-low) and cook 12 to 14 minutes.
- Let stand away from heat, still covered, for another 5 minutes. Remove yuzu peel and fluff rice before serving.
- Top with the curried shrimps and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds, if desired.