I have always been a fan of shrimp but when it comes to cooking it, I always felt nervous as if you cook it well, it can taste brilliant but on the other hand if you over cook it then it actually feels as if you are eating rubber. So I only played safe and cooked other food mostly in our household. Then few years back, we went on a holiday to Goa and I had some wonderful dishes of shrimp which inspired me to look into cooking them. I again asked one of the cooks one day to give me some pointers on how to cook shrimp correctly and here is what they told me:

Make sure you buy raw prawns so that you could keep them on heat a little longer and this will make sure you get more taste as the curry will penetrate in them fully.

If you get semi cooked or fully cooked shrimp then make sure you add them well towards the end of the recipe and as soon as they change a slight color, take them off the heat and cover with lid and keep for some time before serving. Again do not reheat again as this could overcook them.

so to let you through the basics that I learnt again about shrimp, you get them either raw which is not cooked, semi cooked which is slightly cooked usually with tail on and cooked which could be either with or without the tail. The best ones for any Indian curry recipe are the raw ones because then you can decide how to cook them. Whereas if you buy semi cooked or cooked ones then you have to be very careful at what stage of the curry you add them because even slight overcooking will make them rubbery and chewy which would spoil the whole taste of the curry.

I am going to share the recipe that I learned to make in Goa, called Shrimp Masala. Usually, the cooking in Goa would have coconut in it in some or the other form but this is one of those rare, simple recipes that we make at home which does not have any coconut. So for the list of ingredients you would need:

1 Bowl of (10-12) Raw Large Shrimp (Also known as Prawns in other parts of the world)
1 Large or 2 Medium onions
2-3 cardamom pods
1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
1 inch of cinnamon stick
2 cloves
1/2 tsp of red chili powder
1/4 tsp of turmeric powder
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/2 bowl of yogurt or curd
1 tomato
2 tsp Oil
Salt to taste
Coriander to sprinkle on top

Recipe: Fry the cardamom pods, cinnamon stick, cloves on 1 tsp oil for a minute or so. Add onions and fry till dark brown. Now add ginger garlic paste and fry for few seconds. Remove this from heat and let it cool. Now in a mixer or grinder add the onion mixture with yogurt and 1 tomato and blind till a smooth paste is formed. Now heat 1 tsp oil and add raw shrimp (peeled ) and fry for just 30-40 seconds till they change the color. Now add the chili powder, turmeric powder, garam masala and stir fry the shrimp for another minute or two till they are cooked. Now add the blended mixure with salt to taste. Cover for just one boil and move from the heat. Now sprinkle coriander and serve hot with chapaties or rice.

My Goa trips have always given me a new outlook towards cooking as it has enhanced not only my knowledge of different recipes but have also made me aware of some basics of cooking which would help one no matter what kind of cooking they were doing. One has to go to Goa once in their lifetime to taste not only great food but also to check out the beautiful scenery and friendly people. Three cheers to Goa the most beautiful place in India.

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