Coconut curry is definitely an Asian import to Jamaica. Jamaicans use a lot of coconut milk in cooking but combining it with curry was probably a concept brought to the island by the vast number of Indian and Asian migrants who came for work in the late 1930s. The protein of choice for Coconut Curry Shrimp is shrimp and I don’t think that I would make chicken this way. I would make slight tweaks to this recipe if I was making chicken.
How to cook
I used the largest shrimp I could find because I think they are a much better addition to this dish instead of tiny or medium shrimp. I beef up this curry with ginger, scotch bonnet, all-spice and fresh thyme. I also doubled the garlic for a deeper dimension to the flavors in the dish. Lemongrass or a little lemon zest would also be perfect in this dish, though I made it without to keep the flavor more authentically Jamaican. The finish on this is very spicy due to the scotch bonnet sauce. Reduce it to 1 tablespoon if you like less spice. I paired this dish with steamed rice, Naan and fried plantains.
For Coconut Curry Shrimp, you will need:
- Cutting board
- Sharp knife
- Large skillet
- Wooden spoon
- Medium bowl
- 2 lbs of Colossal Shrimp
- 2 tbsp oil
- ¼ green bell pepper (diced)
- ¼ white onion (diced)
- 2 scallions (diced)
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- ½ scotch bonnet cut up
- 5 sprigs of thyme
- 4-5 pimento seeds
- 2 cups coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons yellow scotch bonnet sauce
- 2 tbsp Maggi fish season up (sub with Old Bay seasoning)
- 2 tsp curry powder
- ½ tsp grated fresh ginger
- 1 medium carrot (julienned)
- ½ tsp cracked pepper
- Salt to taste
- If you did not purchase already deveined shrimp, devein the shrimp and remove and discard the shells. Rinse the shrimp under very cold water.
- Dice scallions, onions, peppers, hot pepper and set aside. Julienne the carrots and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, add fish seasoning, 1 tsp of curry and the scotch bonnet sauce to the shrimp. Mix well using a spoon or your hands and set aside. Cover your hands with a disposable glove if you decide to mix the seasoning by hand to avoid curry stains on AQ21your hands.
- In a medium skillet, add oil and allow the oil to get hot on high heat.
- To the hot oil, add peppers, garlic, onion, scallions, scotch bonnet, ginger and thyme. Allow the veggies to cook until slightly translucent, about 1 minute. Add 1 tsp of curry to the veggies and let it cook for about another minute. Keep stirring the pan so all the veggies are coated in the curry and it does not start to burn.
- Once the curry and veggies are fragrant, add in coconut milk and pimento seeds. Give the sauce a good stir. Cook the coconut milk until it comes up to a boil. Allow the milk to cook for about a minute before adding in the shrimp.
- Once there is a visible bubble to the sauce, add in the seasoning shrimp and reduce the heat to medium-high heat. Allow the shrimp to cook on one side until that side turns pink. Use the spoon to turn each shrimp on the other side. After turning all the shrimp, add in the carrots. Cover the pan and allow the carrots to soften.
- Once the carrots are cooked, about 2-3 minutes, taste the sauce for salt. If it's necessary, add salt to taste.
- Allow the sauce to reduce further for about another minute.
- Serve immediately with rice, roti or veggies.
Music credit: Selfish RMX by Jeff Kale