Fragrant shrimp and chickpea curry

Fragrant shrimp and chickpea curry

What's the secret to a great Indian curry? We've found that getting the right mix of spices and aromatic vegetables and herbs is key. And the way you cook the curry is also important.

At the start of cooking, onion is sautéed until soft and golden — often with the addition of fresh ginger and garlic. Then the spices are added and sautéed with the onion to release their flavor and aroma. To turn this fragrant mix into a curry sauce you just add one, or a combination of, tomatoes, coconut milk, yogurt or water (depending on the type of curry you're making).

Any protein or vegetables you're adding to the curry can simply be simmered in the sauce until they're cooked through. Then, for extra flavor and aroma, you can stir through chopped fresh herbs such as cilantro (fresh coriander) or mint at the end of cooking.

Quite a simple process really — and one that's worth endlessly repeating!

Fragrant shrimp and chickpea curry
serves 2
Plump, juicy shrimp combine wonderfully with the nutty flavor and creamy texture of chickpeas in this comforting and fragrant Indian curry.
2 tablespoons peanut or canola oil
1 onion — finely chopped
2 cloves garlic — finely chopped
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
½ cup of canned chickpeas
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon garam masala
½ teaspoon chili powder
14 oz (400g) canned chopped tomatoes
1 cup coconut milk
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup basmati rice
16 large uncooked shrimp — peeled and deveined
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro (fresh coriander)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
HEAT the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat and cook the onion for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. ADD the garlic and ginger, and cook for two minutes. ADD the cumin, turmeric, garam masala and chili powder and cook, stirring, for a minute. ADD the tomatoes, coconut milk and salt and bring to a boil. REDUCE the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. WHILE the curry simmers, cook the rice according to package directions. ADD the shrimp and chickpeas to the curry, cover with a lid, and simmer for another 4 minutes, then stir in the chopped cilantro and lemon juice. SERVE on a bed of basmati rice.

Variations: Use scallops or cubed pieces of fish or chicken instead of the shrimp. Use fresh mint instead of cilantro.
Tip: If you're vegan or vegetarian, simply omit the shrimp and double the amount of chickpeas.
This is one of the recipes from our cookbook The MediterrAsian Way.