A favorite since the late sixties when Poppy adapted this (first found curry paste in a little store in Ithaca visiting a friend at Cornell) Let us know if you have a source for this now. Last time we had to order it from Sri Lanka.
2 cups coarsely chopped onion
2 cups coarsely chopped celery
¼ lb butter
2 to 4 tablespoons curry paste (or powder)
3 tablespoons flour
2-1/2 cups milk: plain, coriander, or coconut
(See about curry paste and milk types below)
Cayenne pepper, to taste, optional (See below)
2 teaspoons salt, optional
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds large shrimp*
Serve with white rice
*Shrimps come in many forms. Best texture will result from shrimp which you peel yourself. It is not necessary to devein the shrimp unless you can see a black line embedded under the back meat. Less good are the pre-peeled shrimps. Almost worth skipping are the pre-peeled and pre-cooked shrimps since cooking the shrimps in the sauce adds flavor to the final dish.
Melt the butter in a saucepan. Sauté the onions and the celery for about five minutes under medium heat. Blend in the curry paste or powder. Sprinkle the flour on the mixture and blend to form a paste. Add the milk a little at a time to keep out the lumps.
Add cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper to taste.
Add shrimp and bring to a low boil*. Cook for no more than five minutes. Shrimps will be cooked in 5- 1O minutes depending on size. Use medium to large shrimp, if you can, but not jumbo.
* May not really get to a boil.
CURRY PASTE: It is best to use curry paste if you can find it. We used to use 1/2 hot paste and 1/2 mild paste, but we can no longer get the hot paste. The mild paste may be obtained in case lots from Sri Lanka. Will be enough to last several years. It keeps well, and you may want to share it with friends.
To make the mild paste hot one adds cayenne pepper–but be careful not to make it so hot that only a few people (or, only the cook) will be able to eat it.
MILK: Plain milk is okay, but you will get better flavor by using either coriander milk (PAK prefers) or coconut milk (which is not the liquid found inside of a coconut).
To make coriander milk put 1 cup of coriander seeds (not fresh coriander) into a blender. Add enough whole milk to cover the seeds by more than an inch. Blend at the highest speed for 3-5 minutes. Strain through a cheesecloth and squeeze out as much liquid as you can. This liquid is coriander milk. Add more whole milk to bring up the proper volume.
To make coconut milk use fresh coconut meat instead of the coriander seeds and process as above. The mashed coconut meat is discarded.
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Copyright © 1999-2004 S.H. Klock/ The Recipe Reader / at Home Cookin’.