- 1 1/2 pounds/680 grams (21–25 count) head-on shrimp
- Sea salt
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced onions
- 5 garlic cloves, finely minced
- 1 tablespoon turmeric
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds, ground
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns, finely ground
- 1 serrano chile, sliced lengthwise in half
- 1 tablespoon Tamarind Paste
- 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
- 3 cups cauliflower florets
- One and a half 13.5-fluid-ounce cans Chaokoh-brand coconut milk (stir well before measuring)
1. Remove the heads and shells from the shrimp, reserving both. Devein the shrimp and rinse them well. Season the shrimp with salt and refrigerate.
2. Place the shrimp heads and shells in a medium saucepan, add cold water to cover, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat and simmer until the liquid is reduced to 3 cups, 25 to 30 minutes. Strain the stock and set aside.
3. Heat the oil in a 4- to 6-quart pot over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the sliced onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic, turmeric, cumin, and pepper and cook until the garlic is lightly colored and the spices are fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes.
4. Add the reserved stock, the chile, tamarind paste, and vinegar and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
5. Add the cauliflower and coconut milk and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Season with salt. Reduce the heat and simmer gently until the cauliflower is just beginning to soften, 3 to 4 minutes.
6. Stir in the shrimp and cook until the shrimp are firm, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove and discard the serrano, if desired. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve hot.
Changing It Up
Sometimes I make this with fish instead of shrimp, using one 4- to 5-ounce (113- to 142-gram) halibut or fluke steak per person. (The steaks come from cutting a whole fish crosswise into 1/2 – to 1-inch-thick slices. It’s a very pretty cut, resulting in a nice oblong shape with a bone in the middle and the skin ringing the steak.) Use fish stock or plain water in place of the shrimp stock; the fish’s bones and skin add depth and richness to the curry, just as the shrimp shells do. Add the fish steaks where the recipe instructs you to add the shrimp and cook until the fish is opaque and flakes easily.