Eastern India is a region of abundance: After monsoon season, fields are blanketed with mustard flowers, whose seeds are crushed to yield pungent cooking oil; gardens burst with vegetables of all kinds; and hundreds of miles of coastline yield plenty of fresh seafood. This homestyle dish from the east Indian state of Odisha features sweet shrimp fried in mustard oil with fragrant spices, then ground and mixed with fresh cilantro. This recipe first appeared in our August/September 2014 special India issue.
- 1⁄2 cup mustard or canola oil
- 2 tbsp. black mustard seeds
- 2 tsp. cumin seeds
- 15 fresh or frozen curry leaves
- 5 chiles de árbol, stemmed
- 15 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 small red onion, sliced
- 2 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails off
- 1 tsp. ground turmeric
- 3 small green Thai chiles or 1 1/2 serranos, minced
- Kosher salt, to taste
- 1⁄2 cup packed cilantro leaves
Heat oil in a 12" skillet over medium-high. Cook mustard and cumin seeds, curry leaves, and chiles de árbol until seeds pop, 1–2 minutes. Add garlic and onion; cook until golden, 6–8 minutes. Add shrimp, turmeric, chiles, and salt; cook until shrimp are pink, 3–4 minutes. Transfer to a food processor; add half the cilantro and pulse until coarsely ground. Transfer to a bowl; stir in remaining cilantro.