Sembharachi Kodi (Goanese Shrimp Curry)

  • Serves

    serves 4


In Goa, a tiny, palm-fringed state on the western coast of India, seafood is central to the cuisine. Beloved regional specialty sembharachi kodi, or shrimp in a coconut curry, is prepared a number of ways, but always with the freshest local shellfish simmered in a rich, chile-spiked coconut sauce. This recipe first appeared in our August/September 2014 special India issue with Sonia Faleiro's story Christmas on the Coast.


  • 1 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails on
  • 1 cup grated fresh or frozen coconut
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 3 chiles de árbol, stemmed
  • 2 plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 14 cup canola oil
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 4 pods green cardamom
  • 2 Indian or regular bay leaves
  • 1 stick cinnamon, halved
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. ground coriander
  • 1 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 12 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, mashed into a paste
  • 1 (1") piece ginger, peeled and mashed into a paste
  • 1 (14-oz.) can coconut milk
  • 12 cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 2 small green Thai chiles or 1 serrano, thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt, to taste


Step 1

Remove and discard tails from 6 shrimp; place in a food processor. Add coconut, cumin seeds, chiles de árbol, tomatoes, and 2 tbsp. water; purée into a paste. Heat oil in a 12" skillet over medium-high. Cook cloves, cardamom, bay leaves, and cinnamon until fragrant, 1–2 minutes. Add onion; cook until golden, 6–8 minutes. Add coriander, turmeric, pepper, garlic, and ginger; cook until fragrant, 1–2 minutes. Stir in reserved paste; cook until oil separates, 8–10 minutes. Stir in coconut milk; boil. Reduce heat to medium; add remaining shrimp, half the cilantro, the sugar, and green chiles. Cook until shrimp are pink and sauce is slightly thickened, 6–8 minutes; garnish with remaining cilantro.

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