Jul 21

Spicy Coconut Shrimp & Spinach Curry





Today I missed Doopey’s vet appointment on account of this curry. Okay, that may not be entirely accurate, but I am sticking to it. The truth is I woke up this morning and told myself to not forget the two o’clock appointment. Yeah yeah yeah … got myself all organised (in my head). I made the boyfriend’s packed lunch, walked the dog, came home and then started thinking about food, as you do.



I looked in the fridge and I took note of all the stuff I had in there and my mind began to wander. The day before I bought a bag of jumbo shrimp and a ginormous bag of spinach, and I mean GinORmOUS! I swear, it was like a cushion-sized bag of Popeye food. It took up two-thirds of a shelf in the fridge, and it was the only size they sold at the grocery store. So I got to thinking about what I could make with all that iron-packed green. I could make a spinach + salmon quiche … but I had no salmon. Then it hit me. Prawn curry!!



I quickly dove into one of my Indian Cooking cookbooks for inspiration and browsed online pictures for ideas. When I was satisfied that I roughly had the “taste” of what I wanted to achieve in my mind, I proceeded to put everything together.




Shrimp gently cooked in an aromatic coconut gravy … now that has ‘DELICIOUS’ written all over it. It’s definitely been a while since I had something as delicious as this stewing in a pot, making my house smell all kinds of wonderful. I am really stoked because I am not known for my curry making skills; that’s Mom’s department. But Mom doesn’t live with me now, so I gotta start somewhere on my own.




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I have to say tho that I haven’t done too badly. I make a grand total of TWO curries to date, regularly. I started with a simple chicken curry ~ I made that and only that for a long time until I felt confident enough to branch out a little. Beef curry followed after that, but no more. I had hit my limit. None of these recipes required me to measure out specific amounts of spices ~ I just used a wet pre-mix paste. But today is going to be different … I’m about to get my hands dirty.




  • 1 bag of jumbo shrimp
  • 1 bunch of fresh spinach
  • 6 shallots
  • 2 inch fresh ginger root
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 red chilli
  • 2 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tbsp coriander stems
  • 2 tbsp dessicated coconut
  • small handful curry leaves
  • Cooking oil


Spices: 1/2 tsp turmeric, 1/2 tsp chilli powder, 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp coriander. 1/2 tsp salt




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Clean and devein the prawns, but leave the shells on (for extra flavour). Remove the heads tho, and save them for stock. Or you can always take the easy way out, like me, and use frozen ones.



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Roughly chop some shallots, fresh chilli, garlic and ginger. Place all these, along with the coriander stems, into a processor. Blitz until you get a fine chop but not quite a paste.



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Sautée the onions, garlic, ginger, chillies and coriander paste on low heat. It will take a while to soften everything but be patient; flavour is everything, so take the time to sweat the stuff out. Add a little pinch of salt to help you along. Once everything has softened, add the curry leaves and give everything a good stir, then add the dry spices: coriander, chilli, cumin and tumeric powder.



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Curry leaves are very fragrant when cooked and they impart a distinct aroma that lends itself to the uniqueness of Indian curries … especially south Indian varieties. I have been fortunate enough that an aunt sent me a bag of the dried leaves all the way from Canada. I haven’t been able to find any sold here.


Anyway, once that’s done, add in the dry dessicated coconut and toss to coat with everything. Allow to dry-fry until it gets nice and fragrant.



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Finally, add in all the tomatoes and sautée gently. Add in half a cup of water and leave it to simmer gently until the tomatoes break down completely. This will be your “gravy”. It’s not exactly a soupy curry … more of a sambal kinda curry, if that makes sense. Perhaps I should rename this dish, coz I now feel that calling it a ‘curry’ is just wrong. Anyway, call it what you will for now while I contemplate the recipe.



Once you have cooked out the coconut and all the spices, gently add the prawns and the spinach leaves (stems removed). If the leaves are too big then give them a rough chop first. Stir well and cover the pot. Simmer for just five minutes and then shut off the fire, allowing the residual heat to finish cooking the prawns and wilt the spinach. You don’t ever want to over cook prawns. The minute the shells turn nice and pink, turn off the heat and cover the pot.



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Wait about ten minutes then remove the lid, garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve with rice or Indian flat-bread. I regret to say that I don’t have fancy photos to accompany this awesome dish. Why? Coz my photography sucks, and I honestly don’t have the patience to style my food. When my snaps don’t go well I get annoyed and then I throw a hissy fit. I do try, but I rather tuck into the food than stand around snapping photos while the food goes cold. This curry was too good to pass up anyway … worth every mouthful.



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~ Enjoy! ~





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