My friend Ansh with the blog Spice Roots is guest posting for me today; I’m in the thick of packing and stressed to the max about getting everything done so having friends help with some posts has been a huge relief. I met Ansh when she joined a local food blogger group I had started in Denver; I love that her food experiences are so unique to mine and I also love how generous she has been to me. I agreed to be a part of an event last year called IndianFoodPalooza and one of my obligations was to make an Indian dish. I was a novice, totally a fish out of water so I asked Ansh for help. She not only offered a suggestion but came over to my house to help me prepare a Mumbai Sandwich. It was, to my mind, a strange combination of ingredients but I was excited to make it and even more excited to eat it! Ansh was so right on with that choice; it was fabulous and I admit opened my eyes to the fact that I actually have a great deal of the ingredients already on hand for Indian food; no more excuses!
I see she has decided to pull my leg a bit; how or why I thought Chicken 65 was a dish served at one of her schools in India and categorized by a number is beyond me…but let me tell you; if this shrimp is half as delicious as ‘Schoolyard Chicken’ we are all very lucky indeed!
“Food is humanitarian: sharing it bridges cultures, making friends of strangers pleasantly surprised
to learn how much common ground they ultimately share.” ―Anthony Beal
Food is how I met Barb. The Front Range Food Blogger group that Barb started made it possible for a lot of local bloggers to get together and meet and talk about food, eat food, shoot food and make everything about food the biggest deal. It is one thing to have wonderful friends who love to eat the food you cook and give you wonderful, heartfelt compliments but quite another thing to have friends who will not only appreciate the food you cook, but are ready to walk down the memory lane with you, travel for miles to find the perfect ingredient, understand why over mixing the batter is making your heart break into a million pieces and understand the squeals of joy when you poach the perfect egg. They will talk with you for hours about the origins of the dish, the stories behind it and absorb every word you are saying.
For one of our Front Range Food Blogger Meetings, I once made, what is originally called, a dish of Chicken 65. The group loved it instantly. Even though it was spicy and hot with all those chillies, they polished it off along with asking me why it was called the chicken 65. I did share the story and they listened to every word. Or so I thought.
When it was time for another of our monthly meeting, I offered to bring a cake, which Barb said would be delicious and added, ‘Would you not bring the school yard chicken, again’? Now I had never heard of ‘school yard chicken’ and here was Barb suggesting I should make it ‘Again’. After a little bit of talking we figured out what she was talking about and had a hearty laugh. I did make it again but insisted that she call it by its real name and she simply refused. She was always going to call it the Schoolyard Chicken, she said.
That chicken is one of Barb’s favorite dishes from my kitchen. She just tells me to stop thinking about what to bring and just bring her the chicken. And when she asked me to fill in for her today on her blog, guess what she asked me to come up with?
So for this post I thought it was only apt that I make something that I know she would love. And since she really likes the “schoolyard” part of the story, we are going to call this dish “The Schoolyard Shrimp 65”. Barb, I hope you enjoy this dish. Even though it was because of food that I got to know you, it is your courage and pragmatism that makes me love you as a dear friend.
- ½ pound shrimp
- ½ tsp ground turmeric
- 1 tsp salt
- 1tsp lemon juice
- ½ tsp shrimp paste ( Any brand you like)
- 1 tsp chilli garlic paste ( any brand you like)
- 1 tsp ginger paste
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp light soy sauce
- ½ tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tbs rice vinegar
- 3 tbs corn starch
- 2 tsp chopped garlic
- 1 Tbs thinly sliced Thai chiles
- 1 – 2 sprigs of fresh curry leaves ( Kadi patt )
- Oil for frying
- Peel and devein the shrimp. Wash, drain and then pat dry.
- Take a medium size bowl and add in turmeric, lemon juice, salt, shrimp paste, chilli garlic paste, ginger paste,coriander, cumin, soy sauce, black pepper.
- Stir to mix it all and now add in the shrimp. Stir and mix until the shrimp is well coated.
- Let the shrimp sit in this marinade for about 15 minutes.
- Heat the oil for frying and while it is heating, add in the corn starch into the shrimp.
- Mix to coat the shrimp well.
- When the oil is hot ( about 350*F), start frying the shrimp a few at a time, taking care not to over crowd.
- Fry them up for a few minutes until the coating turns brown and the shrimp curls up.
- Repeat the process for the rest of the shrimp.
- Once all the shrimp is fried, take a separate pan, add in a Tsp of the oil from the frying into the pan.
- Add in the garlic, cook until just fragrant. Add in the curry leaves and the green chillies.
- Be careful at this stage, as the curry leaves spatter.
- Stir to mix and add in the fried shrimp along with the rice vinegar.
- Cook for a minute, until the vinegar mixes in and dries out.
- Serve hot.
In the event you don't have the shrimp paste, make it without.
Substitute red chilli powder/cayenne plus freshly chopped garlic for the chilli garlic paste.
You can also pan fry the shrimp instead of deep frying it.
The use of curry leaves is highly recommended, but this does taste great without them as well.