Day 93: Coconut Curry Shrimp

Day 93: Coconut Curry Shrimp

inspired by Caribe’

Wow, it’s hot!

Weather forecasters said parts of London reached 32°C yesterday. Today is meant to be more of the same.

That’s the same temperature expected in the UK today as Jamaica.

Don’t worry, it should rain tomorrow. Back to normal.

But it seems apt that as I’m attempting my first Caribbean dish, the weather outside should match.

Caribe’ is an authentic Caribbean eatery in Pop Brixton. Their dishes reflect the food from across the islands. Everything sounds delicious. Salt fish, corn fried chicken, curry goat. There are some things I’ve never heard of. Boulette for example. Apparently these are breadfruit croquettes. Which doesn’t help me as I have no idea what a breadfruit is!

Back on google and it turns out it is part of the same family as jackfruit, which I’ve eaten in a couple of vegan dishes before. Apparently its name comes from the fact that once the fruit is cooked it has the texture of freshly baked bread.

So I make a mental note to add breadfruit to a list of things I want to try and go back to Caribe’s menu.

Coconut Curry Shrimp

king prawns cooked in curry spices with coconut, sweet potato, spinach and coriander

Now this sounds like what I want to eat today. Partly because I love prawn curries, so I want to try a Caribbean one.

But mainly because I reckon I can find all the ingredients for this in my nearest little supermarket.

It is too hot to be walking any further today.

So after my walk to the shops, and a little lie down in the shade after to recover, I’m ready to get cooking.

I read a recipe from Immaculate Bites. In this Imma talks about making your own Jamaican curry powder mix.

The idea of grinding spices in pestle and mortar is just too much in this heat. But it does get me thinking – what is the difference between Jamaican curry powder and Indian curry powder?

The first thing I learn is that Indian curry powder isn’t actually Indian. It’s a British invention, created as we tried to replicate Indian food in our country. I never knew that.

But I begin to understand there are a few key differences between Jamaican curry powder and the pot of (British) curry powder sitting in my cupboard.

Obviously Jamaican spice blends will differ from region to region, but they are often hotter, due to dried scotch bonnet, and contain allspice (also called pimento) which doesn’t feature in the British equivalent. They can also contain a higher proportion of turmeric, which can make their curries appear a really vibrant yellow.

So for the sake of not overheating myself again, I take some of my curry powder, add some ground allspice and then add some extra turmeric.

I’ve got some fresh scotch bonnet in the fridge so I can add the extra heat this way.

I also watch a video with a similar recipe from Cook Like A Jamaican.

There are a few differences between the recipes but the principle is the same. And as I’m adding spinach and sweet potato to mine like Caribe’ does I’m using both as inspiration, rather than following one exactly.

I’m going to add some slices of yellow pepper as both recipes use pepper. Plus I’ve got one in the fridge.

Sadly all the little supermarket could provide was pre cooked king prawns, so I know I’ll only be adding these for the last few minutes of cooking. I always prefer to buy raw prawns when I can, but I will make do. I toss them in a little of the curry powder as a marinade – just in case that helps.

What I love about this dish is it seems to only take a short amount of time to cook. Which is great. Today is not a day to be standing over a hot stove for hours on end.

I begin with onions and garlic. Imma says if I’m using scotch bonnet to add it now too. I’m going to be brave so I slice up just over half a scotch bonnet, making sure I get rid of any seeds, and add it to the mix. In goes thyme and my tweaked curry powder.

After a few minutes I add my chunks of sweet potato (one potato is plenty for two people) and then in goes the pepper before I add some tomato paste and the coconut milk.

I’ve made my coconut milk from creamed coconut. I love this ingredient. Not only does it mean you can make coconut milk or cream (it just depends how much water you add) but also means you can make just the right amount for what you need.

Imma says to add broth so I’m going for some vegetable stock. I add less than she recommends through as I want to add a bit of water mixed with cornflour to thicken the sauce at the end, like in the video above.

Once the sauce is looking good I add some frozen spinach. After that has defrosted and mixed in with the curry in go my prawns, for a couple of minutes as all they need to do is heat up.

I can’t face another rice cooking disaster either. So instead of serving the curry with coconut rice and kidney beans like Caribe’ does, I’m serving it will some simple white rice, from a microwavable pouch. A cop out I know. I blame the weather.

However when Aidan and I sit down to eat it’s not the temperature outside that is on our minds. It’s the heat of the curry. It’s not too hot to eat, but I’ve gone a bit pink and my eyes are getting quite watery.

Slightly too much spice aside, it’s a really delicious dinner. So simple and easy to add whatever veggies you like. I’ll just tone down the chilli a little next time.

As I write this I go back to Imma’s recipe. There’s a video on her page too, which I hadn’t watched before.

Ah. She added a whole scotch bonnet into the sauce. So it would add spice to dish, but you don’t actually eat the chilli. Well I guess you could if you wanted to….

But I’m definitely not brave enough for that.

I think I need another lie down in the shade.

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