With the lentil (parippu) prices going up here, suddenly I had to do some lateral thinking to come up with non lentil curries. That’s when I came across this recipe hurriedly scribbled in my recipe book, from my in-laws last visit.
Umma had made this curry in the spur of the moment, seemingly without any effort, just tossing in a handful of shrimps into a pan of simmering raw bananas. It reminded me of the old story of the soldier and the stone soup. It is amazing how our mothers can pull off variations spontaneously. Such a simple recipe and the end result was a scrumptiously rich curry thickened by the banana’s starch. I added a very small dash of coconut milk to seal the Malabar flavor and hold the banana and shrimp together.
To entice you to try it, let me tell you that the closest approximation of the taste is of Tapioca (kappa) with fish curry. So the combination works very well. It goes well with rice and accordingly to my spouse , goes well with parathas too.
You will need:
Shrimp- 1 cup peeled (about 20)
Green banana (plantain or regular)-2 medium sized ones.
Green chilies- 2 vertically slit
Red chili powder-1 1/2 tsp
Turmeric- 3/4 tsp
Salt to taste
Coconut Milk Powder- 1 tbsp(Optional)
Mustard seeds- 1/2 tsp
Shallots or small onions- 2
Curry leaves- 1 sprig
Coconut oil-1 ½ tbsp
1.Chop the shallots finely and keep aside with the curry leaves.
2.Peel the green banana and quarter them into ½” inch long cubes. Soak them in water with a pinch of turmeric and salt for 10 minutes. Marinate the washed shrimps in ½ tsp chili powder, salt and ¼ tsp turmeric. Cut the shrimps into 2-3 pieces if they are very big.
3. Rinse the bananas and put them in the sauce pan with1 ½ cup water on a medium flame. Add the green chilies, salt, aniseed and the rest of the chili powder and turmeric.
4. Add ½ cup more water as the bananas start getting cooked. Add the shrimps to the bananas after 10 minutes. It will take about 10- 15 minutes for the bananas to be cooked to a point where it starts breaking down. The bananas have to turn starchy and the water should look clouded.
5. Check the salt and liquidity of the curry and add more salt and water if needed. Stir in 1 tbsp coconut milk powder (blended with 2 tbsp water) and let it come to a full boil and take it off the flame.
6. Seasoning: Heat the oil in a small wok/pan and as it heats up, add mustard seeds and cover till it tops sputtering. Add the curry leaves and shallots and fry till the edges of the shallots turn brown. Pour the flavored oil over the curry.