August 06, 2006

Kaya Chemmeen Kootan/ Green Banana Curry with Shrimps.

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
Fennel Seed/Saunfperunjeerakam)-1/4tsp
Salt to taste
Coconut Milk Powder- 1 tbsp(Optional)
For seasoning:
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.


Ashwini said...

Hi Shaheen the curry is really unique. I wouldnt have thought of this'd make a lovely change from the ones I am used to - coconut based.
I am so tempted to buy the Malabar cookbook...I have always found Mapila cuisine to be very intriguing. Is it good?

Anonymous said...

The curry looks good.
i am excited to have discovered all these malabar recepies..
something, i am despeartely trying to conquer.
i have found the malabr muslim cookery very useful.
Her recpies are so easy to follow.
i am wondering about the other two books shown here.
Do they have recpes too?
Authentic ones?
a fellow keralite

indianadoc said...

it has been a while that I have cooked prawns n raw banana...had almost forgotten about it...thanx for reminding...

shilpa said...

Unique combination shaheen. I am sure it would taste great. Thanks for sharing.

Nabeela said...

I love your new layout of the site with interesting links provided here and there.

Puspha said...

Super duper yummy!!!!!!!!!

surya said...

Hi shaheen,
Thanks for the unique recipe.I tried prawns-drumstick combination,but this one is new to me.can we use dried shrimp instead of fresh shrimp in this mouthwatering curry?

Shaheen said...

ashwini,shilpa,pushpa,... try making for the mappila cook book, it is pretty good.try it.its easier to envisage making it if u have tasted the mappila cuisine in one way or the other.I am trying to get you all to start cooking it.:)The other books are what i like browsing thru,but they do have some recipes that are keepers
shynee, where are u from in calicut?
nabeela, thanks.. i am going to make cluster beans.
surya, very interesting ques. you could try it with dried shrimp. i am sure it will add a smoky depth to the curry.i don't have nay dried shrimp. :(

Lera said...

Hi, your site seems very interesting ! A visual Treat of authentic Kerala cuisine..:)

Anonymous said...

Perumjeerakam is fennel seeds not aniseed...aniseeds are starshaped spices.

Anonymous said...

You have a very nice blog! Very nice template...

indianadoc said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
indianadoc said...

Shaheen,have u tried cooking kaya and mutton/chicken similarly?

Anonymous said...

i tried the is too good.thank u so much

Shabs.. said... mom makes the same curry exactly like you.....Thata a great curry..we love it too much...M just waiting to make it......U have really nice recipes in here....Just drop into my blog wen u find time.