This Balinese Shrimp Curry pairs Shrimp with tender Cauliflower florets and Spinach in a very rich and aromatically spiced Coconut Milk base.
The name of the dish, I have to confess, is a bit of a whimsical choice. The recipe isn’t a Balinese classic, or anything, but the name came to me as I was cooking it. In fairness, though, the Coconut Milk base, and the spices used, did sort of suggest Bali to me, and, perhaps more significantly, ‘South Pacific’ was playing on the television as I worked.
The Recipe Card below calls for Chili Paste. You can use any commercial variety you like, or even a home-made version, but I recommend Sambal Oelek for this dish.
If you don’t want to go to the bother of cleaning, blanching, and chopping the fresh Baby Spinach used here, you can certainly use frozen. You will need about three quarters of a cup. Just make sure to squeeze it well before use.
First, grind the Coriander and Fennel Seeds and blend with the Turmeric, Cardamom powder and Salt. For a little added dimension of flavor, you can dry roast the Coriander and Fennel Seeds in a pan for a minute or two until they give off their aroma.
Blanch the spinach in boiling salted water for 20 or 30 seconds and then plunge into cold water to arrest the cooking. Next, squeeze the leaves as hard as possible to expel excess water and then chop coarsely;
Heat the butter in a pan over moderate heat and sweat the onions. When they have softened, add the dry spice blend, along with the garlic and ginger, and cook for a minute or so longer.
Now add the cauliflower and coconut milk and simmer over low heat until the florets are tender. If your coconut milk is quite thin, you may wish to cook down over high heat until it has the consistency of a very thick chowder.
Add the shrimp and the Sambal Oelek and cook until the shrimp are fully done and a nice pink.
Finally, stir in the spinach and as soon as this is heated through, transfer to a dish and serve.
Your Recipe Card:
Balinese Shrimp Curry
- 1 lb. medium Shrimp
- 4 cups Baby Spinach leaves
- 2 cups Cauliflower florets
- ½ cup finely chopped Onion
- 2 cups Thick Coconut Milk
- 1 tbsp. Coriander Seed
- 1 tsp. Fennel Seed
- 1 ½ tsp. Turmeric
- 1/3 tsp. Cardamom powder
- 1 tsp. Salt
- 1 tsp. Ginger Paste
- 1 tsp. Garlic Paste
- 3 tbsp. Chili Paste
- 3 tbsp. Butter
- Grind together the Coriander and Fennel Seeds and blend with the Turmeric, Cardamom powder and Salt.
- Blanche the Spinach, squeeze dry, and chop coarsely.
- Fry the Onion in Butter over medium heat until translucent and stir in the dry spice blend, along with the Ginger and Garlic pastes.
- Add the Coconut Milk and Cauliflower and simmer until the Cauliflower is tender.
- Add the Shrimp and the Chili Paste and cook a little longer until the Shrimp are pink.
- Stir in the Spinach, heat through, and transfer to a dish for service.