Shrimp with pumpkin

Lately, I have posted a couple of my family recipes which have received positive feedback from you. Hence based on your feedback and encouragement, for my wonderful readers I will continue on that theme in this post.

If you take a close look at the regional foods in India, one of the most fascinating aspects of Eastern Indian cuisine is addition of shrimp to vegetables and greens. Eastern India is known for it’s rice production and interestingly enough the water logged paddy fields are a breeding ground for delicious shrimp. They are typically small in size but big in flavor. As the river Ganges flows through Eastern India into the Bay of Bengal there is an abundance of vegetables and greens growing in the delta region . This served as a source of inspiration for cooks several generations ago to combine the flavor packed shrimp from the paddy fields with the vegetables and greens grown regionally.

This particular recipe is an adaptation of a family recipe which follows the aforementioned theme of combining shrimp with vegetables in this case pumpkin. The pumpkin mash compliments the flavorful grilled shrimp and is best served with white basmati rice. Since this recipe involves grilling the shrimp, it is ideal to use medium sized shrimp rather than small sized ones traditionally used.

Ingredients

  • 250 gm Pumpkin cut into cubes
  • 8 medium sized shrimp, peeled and deveined.
  • 1 small shallot finely chopped
  • 1 small shallot sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Salt and pepper to season
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Scallions to garnish
  • Vegetable oil

1. In a medium sized cast iron pan heat 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Add the cumin seeds and the shallot and saute for about a minute till the shallots turn transparent.

2. Add the chopped pumpkin to the pan. Sprinkle coriander, paprika and turmeric on the pumpkin and saute till the spices are coated on the pumpkin for about 5-8 minutes. Add a teaspoon of salt and sugar and continue sauteing the pumpkin. When the sugar is completely dissolved, add the water and cover the pan. The pumpkin will slowly start getting softer indicating it’s getting cooked.If needed add a little more water.

3. Let the pumpkin cook till the water is completely absorbed. Remove the pumpkin from the pan and mash it using a masher or the back of a wooden ladle. However, please do not use a food processor. It makes the pumpkin soggy and quite unappetizing. Plate the pumpkin as shown in the picture.

4. Season the shrimp using salt, pepper and a little paprika. Heat a cast iron grill pan with oil and grill the shrimp, not more than a minute each side. Bear in mind peeled shrimp will cook faster. Alternatively you can also pan sear the shrimp after a boiling them in beer if you are feeling adventurous. Please check how to do so in an earlier post on watermelon gazpacho with pan seared shrimp. Place the grilled shrimp on the pumpkin mash as shown in the picture

5. In a deep frying pan heat a cup of oil to 340 F. Add the sliced shallots to the hot oil and fry them till they are golden brown. Remove from oil and add to the dish as shown in the picture. Garnish with scallions as shown and serve.

Grilled Shrimp with Pumpkin Mash

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