This weekend we ditched all the games schedules and school picnic to sneak up north. We spent a day at a family farm that is getting ready to wind down and I loved watching the colors and animals and soaking up the spirit of the season. This is my absolutely favorite time of the year.
I am excited this year, because we have thus far had a picture perfect fall, bright colors, crisp gently dropping leaves and fluffy clouds floating across the sky that makes me want to sit outdoors and watch colors forever. I am also excited that we have three trips planned to ensure the beautiful Hudson Valley landscape in fall.
The spices of fall are warming and the flavors of fall are comforting. When I think of fall, I think of sweet tasting fennel, fragrant cinnamon, lively cardamom and mellow and nuanced fenugreek. All these spices work so beautifully individually and in concert with each other. These flavors are universal and festive, they bring with them a sense of happy nostalgia for me. Yes, this is the holiday season in India and about the time of the year, where I am very torn, I am unable to decide what I love more the bright autumn leaves of Hudson valley or the fanfare and dessert making orgy of my mother’s home.
But, however I slice it, it is always about autumn, warm fragrances and comforting flavors.
While we are beginning to crave deep and hearty fare, I am not yet ready to start nursing the soup or stew pot, just not quite yet.
There is so much fun to be had outdoors, so I am not yet ready to get on the slow simmer bandwagon. This shrimp curry strikes the perfect balance; it is tossed in a cashew cream sauce with notes of cardamom and fenugreek and some of the tomatoes that are still lingering. It is perfect with nicely steamed rice or even a bowl of warm quinoa.
A simple and festive dish that is comforting and redolent with the flavors of cardamom and fenugreek.
- 3 tablespoons of oil
- 1 medium sized red onion chopped
- 3 pods of garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, freshly grated
- 2 ripe tomatoes, pureed
- 11/2 pounds of shrimp shelled and de-veined
- Salt to taste
- 11/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 4 green cardamoms bruised
- 2 teaspoons of powdered coriander
- 1 tablespoon clarified butter or 11/2 tablespoons of butter
- ½ cup milk
- ¾ cup of raw unsalted cashew nuts
- 1 tablespoon dried fenugreek leaves
- Heat the oil on medium low heat for about a minute and add in the onion and sauté for about five minutes. The onion should soften and turn gently translucent.
- Add in the garlic and ginger and continue cook for a few more minutes, letting the onions turn softly golden.
- Add in the tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes, so that the mixture thickens and turns into a thick sauce.
- Add in the shrimp, salt and black pepper and add in the shrimp.
- Gently stir in the cardamoms and the coriander and continue cooking until the sauce gently clings onto the shrimp.
- Add in the clarified butter or butter and cook for another 2 to three minutes.
- Puree the nuts and the milk into a thick sauce and add to the shrimp and cook for 2 to three minutes. Please note, it is important to ensure that the shrimp does not cook for more than 10-12 minutes, so these steps are done in fairly quick succession.
- Stir in the fenugreek leaves and serve.