Words by Bonnie S. Benwick, The Washington Post
Shrimp With Cashew-Yogurt Sauce
4 to 5 servings
This creamy dish has an Indian flavour profile, with garlic, clarified butter, a bright spice blend and yoghurt. If you happen to have ghee in your pantry already, you can make this recipe that much faster.
The clarifying seems like a cheffy step, but it is, in fact, an easy one. Here’s why you want to do it: By removing the milk solids (proteins) and simultaneously cooking off the water in this unsalted butter, you will be left with a golden liquid that adds buttery flavor to this dish. And you will have greatly reduced or eliminated the risk of burning it, which can happen so quickly in a hot pan.
In testing this recipe, we discovered a few things:
– Using full-fat, 5-percent Greek yogurt (Fage brand) made for a deliciously thick and clingy sauce. Both whole milk and cream go into this kind of yogurt, accounting for the richness.
– No matter how deep your pan is, the whirring of an immersion blender will spit and spray the sauce as effectively as a lawn sprinkler. You can skip the blending step and go with a chunkier sauce or partially cover the pan as you work. You can transfer it to a blender or food processor, too, if you don’t mind the extra cleanup.
– The few minutes it takes to infuse your clarified butter with the shrimp tails gives the whole dish a shrimpy flavor boost.
Serve with roasted red peppers and a salad, or over basmati rice.
Adapted from Spark.Recipes.com.
1 to 1 1/4 pounds large (16-20 count) frozen shrimp, shell-on and deveined
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium onion
2 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon chili powder, plus more as needed
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or more as needed
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup roasted, unsalted cashews
2 cups plain Greek yogurt, preferably full-fat
Place the shrimp (to taste) in a bowl of tap water and let them defrost a bit while you prep the butter. When you can, pull off the tails and reserve.
Melt the butter in the pot, over medium-low heat. As soon as white milk solids form on the surface, skim off and discard them. The butter should be mostly golden and clear; you have clarified it enough for this dish.
Add the reserved shrimp tails; cook for about 10 minutes, stirring once or twice. (You are infusing the butter with shrimp flavor!)
Meanwhile, peel the shrimp; it’s okay if they are not fully defrosted. Discard the shells, or reserve to make broth (see the NOTE, below). Cut the onion into small dice. Mince the garlic.
Remove the shrimp tails from the pot and discard, then stir in the onion and garlic. Increase the heat to medium; cook for 3 or 4 minutes until just softened, stirring a few times, then add the chili powder, cumin, turmeric, salt and pepper, stirring to incorporate. Add half the cashews.
Add the yogurt, stirring to form a thick sauce; cook for 2 or 3 minutes, then reduce the heat to low.
At this point, you can decide: Use an immersion (stick) blender to puree the mixture right in the pot. (For a textured sauce or to make less of a mess, you can skip the blending step; if you don’t have an immersion blender, you can transfer the mixture to a food processor.)
Drain the shrimp and add them to the pot, along with the remaining cashews. Increase the heat to medium; cook for about 4 minutes, stirring to make sure all the shrimp is pink and no longer translucent. Taste and add more salt and/or chili powder, as needed.
Divide among wide, shallow bowls. Sprinkle each portion with a little chili powder, and serve warm.
NOTE: Having a broth made from shrimp shells gives you flavorful head start on seafood soups, chowders and sauces. To make it, combine the reserved shells from this recipe, half an onion or some fennel scraps and a few peppercorns in a medium saucepan. Cover with water and bring barely to a boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for about 15 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer into a heatproof container; cool and freeze flat in a zip-top bag for up to 6 months. (Be sure to label, including the date.)
Feature Image: Tom McCorkle; Food styling by Lisa Cherkasky; Video: Taylor Turner/The Washington Post