SOUR SHRIMP CURRY: URANG ASEM
Chop a few shallots fine, fry them in an enamel stew pot with two or three tablespoons of oil till gilded, adding a little ginger and garlic at the right time. Add three or four chopped seeded tomatoes, cook down till pasty. Add coarsely chopped fresh green chilies and a splash of water, cook down again; the smell of frying chilies should be noticeable. Now add one and a half tablespoons of curry powder, OR one tablespoon ground coriander seed, one teaspoon turmeric, a little freshly ground pepper, and a pinch of cinnamon. Stir briefly to mix it up, and pour in a cup of strong tamarind water and a generous splash of fish stock.
At this time you should add a tablespoon of sambal oelek.
Sriracha hot sauce can be used instead.
Simmer it all down to an oily gravy consistency. Dump in a pound of large cleaned shrimp, cook for a minute or two longer, then turn off.
Throwing in some chopped zucchini to cook before putting the shrimp in the pot is a good idea, as the green with red is spectacular.
Adding a splash of orange juice to the pot at the same time as the sambal gives a subtle citrus undertone.
Now you probably understand why you should use an enamel pot; the dish is that acidic that it will strip the seasoning from your cast-iron, or take on flavour from stainless steel. In the old country (not mine, but someone else's) locally made clay pots would always be used.
Serve with rice that has a layer of krik krik on the bottom.
Please be advised that if you eat this all by yourself, you will suffer gout. Which is not pleasant. There should be another person at the table.
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