We love curry here at The Café, and if you search our recipe archives, you’re sure to find a bevy of variations of delicious Asian/Indian-inspired curry entrées. This Coconut Curry Shrimp was another home run, in fact, my husband took his first taste and paid me a supreme compliment. He said, “This tastes like something from The Cinnamon Club!” “Really?”, I said. “Really, the flavor is amazing!” I took a taste and had to agree, it was quite yummy.
We’ve only been to the Cinnamon Club once, but it was an experience we won’t soon forget. Scott and I were visiting our daughter and her family in London this past fall and were able to sneak out for an evening on the town. After attending the amazing Evensong, a daily choral prayer service at Westminster Abbey, we set out on foot to find The Cinnamon Club. The walk, through a classic, light London rain shower, was only a few blocks, with the Abbey’s bells chiming a delightful clamor in the background. The elegant restaurant is located in the historic, former Westminster Library. The ambience is lovely with bookcases lining the walls, soft lighting and crisp white linens.
The award-winning Cinnamon Club, under executive Chef Vivek Singh, is known as one of London’s top restaurants, and, it did not disappoint. The service was wonderful, but the food is what inspired the unforgettable memories. Every bite of this high-end Indian fusion food was fresh, delicious and bursting with flavor. Being a presentation/food styling nut, I was oohing and ahhing over each lovely course. We concluded our evening with a ride home in one of the legendary black British taxi cabs, still reveling in our epicurean exploit.
So now you see why Scott’s remark about this curry was such a complimentary tribute to the dinner I served. Are you wondering why this dish would deserve such rave reviews? Although this curry has many of the traditional ingredients, there is a step, which I think, takes the flavor to another level. The coconut flavor is incorporated twofold, with coconut milk as well as shredded coconut, which is pan toasted till golden and fragrant. This toasted coconut is added to the broth or “gravy”, and, though it’s pureed to yield a smooth, silky sauce, it imparts a fantastic, unique smoky flavor. Lots of fresh spinach and tiny sweet peas simply multiply the layers of deliciousness.
If you want a special treat, give this Coconut Shrimp Curry a try…………….. close your eyes and let your imagination swirl, and you might just find yourself at The Cinnamon Club with the Westminster Bells pealing in the background …………… Oh, and if you see a couple across the room, quite in love with each other ……………. and going crazy over each delicious bite ……………….. that would be us. 😉
- ½ cup shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened is fine)
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 medium onions, finely chopped
- 4 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh ginger
- 1 teaspoon red curry paste (add more if you like it really spicy)
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- 2 teaspoons curry powder
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
- 1 beef bouillon cube (or 1 teaspoon beef bouillon granules)
- 1-14 ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 20 ounces light coconut milk, about 1½ cans
- 4 cups fresh spinach, roughly chopped
- 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 ½ cups tiny frozen peas
- Dry toast the coconut by heating a medium non-stick pan over medium heat. Add the shredded coconut and cook until golden brown, stirring frequently. This will take about 10 minutes depending on your heat. Be sure to watch coconut carefully as it can easily burn. Transfer coconut to a bowl and set aside to cool.
- Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot or dutch oven. Add the onions and sauté for 8-10 minutes or until softened and translucent. Add the garlic and next eight ingredients and cook another 2 minutes until fragrant.
- Add the crushed tomatoes, bouillon cube, toasted coconut and coconut milk. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook, uncovered for 30 minutes. Next, puree mixture with a stick blender or a regular blender till smooth. If using a regular blender, allow mixture to cool down a bit before blending.
- Add the shrimp and cook for another 2-3 minutes over medium-high heat, or until the shrimp turn pink and opaque and begin to curl. Remove from heat. Add spinach and peas and cover for 2-3 minutes. Serve in bowls with a scoop of jasmine rice, a sprinkle of cilantro and a splash of fresh lime. You could also garnish with fresh basil, chives or green onions.