My mother knows my tastes in cookbooks well. Recently, for my birthday, she sent me Recipes from an Indian Kitchen, by Sunil Vijayakar, with “authentic recipes from across India.”
Oddly enough, for a French woman, my mother cooked Indian meals when I was growing up, so I was exposed to Indian cuisine at a young age. She cooked a variety of International cuisines, but Indian was probably my favorite. And that was when my palate was a bit challenged!
What’s not to love, though? Unless you dislike cilantro. But the spices are so fragrant and lovely, and for the most part the dishes are healthy and vibrant.
The author describes the generalized regional cuisines of the north, south, east and west. I know it’s much more involved than four regions, but the differences are fascinating. And the photos in the book are gorgeous. They made me want to grab my camera and get on a plane. One day…
So as I always do with a new cookbook, I read it front to back, bookmarking recipes along the way. One recipe, Masala shrimp cakes, really stood out to me for some reason.
I mean I love shrimp, but the cakes looked like a perfect party food, and one that can be made ahead of time. They are chock-full of colors and flavors.
Loretta will be happy to know that this recipe is Goan-inspired!
Once you have clean shrimp, all you need is a food processor, and the shrimp “batter” is ready in minutes. Just a little time chilling is required to meld flavors and firm the batter.
Masala Shrimp Cakes
Jhinga Masala Vadas
1 3/4 pounds raw shrimp, peeled, deveined
2 fresh red chiles, seeded, minced
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh mint
1 teaspoon coconut cream or coconut milk
4 scallions, finely sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger
1/2 cup fresh white bread crumbs
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 medium egg, lightly beaten
Coarsely chop the shrimp and put them into a food processor along with the remaining ingredients.
Blend to a coarse paste. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, cover, and chill in the refrigerator for at least 6-8 hours, or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Shape the shrimp mixture into 20 small patties, about 1 1/2″ in diameter. Place on a baking sheet and brush lightly with oil.
Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes, or until slightly puffed up and light golden.
Serve warm or at room temperature with lime wedges for squeezing over the top.
I made a dip of sorts by blending cilantro, green chile peppers, and a little olive oil, just for fun!
These shrimp cakes were delicious even once they cooled down, but I did love them warm.
My only addition to this recipe would be at least 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Otherwise, it was total Indian perfection!