- Shrimp/Prawns – 1 lbs
- Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
- Chilly powder – 1 tsp
- Salt to taste
- Shallots/Small Onion/Kunjully finely sliced ~ 1 ½ cups
- Tomato finely sliced – 1
- Ginger minced – 1tsp
- Green chilies – 4 split into halves
- Tamarind a small gooseberry size ball(you can use tamarind paste as well) or use Gamboge
- Water - 1 cup(or more as needed)
1. Grated Coconut ~ 1 ½ cups
2. Coriander powder – 3 tbsp(I used pre-roasted then grounded coriander powder that was homemade)
3. Fenugreek seeds – 1 tsp
4. Dry red chilies – 3
5. Curry leaves few
- Coconut Oil/ Veg Oil – 2 tbsp
- Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
- Curry leaves few
- Shallots/Kunjulli/Small onion chopped – 3 tbsp
- Dry red chilies – 3
- Peel the shell off the shrimp, devein, wash and clean them. Marinate with turmeric powder, chilly powder and salt and set aside for an hour if possible
- Soak the tamarind in ½ cup water for ten minutes. Squeeze out the maximum tamarind water with clean hands and pour into a bowl. Add half cup water again and squeeze out the remaining pulp water from tamarind if any and pour to the set aside tamarind water.
- Dry roast the coconut with fenugreek seeds, curry leaves and dry red chilies in medium heat. When the coconut start to turn brown add the coriander powder and roast again for three-five minutes or till they become brown color.(Don’t over roast the coconut-coriander powder to very dark brown/burn which will turn the gravy to bitter, the curry will lose its authentic taste- I roast it till they turn a bit more than light brown but not very dark brown)
- Let the roasted mix cool down fully. Then grind them to a smooth paste(Use ¼- ½ cup water as needed to grind). Move the ground paste to bowl and add ½ cup or more water and mix well(water should be added according to your gravy requirement, this curry is normally of medium consistency-neither too thick nor runny)
- Put the marinated shrimp, finely sliced shallots, ginger, green chilies, few curry leaves and tamarind extract to a pan preferably Manchatty/Earthen ware. Keep the Manchatti/Pan with lid on and put on the stove. When the shrimp-tamarind mix just starts to boil add the sliced tomatoes and ground coconut mix.
- When the gravy start to boil simmer the stove to medium and let it cook again for few more minutes say five-seven minutes. Take out off the stove.
- Heat up a small pan, pour coconut oil/Veg oil, when the oil is hot enough add mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds starts to splutter, add curry leaves, dry red chilies, shallots/Kunjully/Small onion and sauté till they turn golden brown.
- Pour over the curry and serve warm with Rice/Roti/Appam/Dosa. This curry tastes better after 4-6 hours of preparation.
- Even though this curry is commonly known as Chemmeen Theeyal, We (Kannur region) simply call it as Varutharacha Chemmeen Curry i.e. Shrimp in dry roasted coconut gravy :-)
- Shallot/Small onion/Kunjully is preferred for this curry, but you can replace it with very finely sliced Onion. The way you slice them definitely adds taste to gravy.
- Many parts of Kerala use Gamboge/Kudampuli to make this and most of the fish Curries, but Malabar/North Keralites mostly use Tamarind. Would suggest you to use which ever suits your taste buds(i.e. whichever you are used to-like I have seen some people using tamarind having hard time to adjust with Kudampuli/Gamboge taste but I never heard vice versa – so it all depends upon your taste buds :-) )
- I have used pre-roasted ground coriander powder, so frying time with coconut will be less. If you are using store bought or unroasted coriander powder then frying time till they turn brown will be little more.
- Seasoning is purely optional, this curry tastes great even without seasoning.