Aside from being a protein powerhouse (4 ounces provides more than 24 grams of protein), shrimp is high in selenium, a vital nutrient not common in other foods. These little sea nuggets have antioxidant and anti-cancer qualities, and contain a good dose of vitamin B12 and omega-3s.
Shrimp is the easiest fish to cook. Little more than 60 seconds of cooking time is necessary when you add a handful to boiling soup or stew at the last minute. The same goes for grilling or pan frying. As soon as the shrimp turn from gray to pink and the translucence turns opaque, remove from heat. Overcooked, rubbery shrimp does not impress.
If your prawns are frozen, thaw in cool water for 1 hour prior to cooking. For ease, buy fresh or frozen “EZ Peel” shrimp, which have the back slit to make peeling and deveining easy. If not, quickly peel and devein prawns this way: Using a pair of sharp kitchen shears, slice down the middle of the back shell right to the tail tip. Then, with your fingers, break open the shell and pull it off, leaving the tail attached. Pull or wash out the vein. Rinse and pat dry.
Easy Shrimp Curry Recipe
Make this dish as hot and spicy as you like, and with more or fewer ingredients depending on what you have on hand. Curries are extremely versatile — the preparation allows for many substitutes and additions. I like to add extra turmeric (beyond what’s in the curry powder) for its proven anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer health benefits.
• 1 medium onion, halved and sliced
• 2 large carrots, peeled and sliced
• 1 bell pepper, chopped, optional
• 2 cloves garlic, chopped
• 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
• 1 to 3 tablespoons curry powder, to taste
• 1 teaspoon turmeric, optional
• 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional
• 1 teaspoon sea salt
• 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
• 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
• 1 can or jar (14 ounces) organic diced tomatoes
• Handful of Swiss chard leaves, chopped, optional
• 1 can (14 ounces) coconut milk, not light
• 1/2 to 1 pound wild-caught raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
• 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
• Plain yogurt or sour cream for garnish
1. Heat olive oil in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrots and bell pepper, if desired, and sauté for 5 minutes, or until softened. Add garlic and ginger, and cook for an additional minute.
2. Stir in curry powder. Add turmeric and red pepper flakes, if desired, along with salt and pepper; cook for 1 minute. Add broth and tomatoes, and stir well. Add chard, if desired. Stir in coconut milk, mixing well. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.
3. Add shrimp and cilantro, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, just until shrimp turns pink and opaque. Remove from heat immediately. Allow to cool for a few minutes, then serve with garnish of yogurt or sour cream.
4. The curry can be served on its own, or over your favorite rice.
Want to try more easy fish recipes? Read Cooking Fish the Easy Way and discover how simple cooking fish can be.
Karen K. Will is editor of Heirloom Gardener magazine, and co-author, along with Editor-in-Chief Oscar H. Will III, of Plowing With Pigs and Other Creative, Low-Budget Homesteading Solutions (New Society Publishers, 2013).