Sembharachi Kodi or Shrimp in Coconut Curry
In Goa, a tiny, palm-fringed state on the western coast of India, seafood is central to the cuisine. Beloved regional specialty sembharachi kodi, or shrimp in a coconut curry, is prepared a number of ways, but always with the freshest local shellfish simmered in a rich, chile-spiked coconut sauce.
1 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails on 1 cup grated fresh or frozen coconut 1 tsp. cumin seeds 3 chiles de árbol, stemmed 2 plum tomatoes, chopped 1/4 cup canola oil 5 whole cloves 4 pods green cardamom 2 Indian or regular bay leaves 1 stick cinnamon, halved 1 medium yellow onion, chopped 1 tbsp. ground coriander 1 tsp. ground turmeric 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper 2 cloves garlic, mashed into a paste 1 (1") piece ginger, peeled and mashed into a paste 1 (14-oz.) can coconut milk 1/2 cup chopped cilantro 2 tsp. sugar 2 small green Thai chiles or 1 serrano, thinly sliced Kosher salt, to taste
Remove and discard tails from 6 shrimp; place in a food processor. Add coconut, cumin seeds, chiles de árbol, tomatoes, and 2 tbsp. water; purée into a paste.
Heat oil in a 12" skillet over medium-high. Cook cloves, cardamom, bay leaves, and cinnamon until fragrant, 1–2 minutes. Add onion; cook until golden, 6–8 minutes. Add coriander, turmeric, pepper, garlic, and ginger; cook until fragrant, 1–2 minutes. Stir in reserved paste; cook until oil separates, 8–10 minutes.
Stir in coconut milk; boil. Reduce heat to medium; add remaining shrimp, half the cilantro, the sugar, and green chiles. Cook until shrimp are pink and sauce is slightly thickened, 6–8 minutes; garnish with remaining cilantro.