Shrimp and green mango curry (Chemmeen and manga curry)

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Green(Raw) Mangoes are a delight! As kids I remember me and my sisters begging my mom to save us a few pieces while she was slicing the green mangoes to use in fish/shrimp curry or to make a green mango chutney. We would relish the tart mango slices dusted with salt on top!.  Thinking about it makes my mouth water! 🙂  The seasonal  nature of this ‘treat’ is what would make it even more irresistible since the green mangoes would be available only in the spring months before they started getting fully ripe in the summer.

In Kerala, green mangoes are used in many dishes – both seafood and vegetable, and one of my absolute favorites is shrimp(called as chemmeen in malayalam) curry using green mangoes. This curry is similar to the Kerala style Fish curry that I have posted before except here green mangoes are used for providing the tartness as opposed to ‘Kodampuli’ that is otherwise used.  The combination of shrimp,coconut milk and green mangoes is what I call a perfect amalgam of flavors.! And if you cook this in an earthern(clay) pot as is done traditionally, then it is the ultimate curry ever! Give me this curry and rice any day 🙂 One has to taste this curry to really appreciate what I am raving about here! (I know ..I know …that applies to all the recipes I post I guess but in this case since green mangoes is not widely used in other cuisines, folks might find it hard to imagine what the taste would be like unless they actually taste it! )

So here’s my recipe. (I sometimes add a piece of kodampuli (check my glossary page to read more about this ingredient) to supplement the tartness of the mango if the mango is not that sour.)

Update/Notes- Since I posted this recipe, some of you have asked me how to get green mangoes and what can be used as a substitute if they are not available? Well ,you could start by looking in Indian/asian grocers around this time between March-June early spring. These are seasonal! And if you are not lucky enough to get green mangoes, I would suggest using tart green apples (the apples should not be too sweet). Or you could use tomatoes. Or of course, the other substitute for this curry is ‘kodampuli’, a special kind of tamarind I mention above.

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Shrimp and green mango curry (Chemmeen and manga curry)
Author: 
Recipe type: Main course
Cuisine: Kerala
 
Shrimp (prawns) cooked with green mangoes in coconut milk spiced with ginger, green chillies and turmeric to get a tangy and flavorful curry!
Ingredients
  • 1 lb uncooked shrimp (about 20-22 medium size),
  • deshelled and deveined
  • ¾ cup green mango pieces,
  • chopped into ½ inch cubes(about
  • 1 small mango)
  • a small piece of kodampuli (optional)
  • ¼ tsp fresh ginger, chopped finely
  • 3 green chillies,slit length-wise
  • 1½ tsp red chilli (cayenne)powder (use less for mild)
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1¼ tsp salt
  • 3 cups fresh coconut milk or canned(see notes below for
  • extracting fresh coconut milk)
For final garnish:
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped red onions or shallots
  • 1 tbsp liquefied coconut oil(or 1 tsp solid)
  • 1 sprig of curry leaves, with stem
For getting fresh coconut milk:
  • 2 cups of fresh grated coconut or (frozen grated coconut that has been thawed)
  • 2 cups plus 1 cup of warm water
Instructions
  1. Take an earthen/clay pot or a regular medium size cooking pot and add the cleaned pieces of shrimp in it. Keep aside.
  2. Peel the green mango and slice it into 1 inch cubes discarding the seed in the middle. Measure about ¾ th cup of mango pieces and add to the pot with the shrimp.
  3. Next add all the other ingredients including the coconut milk and mix slightly with a wooden spoon so that the spices blend well with the coconut milk.
  4. Keep the pot on the stove and heat covered on low to medium flame for about 20 minutes stirring every 5 minutes or so to prevent the shrimp from sticking to the pot.
  5. Take the lid off and check for consistency of the curry - it should be like a soup but not too watery and not too thick. If too thick, add a liitle bit of water and remove from flame. (If the curry looks too watery, let it cook for another 5 minutes or so uncovered on low heat until you get the desired consistency.)
  6. For the final tempering, heat the coconut oil in a tadka pan(small pan) for about 30 seconds. Then add the chopped onions and saute till golden brown(about 2 minutes). Add the curry leaves with its stem. Pour all the coconut oil and the onion and curry leaves mixture into the shrimp pot. Enjoy the shrimp curry with cooked parboiled rice and pappadams.!
For making fresh coconut milk:
  1. Take the 2 cups of fresh grated coconut (or thawed frozen grated coconut) and add to a blender along with 2 cups of warm water. Blend for about 1-2 minutes. Then strain using a large strainer directly into the pot with the fish. Next take the coconut from the strainer and again add to the blender with another 1 cup of warm water. Blend it again for about 1 minute and strain this milk into the pot so you will have approximately 3 cups of coconut milk.
Notes
For this curry, you really need tart green mangoes. If the mangoes are even slightly sweet then the curry will not taste as good. So first try a slice of the mango to check for tartness before using! If the green mango is not really tart, you can add a small piece of kodampuli (Kokum) to get additional tartness.
Sometimes, you may see some separation of the coconut milk on boiling (hence cooking on low to moderate heat is recommended). But if you do see separation, just lower the flame and let the curry simmer on low until it becomes unified again. If it doesn't still come together, then you may need to add a little bit more coconut milk towards the end.

 

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