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If you ever go on a trip to India, make sure to set aside some time to explore the southern region. They are known for their coastal flavors with an emphasis on seafood, vegetables, and coconut. I still remember the first time I ate south Indian food. My aunt (who just so happened to be my neighbor) called me over for lunch and served some stir-fried vegetables with freshly grated coconut, dal, and some rice. This was a completely new flavor profile for me because my family is from central India, where the use of onion- and garlic-based stirs fries is more common. This recipe is definitely an homage to that meal. This technique of sautéing vegetables with coconut is called “poriyal”, and traditionally served with a lentil-based curry and rice. Here, I am making it a complete meal by adding juicy shrimp. The four times I have tested it, there have been no leftovers!
Start by gently sautéing the shrimp in coconut oil. You’re looking for a slightly golden and opaque color. This will ensure that the shrimp will stay juicy and plump. Next, temper mustard seeds, lentils, chiles, and curry leaves. Add the beans and water, cover and steam for about 3 minutes, thus omitting the extra step of blanching first. Tamarind adds a nice earthy tang and compliments the freshly grated coconut perfectly in this dish. I finished this off with turmeric which adds a golden pop of color. This recipe is perfect for a crowd, as well as an easy gluten-free weeknight meal. I think this is a great way to introduce some Indian flavors to someone who is not very into heavily spiced food.
Turn up your summer with this Sautéed Green Beans and Shrimp with Fresh Coconut and Tamarind, its a winner for sure!
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 8 minutes
Yield: Serves or Makes 2-3
Season shrimp to taste with salt. In a medium skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of coconut oil over medium-high heat. Working in two batches, sear shrimp until opaque, about 1 minute per side. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with remaining shrimp.
Scrape and clean out any burnt bits from the pan and add remaining 1 tablespoon of coconut oil, asafoetida, urad dal, mustard seeds, curry leaves, and red chiles, and let them crackle for about 10 seconds. Add green beans and ⅓ cup of water. Stir the beans, cover and cook for 4 minutes.
Remove lid, sprinkle freshly grated coconut, turmeric, tamarind, and shrimp. Mix to incorporate, then season to taste with salt. Transfer to a platter and serve immediately.