Garlic-Scallion Stuffed Shrimp in a Creamy Tomato Curry

I love shrimp. I particularly love shrimp when they are cooked the Indian way. I’m partial to North Indian shrimp curry because it’s fiery and bold, and well, it is literally everything but boring. A friend of mine asked me to make traditional North Indian shrimp curry for her, but I was afraid she would run out of the house after the first bite because I assumed it would be too peppery for her taste. North Indian food is generally pretty spicy, and I can tolerate it because I’ve grown up eating this way, but I still wanted to make a shrimp curry that would introduce anyone to Indian cuisine, gingerly.

For that reason, I chose canned crushed tomatoes to create the base of this dish, and instead of adding an entire carton of heavy cream, I vigorously whisked some low-fat yogurt to bring in the creaminess I was looking for. I used smaller size shrimp because it’s what we had and unfortunately stuffing it with the garlic-scallion mixture was indeed mind-numbing. I’m a very impatient person, and if you too, I suggest using the colossal size shrimp if you can find them, because stuffing will be a breeze. I was going to call this South Indian Shrimp Curry, but it isn’t 100% authentic South Indian food, although it does have some South Indian spices like curry leaves and black mustard seeds. If you can’t find curry leaves don’t fret, it will still be very good. You do have to like garlic to like this curry, but as always, I encourage you to modify any recipe to impress your taste buds.


For the shrimp:

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 pound colossal shrimp, or 35-40 small shrimp (only if you are patient), peeled, deveined
1 teaspoon ground turmeric powder
1 teaspoon ground coriander powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cilantro
3 scallions, roughly chopped into 3 inch pieces, roots discarded
4 cloves garlic, peeled
Nonstick cooking spray

For the creamy tomato curry:

2 tablespoons canola oil
2 teaspoons whole cumin seeds
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
3 small curry leaves
1- 28 ounce can crushed red tomatoes, no salt added (no biggie if you can't find no salt added)
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon smoked paprika, or regular paprika
1 whole lemon, or 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 ½ teaspoon red chili powder (preferably Indian it has a different flavor), or cayenne pepper
1/4 cup low-fat yogurt
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped for garnish

D i r e c t i o n s

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Take a small paring knife and run it into the deveined side of the shrimp to create a larger slit. Do not run your knife so far down that you separate the shrimp into two separate halves, the point is to create a slit that is large enough to hold the garlic-scallion mixture.

In a bowl, drizzle the olive oil over the shrimp and toss with the turmeric, coriander, and salt. Set aside while you make the garlic-scallion mixture.

Grind the cilantro, scallion, and garlic in a food processor until it becomes a coarse paste. Tuck this mixture into the opening of each shrimp, stuffing it as far down as you can without tearing, then use your fingers to seal the slit. Avoid overstuffing the shrimp, the mixture should not peek out too much.

Cover a cookie sheet with tin foil, spray with canola flavored cooking spray, and arrange the shrimp evenly. Set this aside and start making the curry.

Heat the oil in a medium nonstick pan over medium-low heat. Meanwhile, open up the canned tomatoes and have them ready to go.

Add the cumin, mustard seeds, curry leaves and fry 30 seconds, be careful as the mustard seeds will pop. Then add the canned tomatoes, stir, and bring this up to a low boil. Once it begins to boil, cover loosely with a lid, and leave a small crack open to allow steam to escape. Cook for 15-20 minutes, stir periodically.

Now back to the shrimp while you are waiting. Roast the shrimp for 12 minutes then switch the oven knob to “broil” and cook for an additional 3 minutes. (15 minutes total)

Whisk the yogurt and heavy cream as vigorously as possible to ensure there are no lumps. Stir in the yogurt mixture, salt, sugar, and chili powder to the tomato sauce. Taste and adjust seasoning to your taste if necessary.

Take out the curry leaves and blend the sauce in a food processor to pulverize the tomato chunks; if you don’t care for a smooth sauce—skip this step.

Carefully transfer each piece of shrimp to the sauce (to avoid letting the stuffing fall out), drizzle with lots of fresh lemon juice, and sprinkle over some fresh cilantro. This is best served with brown rice.

After roasting the shrimp

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