Thursday, May 31, 2012

Spicy (really spicy) Shrimp Stir Fry with goose berries (served over Quinoa)

At lunch while heating food in the kitchen I got into a conversation with one of my colleagues, about what else but food. She had purchased a bag of red chili powder from the Indian store thinking it would be similar in taste to the ones she is used to buying in a regular grocery store.

She found it a lot more spicier and less flavorful. The ones she was used to had a smokier taste but a bit more spicy than paprika and less spicy than cayenne. Having purchased only paprika and cayenne but not just red chili powder I could not help much with her why question. I offered to get her some Kashmiri chili powder to taste before investing in a huge bag thinking it might provide the taste she is looking for.

I do not buy chili powder or any Indian spices in the regular grocery stores as they expensive for the quantity and for the amounts I buy I'd go broke pretty soon. The exact reason why she went to an Indian grocery store. I patronize the spice aisles in the grocery stores only when I am in need of spices that are not available in my trusted Indian grocery store.

I learned something new about chilies and that leads nicely to the recipe today which utilized 3 kind of chilies and turned out to be a lot spicier than I expected it to be. So go easy on the heat if you cannot take it but if you are game for some heat go right ahead and give it a try.

Quinoa is one of those grains that is a good substitute for rice when eating with curries. It is still high in carbohydrates but provides variation of grains in the diet.

A sour agent is very essential in any seafood preparation. In this curry the sour taste comes from the gooseberries. I used the American kind, if you can get hold of the small variety Indian kind they'd be a good substitute. If you cannot find gooseberries green mangoes will do the trick as well.

I had some fresh gooseberries and used those.

Shrimp Stir Fry with goose berries
1. 24 Medium sized shrimp
2. 1 onions sliced lengthwise
3. 6-8 garlic cloves chopped
4. 1 1/2 tbsp grated ginger
5. 3/4 tbsp Fried Chili paste (see note)
6. 6-7 slit green chilies (shake out the seeds) - optional
7. handful of gooseberries chopped roughly
8. 1 lemon sliced
9. 1 tsp of red chili powder - optional
10. salt to taste
11. 1 tsp oil (see note)

1. Marinate the shrimp in salt and chili powder and set aside for 20-30 minutes.
2. Heat oil in a saute pan and when hot add the onions and green chilies and saute till the onions start to get translucent, add in the garlic and ginger and saute for a couple of minutes more.
3. Add the chili paste and saute for a few more minutes.
4. Add in the gooseberries and let them cook for a few minutes. (see note)
5. Now add the shrimp and saute on high heat for 4-5 minutes and then turn off the heat. Add more salt if required.

Serve over Qunioa (see link and look under Cooking Quinoa).

1. Any chili paste would do or just plain chili powder. Kashmiri Chili powder for the color but less heat.
2. The fried Thai Chili Pastes has a lot of oil and garlic so I reduced the amount of oil used for sauteing.
3. I wanted the gooseberries to have a bit of crunch so did not cook for them too long. If you want them mushed cook a bit longer.


  1. I think I know why your colleague was surprised by the red chili powder from Indian store. It is because this is just ground dried hot chilies.
    The chili powder I have seen sold in the supermarket is a spice blend with dried Mexican chilies (which have a smoky flavor) and salt and often other ingredients as well like cumin, oregano and garlic. Hence more flavorful by itself than our red chili powder which is designed to be used in dishes with lots of other spices.

  2. Where do you find fresh gooseberries Indo? I only see the frozen ones in Indian stores.
    Delicious looking dish, I am going to try with the mangoes.

    1. Cilantro, I have never seen fresh gooseberries. Perhaps someone in FL might have a tree I am guessing here.

  3. Never tried to combine gooseberries and shrimps together, stir fry looks incredible.

    1. I did not want to add tamarind and water, so gooseberries seemed the best choice.

  4. Spices in grocery stores other than being expensive also lack the punch that comes from freshly made spice powders.So I use nothing but the ones I get from India- made from scratch :-)

    Using gooseberries as a substitute for tartness in a dish is quite an innovative concept for me. Lot to learn!

    1. Jagruti, absolutely.

      Give it a try, it has a much subtler tartness than tamarind or lemon.


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