Sunday, June 29, 2014

Sungata Randayi (Mangalorean Shrimp Curry)

"Sungat" means shrimp and "Randayi" means curry in Konkani language. Mangalorean Konkanis ( Gowda Saraswat Brahmins)have a unique way of currying shrimp. The sauce/ gravy/ base is simple without any onion or garlic in it. It is a coconut- based gravy with most of the flavor coming from hing( asofoetida) and coconut oil. No,there is no frying involved and therefore is a very low calorie and healthy dish, unless you are allergic to shrimp ;)!

I have very fond memories of Sungata Randayi. I get nostalgic just thinking about it. One of my earliest childhood memories is my Amma ( mom) picking me up from school in the afternoon and coming home to this amazing appetizing aroma of Sungata Randayi. I must have been five or six years of age at the time! Every time I make shrimp curry I try to recreate that taste and aroma. Through trial and error I have realized that you don't achieve the same flavor and aroma with the frozen shrimp as opposed to fresh shrimp. Also, using shrimp with head-on gives more flavor to the dish as opposed the shrimp without the head.Traditionally, back home a vegetable called magge( dosekai) is used with the shrimp. Here in the US, even though you get dosekai occasionally in the Indian store, it is rare. Hence thanks to my cousin Kavita, I learnt that winter melon ( known as Ash gourd in English, kuvale in konkani, kumbala kayi in Kannada) proves to be a good and successful substitute!

Here is the recipe for the quick and easy finger-licking shrimp curry.

Servings: 4-6


Shrimp with head on : 1 lb medium or large sized ( around 25-30
Winter melon : 1 lb, cut into medium sized cubes.
Hing/Asofoetida: 1/8 tsp if using powder, less than pea-sized if using solid version dissolved in water.
Salt : 1/2 tsp+ 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder: 1/4 tsp
Coconut oil: 1 tbsp

For the sauce( gravy/masala):
Freshly grated coconut: 1 cup
Dry Red chillies: 6-8 ( you can adjust based on your level of spice and he spice level of the chillies used).
Tamarind: marble sized.
Turmeric powder: 1/4 tsp


Peel, devein and clean the shrimp. Cut the head. Don't trash it. Keep it with the shrimp. Once cleaned marinate it with 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp haldi/turmeric powder and keep aside for at least 30 mins.

Boil 1/4 cup water in a saucepan with 1/8 tsp salt and add the cut and cleaned winter melon. Cook it on medium flame until just tender. yo. Generally takes around 10-12 minutes. Keep it aside.Make sure that you don't overcook it as it will turn into mush!

The sauce:
Add all the ingredients listed under "for the sauce" in a blender with 1/4 cup water. Blend it to a fine paste. Keep it aside.

Putting it all together:
Pour the ground masala ( sauce ) in a pot. On medium heat bring it to a gentle boil. Add the marinated shrimp , the cooked winter melon and the asofoetida( either the powder or the diluted form). Cook on medium flame until the shrimp turns pink. Turn off the flame. Add 1 tbsp raw coconut oil on top. Cover and keep until ready to serve.

Serve hot with white rice/brown rice/appam/ idiappam/bread.


Cooking made easy:

You can save a lot of time while cooking if you make sure you have all the ingredients in front of you before you start cooking.

You can cook smartly and efficiently by paying attention to the various processes and planning the steps. For example, in the above dish, you can first marinate the shrimp and keep it aside. Next cut the winter melon and let it cook. When both these are being done, you can grind ( prepare)the sauce and also bring it to a gentle boil!One can save a lot of time while cooking if one is smart about it. Cooking does not have to be tedious!

Tip for healthy living:

While a small percentage of the general population may be allergic to shrimp, there are quite a few health benefits of consuming shrimp.Shrimp is a great source of dietary protein while also being low in calories! It also contains all the essential amino acids. It is also rich in zinc and selenium, both minerals essential for optimal cell function and good immune system. Shrimp is also rich in vitamins A and B-12. But remember, everything in moderation! Shrimp is also rich in sodium and cholesterol which could negatively impact our health!


Food for thought:

Calmness is the cradle of power. Josiah Gilbert Holland