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Where EAST meets the Northwest

 

SAVORY SHRIMP. Chili Jumbo Shrimp, an Indo-Chinese dish made with birdís-eye chilies, soy sauce, ginger, and garlic, can be cooked in a matter of minutes. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)

From The Asian Reporter, V26, #3 (February 1, 2016), page 19.

For the Lunar New Year, find affinity in Indian, Chinese foods

By Meera Sodha

The Associated Press

When it comes to food, India and China have more in common than you might think. Both harbor a deep love of ear-tingling chilies, vast quantities of garlic, and seafood.

Thatís probably why Chinese food has found its way into the hearts of Indians. All across India, from Goa to Pondicherry, youíll find entire sections of Indian restaurant menus dedicated to Chinese dishes, many of which have achieved cult status, including "manchow soup," "hakka noodles," and "Manchurian chicken."

But these dishes also have been endlessly adapted so they now are distorted versions of the originals and more Indian than Chinese. Still, they are loved fiercely and cooked regularly in Indian kitchens. Among the most special of dishes and perfect for celebrating the Lunar New Year is this signature Indo-Chinese dish, Chili Jumbo Shrimp, which is made using birdís eye chilies, soy sauce, ginger, and garlic.

The shrimp are juicy, bright, and enlivening, the heat of the chilies working perfectly against the natural sweetness of the seafood. I love to serve these after a soup or dumpling course alongside egg noodles or rice fried quickly in a little sesame oil and a side of salted and steamed greens, such as broccoli or bok choy.

Whatever you choose to serve them with, they will sit harmoniously alongside other Chinese dishes. Best of all, they can be cooked in a matter of minutes, leaving you more time to celebrate with family and friends.

Editorís note: Meera Sodha is an Indian foods expert and author of Made in India: Recipes from an Indian Family Kitchen.

* * *

Chili Jumbo Shrimp

Not a fan of heat? Start with one chili,

tasting and adding as you like.

Start to finish: 20 minutes

Servings: 4

2 teaspoons cumin seeds

2 tablespoons canola oil

5 cloves garlic, crushed

2 to 3 red birdís eye, serrano, or habanero chilies, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon sugar

2/3 teaspoon kosher salt

2 tablespoons tomato purťe

2 tablespoons dark or regular soy sauce

1 1/2-inch chunk fresh ginger, cut into matchsticks

8 scallions, white and green parts, finely chopped

1 1/2 pounds raw jumbo shrimp, shells removed

In a mortar and pestle or with a spice grinder, roughly grind the cumin seeds to a coarse powder.

In a large skillet over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the cumin, garlic, chilies, pepper, sugar, and salt. Cook, stirring, for two minutes, then add the tomato purťe, soy sauce, and all but a small amount of the ginger and scallions. Cook for another two minutes. Increase the heat to high and add the shrimp. Cook, stirring, for three minutes, or until the shrimp turns from grey to pink. Remove from the heat. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with the remaining ginger and scallions.

Nutrition information per serving: 230 calories (80 calories from fat, 35 percent of total calories); 9 g fat (1 g saturated, 0 g trans fats); 215 mg cholesterol; 1,760 mg sodium; 11 g carbohydrate; 2 g fiber; 3 g sugar; 26 g protein.

* * *

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