Happy Mother’s Day: Shrimp Malai Curry and Brian Takes Over the Blog

I’m Brian, husband of Alma@ Take back the Kitchen, giving Alma a day off from the blogging, and sharing some thoughts, on Mother’s Day.

When I met Alma in 1996, I was leading the typical New York City bachelor’s life, and getting 100% of my meals on the outside. I cooked nothing; didn’t even make my own coffee. My fridge was habitually empty, save for a couple of containers of condiments, meant only to be applied to leftover take-out, and a few beers to wash down the Chinese, Pizza, or burgers my rommate and I would order the moment we walked in the door from work. The one and only time I did cook, it was dinner for Alma on our fourth date, hoping that the pasta dish my sister told me I couldn’t possibly screw up would either impress her enough, or require enough of the accompanying wine to be tolerable, that she’d stay for breakfast (failure on both counts).

I always imagined I would get married, have a family, and I guess if I had thought it through I would have considered that someone (not me, see above) would do the cooking. But as I considered what my future wife might bring to the figurative table, never once did I worry about whether or not she would be capable, let alone accomplished, in the kitchen. It was the furthest thing from my mind as I assembled the list of criteria (smart, funny, interesting, compatible values, hot) by which I casually evaluated potential mates.

Then I married Alma, who was all of those things, AND loved to cook for me. I cannot believe the cooking thing didn’t make my original list. The dirty little secret of the modern, urban, restaurant-loving, career-woman-marrying man? It still feels good when someone is invested in caring for us, and cooking is one of the greatest expressions of that investment. Yeah, its reminiscent of the mothering we received as kids, so feel free to analyze, but it still feels good. When I come home late after a business trip filled with airport food and power bars, expecting to piece something together before turning in, there’s nothing more uplifting than finding something waiting for me on the stove or in the fridge. No matter what that is (it doesn’t have to be complex; it really is the thought that counts), I know more care went into my feeding than I ever would have given myself, and I appreciate that. I don’t expect it, but it puts a smile on my face.

So, if you’re doing this for your partner, even occasionally, I’ll bet it means more than you know. And if you read Take Back the Kitchen to get on the path to being able to assemble meals for your family, know that the investment is worth the effort.

Happy Mother’s day!

Here’s an easy Indian dish (one of my favorite types of food) Alma learned in a cooking class from Sondra Sen.

Shrimp Malai Curry (you can make it with chicken also)

1-2 pounds fresh large shrimp, shelled and deveined (less shrimp if you like it more saucy)
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 garlic cloves, chopped fine
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup onions, finely chopped (2-3 medium onions)
1-inch piece of ginger root, peeled and grated
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper (optional)
2 teaspoons mild paprika
6 cardamom pods, crushed (or 1/2 teaspoon crushed cardamom)
3/4 cup unsweetened coconut, finely shredded or blended (or sweetened coconut)
1/2 cup sour cream (or whole fat plain yoghurt)
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup water

1) Wash shrimp under cold water, pat dry with paper towel
2) Sprinkle turmeric and garlic over shrimp and allow to stand half hour or more.
3) In a heavy 6-quart saucepan, heat butter and brown the onions on med-hihh heat 5-6 minutes or until golden.
4) Add ginger, red pepper and paprika, and stir-fry 1 minute.
5) Add shrimp and cook 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly until the shrimp are evenly coated with the spices.
6) Add cardamom seeds, coconut, sour cream and salt. Stir until blended.
7) Remove the shrimp.
8) Add water, cover and cook over medium heat for 15 minutes until the sauce thickens. return shrimp to the pot and cook 4-5 minutes until tender.
9) Pour shrimp malai curry into a deep serving bowl and garnish with additional coconut or chopped coriander leaves.

Serves 6.

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2 Responses

  1. I have to agree with Brian. I am enjoying having a healthy lunch and dinner prepared (or at least ready) for me daily. I feel very cared for and I’m much appreciative! I get to “live the blog” all of the month of May at Alma’s & Brian’s, then will strike out on my own in June. Will be taking ‘baby steps’ to become a cook in my own right. I’m very inspired, although still intimidated by that shrimp recipe…!

  2. Hi Brian! Thanks for sharing your recipe! I was a bit hesitant to add some ground red pepper since there's unsweetened coconut but in the end, all the ingredients left a wonderful impression on my palate! You and Alma are such a wonderful couple!

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