Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Friday, November 6, 2015

Indian Stir-Fry Shrimp with Tomato Kasundi

Kasundi is one of India’s signature relishes (or chutneys), typically made with black mustard seeds, turmeric, cumin, ginger, green chiles, and malt vinegar. This type of kasundi is very similar to a rich, thick mustard and is commonly used as a dip or spread. Tomato kasundi is popular in eastern India, and it includes most of the same ingredients with the addition of tomatoes. As all the ingredients cook down, the kasundi deepens in both color and flavor, and the result is a wonderfully flavorful, slightly spicy, slightly pungent chunky tomato sauce.

Not all kasundi dishes are hot—that’s up to the cook. And this cook likes heat. For this recipe, I used both a Thai chile and a serrano, but the spiciness was tempered by the all the sweet, tangy, savory flavors of the other ingredients.

Here, I decided to use the kasundi as a sauce for a simple shrimp stir-fry served over rice. The thick texture and warm, aromatic flavors really brought this dish to life. I think you’d like it.

Note: Kasundi is often made in large batches for canning. This recipe obviously makes a very small amount for two (maybe three) servings, but it’s easily doubled or tripled. However, the amount of vinegar may not need to be doubled or tripled—add a little extra, then give it a taste test before adding more.

Serves 2


For the Kasundi
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp chile powder
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds (black or yellow)
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 Thai chile, finely chopped
  • 1 hot green chile (such as serrano), finely chopped
  • 2 tsp finely chopped ginger
  • 4 tbsp malt vinegar, divided
  • 4 roma tomatoes (about 3/4 lb total), peeled and chopped  
  • 3 tsp brown sugar
  • sea salt
Kasundi Ingredients
Prepared Ingredients
For the Stir-Fry
  • 2 tbsp peanut oil, divided
  • 1/2 lb small-medium shrimp (36-40 count), shelled and deveined
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup small-diced baby (or Indian) eggplant
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced mild green chile
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced onion
  • 1 cup cooked white rice, for serving
  • chopped cilantro, for garnish
Peeled, Deveined Shrimp
Stir-Fry Vegetables 
Prepared Vegetables

For the Kasundi
  1. Heat a small saucepan over medium-low heat and warm the olive oil. Add the cumin, turmeric, chili powder, and mustard seeds and cook, stirring often, until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic, both chiles, ginger, and 2 tablespoons vinegar. Cook until the vinegar has evaporated and the pan is dry, 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add the tomatoes, brown sugar, and remaining 2 tablespoons of vinegar and season with salt. Cook, stirring often, until thickened 20-25 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside. (If not using right away, transfer to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate a few hours or overnight.)
Spices in Oil
Garlic Mixture Added
Tomato Mixture Added
Thickened Mixture 
Tomato Kasundi
For the Stir-Fry
  1. Heat a wok over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon of peanut oil, swirling to coat. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper and stir-fry until just cooked through, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
  2. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the wok. Add the eggplant and stir-fry until lightly browned, 2 minutes.
  3. Add the chile and onion and stir-fry until the vegetables are tender, 3 minutes.
  4. Return the shrimp to the wok and stir in the kasundi. Simmer 1 minute, stirring well to combine.
Shrimp Beginning to Cook
Cooked Shrimp
Eggplant Beginning to Cook
Stir-Fried Eggplant 
Chile and Onion Added
Shrimp Returned 
Kasundi Added
To serve, divide the rice between 2 shallow bowls. Divide the shrimp and kasundi mixture on top and garnish with chopped cilantro.

Indian Stir-Fry Shrimp with Tomato Kasundi

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