Monday, May 12, 2008

Serving crazy with curry - Cajun Shrimp Biryani

Meena of Hooked on Heat, has created a wonderful blog event - Cook's book club where you read a book and come up with the recipe. Thanks Meena, for this unique blog event. The books that she had selected are readily available in the local library. So this month, we are reading "Serving crazy with curry" by Amulya Malladi. It's not really a big book. So in spite of busy schedules, it can be read pretty quickly.

The protagonist of the book is Devi, one of the two daughters of the Venturi family. Dad, Avinash is an ex- army man from India, who is now settled in USA. He is a successful entrepreneur who is now semi-retired. Mother, Saroj is a homemaker. Her both daughter find her extremely judgemental & interfering. The elder daughter Shobha enjoys a coveted job in a reputable firm and her husband, Girish is a professor. Saroj's mother - Vasu is a respected doctor from Indian military (now retired) and shares a wonderful relationship with her granddaughters. She is a very strong lady who has lived life on her own terms even though she belongs to the previous generation. Devi goes through some traumatic experiences and decides to completely shut herself off from her family. She stops talking altogether. but she discovers a new medium to express her feelings - cooking! She is not a cook or never was interested in cooking. but she now emotes through cooking. If she is happy she makes wonderful desserts, if she is angry she makes hot, spicy and pungent food! This is something I enjoyed more than the actual storyline. I felt the story was too predictable. I knew where it was going from the beginning.

Though I didn't like the story, this book has received some rave reviews here , here & here. So give it a shot.

Devi makes some wonderful culinary delights like semolina-hazelnut ladoos, Cajun Shrimp Biryani & many more. I was especially impressed by her Cajun Shrimp Biryani. I tweaked the recipe to suit our family needs/moods.

Devi's Cajun Shrimp Biryani
Inspired by Devi of "Serving Crazy with Curry" by Amulya Malladi
1 cup basmati rice, rinsed & drained
salt to taste
2 cups water

1 tbsp olive oil
1 bay leaf
2 cloves
2-3 black peppercorn
2 cardamoms
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 small onion sliced
1 small tomato, chopped

1 cup prawns/shrimp
1/2 tsp garlic pulp
1/4 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp black pepper, crushed
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/4 tsp onion powder
A dash of Worcestershire sauce
salt to taste

1 tbsp chopped cilantro/coriander leaves
lemon wedges

1. Heat oil in a pressure cooker. Add khada masala & turmeric powder.
2. Stir in onions. Saute till golden brown. Add tomato & stir fry for 2 minutes.
3. Add drained basmati rice. Saute for 2 minutes.
4. Add water & salt to taste. Pressure cook for 2 whistles. Set aside. Let it cool down.
5. Heat oil in another pan. Saute marinated prawns till they are cooked.
6. Mix in cooked prawns with rice, without breaking the rice.
7. Reheat the cajun biryani for 10 minutes by giving indirect heat i.e. keeping a tawa on the gas and putting vessel on the tawa. Let the gas be lowest.

1. Devi didn't give the exact measurements. Her cookbook is more of her emotional journal (or outburst!). The above measurements are mine and are not exactly similar to Devi's recipe.

This post is my contribution to Cook's Book Club - Serving Crazy with curry at Meena's Hooked on heat.


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