Demystifying Curry: Goan Shrimp

Madhur Jaffrey

Lesson time 11:23 min

This lesson dispels myths around what curry means. Madhur demonstrates a delicious shrimp dish and shares three more dishes that would generally be classified as curry: a Keralan fish dish, a mixed-vegetable kurma, and a classic butter chicken.

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Topics include: Goan Shrimp · Madhur’s “Curry” Dishes


[MUSIC PLAYING] MADHUR JAFFREY: I want to talk to you about curry. What do you mean when you say curry? [MUSIC PLAYING] It's a very confusing word, this word curry, because it means different things to different people. I don't think we had such a word at all until the British came to India, and I think this word came about around the 16th, 17th centuries when the British began to use this one word for Indian food. And that's the way it has gone into England-- as a word that symbolizes just Indian food. [MUSIC PLAYING] But we distinguish our dishes by the spices in them. We say, oh, this is made with cumin and asafetida. This is made with black pepper and chili pepper. This is made with green chilies and red chillies and cumin seeds. And I've got to the point, I have to say, that I do say curry. I'm making Curry. But how can you take such a big country with so many states within it, with such different cuisines within it, where every town has specialties and special dishes, how can you take all that food from around India-- India, Pakistan, Bangladesh-- and call it all curry? Between you and me, I always like to distinguish the different foods by their special names that we use in India. [MUSIC PLAYING] We're going to make what you would call a shrimp curry and I would call a Goan shrimp dish. Let me start and then I'll tell you more about it as we go along. We're going to put two tablespoons of oil, Turn the heat to medium here. I'm going to put in some shallots and I'm just going to sauteé them. Okay, now, it's so simple. All you do is first sauteé the shallots. So when it's slightly soft and lightly browned, I'm going to take it off the heat. Why am I using shallots? Aren't they very European? No, they're not, because the Indian onion is pink and I find that shallots are closest to the Indian onion. Okay, now I'm going to take this off the heat. Now, I'm only putting in a 1/4 teaspoon of chili powder but I want that lovely red color that is in Goan curries, and it's all from chili powder because they use a mound of it. So I'm just using a 1/4 teaspoon here and I'm taking it off heat because I don't want it to burn. But in order to get that color and that red look, I'm using paprika. So it's a good substitute. You can use that. And then I have lots of black pepper, which I'm going to put in this already ground, and I'm going to put some turmeric. But now, do I want just a 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper or do I want more? This is entirely up to you. I'm going to add a bit more to the mix. This is up to you. You can do what you want. This is the wonderful thing with Indian spices. I mix it in while it's off heat. But here's the funny thing about spices. When we are young we can't really eat spices because they burn the mouth. But you see the adults eating spices and you say I wish I could eat like them. I want to eat like them. I want to be like them. And they'r...

About the Instructor

With more than 30 award-winning cookbooks and a James Beard Foundation Cookbook Hall of Fame Award, Madhur Jaffrey may be the greatest living authority on Indian cuisine. Now she shares those vast and storied traditions with you. Learn 30 authentic recipes: vegetables, breads, South Asian meats, street foods, and more. Blend and layer spices and bring it all together—from the perfect bite to full menus of vibrant flavor.

Featured MasterClass Instructor

Madhur Jaffrey

7x James Beard Award winner Madhur Jaffrey teaches you 30 authentic recipes and shares India’s vast culinary traditions and techniques.

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