Chemmeen Manga Curry – Shrimp Curry With Raw Mangoes

Coconut Based Shrimp Curry With Raw Mangoes
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This is a popular Kerala  curry  served with matta  rice – Chemmeen Manga Curry – or Shrimp Curry with Raw Mangoes.  The mangoes infuse  the  curry with a  unique  tangy flavor  while  the  ever-present coconut ties the flavors  together.  Hot coconut oil tempered curry leaves and spices add the finishing touches  to  this  curry.  The  dish is made with few ingredients and the simplicity belies the clean fresh flavors.

Coconut Based Shrimp Curry With Raw Mangoes
We grew up eating a lot of seafood,  the  delicious  kind. I am not sure if I ever had an “yuck fish ” moment when mom was cooking. It was more of a fight between sis  and  I to see who got the crispiest  fried piece or the coveted slice in the curry.  Rice,  a  seafood  curry  and  may be  a  side  dish of  vegetables  is  all  that a  Malayali needs  to  make a  meal  complete. We  don’t  complain  about  the  lack of  appetizer , or the  dessert.  A  glass of  toddy, beer  or  jeera  water  would have been  nice , but   we  will make  do  with a glass of  water.

Just  to be  clear  I prefer  the  jeera  water.  Coming  back tot he   fish,  in those days we used to get a good variety of fresh fish. Everything was seasonal and tasted its beast. None of the supermarket variety can quite match the taste of the fresh catch. (Hint  Hint DH – time to dust off the fishing rod).

Most of the fish that we had as kids were the small kind. The coastal communities knew that the small ones had more flavor and nutrients compared to the large catch. It is a plus that the inland communities would pay more for the large ones,  sell the large fish for more money and eat the smaller ones for more nutrition.

As kids we thought of shrimp as a treat – easy to east , delicious and no bones to worry about. Even now I usually have a pack of frozen shrimp in the freezer – easy to cook, easy to eat and thankfully no one here have shellfish allergy.

Shrimp is perfect to make curries , fries , cutlets and many other things. Make shrimp curry and serve with rice for an easy weeknight dinner.  There are a  few  other  shrimp curries  in this  blog  as  well.  South Indian seafood curries are usually flavored with hot chilies and a tangy ingredient like tamarind, kokum or tomato.

During mango season in Kerala fresh raw mangoes are used to add tartness to the curry. The raw mangoes add an extra layer of flavor that goes extremely well with the coconut and chilies. The cooked mango pulp adds to the body of the curry as well.

Coconut Based Shrimp Curry With Raw Mangoes

Here is  everything  you need  to make  this  recipe. Whole  mustard  seeds  and  fenugreek seeds  can be  found  in  Indian/ Asian  stores  and  sometimes  in natural/health food  stores.   You  can  make  this  curry  without  curry leaves,  fenugreek or  mustard  as  well.  The  curry  will  turn out   delicious, but  if you are looking  for  authentic  flavors try to  get all the  ingredients.

This combination of flavors is not unique to Kerala. I have come across Thai and Jamaican versions of similar recipe (Of course they all copied us ). But my favorite still is the Kerala style Chemmeen Manga Curry or Shrimp Curry with Raw Mangoes .

There are a wide variety of mangoes available in India. Some varieties  were used only for cooking  while some  are  used  exclusively to make pickles and some were only eaten after  ripening. Some of these were a little tricky – the raw mango will taste mild  after   cooking  it  will be  the  tartest   ever !

The raw mangoes I get here, (so far there has been just one variety) are more predictable. They are  a  little  sour  raw  and  stays the  same  after  cooking.  It is still a good idea to start cooking with a little and adjust to taste later. Personally I don’t think that a chemmeen manga curry that is tart is a bad thing , but  others   seem  to  disagree.

Chemmeen in Malayalam refers to prawns or shrimp . Don’t ask me whether to use shrimp or prawns. Use either. The taste buds, in this case, does not care about the technical definitions. Even the tiny paddy shrimp are great in this curry – but these are a royal pain to clean, and I for one haven’t come across this variety in a long time.

If you get fresh shrimp use it , other wise use frozen ones. Use raw shrimp though, the cooked ones does not impart quite the same flavors. Whether to leave the tail on or not is totally up to you.

There are 2 ways coconut can be used in this recipe – either finely ground or as coconut milk. For a thicker curry use finely ground coconut. For a thinner smoother version use coconut milk. For the freshest tasting version use fresh coconut milk , but then it will no longer be a curry in a hurry!

Here are the steps to making the Shrimp Curry With Raw Mangoes in pictures.

Coconut Based Shrimp Curry With Raw MangoesIn Kerala, fish curries are usually made in earthen pots  called  Manchatti .  The  black pot   you see in the pictures  is  one of  these.   If you have a clay pot make the curry in it.  If  not use any non reactive cookware – in other words this is not a dish to make in cast iron pan that is not highly seasoned or in an aluminum pan .

Here are a few tips to get the most flavor out of the curry

  • Use raw Shrimp
  • Use fresh ingredients.
  • Do not overcook the shrimp, if it happens slow cook for 30 more minutes for the protein to relax.
5 from 4 votes
Coconut Based Shrimp Curry With Raw Mangoes
Shrimp Curry With Raw Mangoes
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
30 mins
 

This  is popular  Kerala  dish where  shrimp is  cooked   with  raw  mangoes in a flavorful  coconut  based  curry.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 4
Author: Syama
Ingredients
  • 1 lb Shrimp Raw Shelled and de-veined
  • 1 C Raw Mango Sliced. Use as needed
  • ½ Inch Fresh Ginger Sliced
  • 2 Cloves Garlic Sliced
  • 3 - 4 Green Chili To taste - Notes
  • ½ C Shallots Sliced Thin
  • ½ Tsp Red Chili Powder Cayenne or similar
  • 1 Tsp Turmeric Powder
  • 1 Tsp Salt To Taste See Notes
  • Few Curry Leaves
  • 1 C Grated Coconut Or Coconut milk See Notes
Tempering
  • 1 Tbsp Shallots Sliced
  • 1 Tbsp Coconut Oil
  • 1 Sprig Curry leaves
  • ½ Tsp Mustard Seeds
  • 1 Pinch Fenugreek Seeds
Instructions
Prep
  1. Clean and devein the shrimp. Skin and slice the mangoes thin. Slice the shallots, ginger and garlic into thin strips. Slit the chilies for spicy curry or leave it whole. Grind the coconut into a smooth paste with a few table spoons of water.
Cook the curry
  1. If the mango is tart  add ½ C to a pot along with ½ C sliced shallots , ginger, garlic chilies, turmeric powder and chili powder. Add 1 C water and bring it to a rolling boil. Simmer for 5 minutes. Add salt and taste , if needed add more mango slices to make it more tart.

  2. Increase the heat and add the shrimp. Stir and cook for 2 to 5 minutes until the shrimp turns opaque. Reduce the heat and add the ground coconut paste (or thick coconut milk or canned coconut milk). Stir well , taste and adjust salt if needed. Turn off the heat as soon as it begins to simmer. Add a few tablespoons of hot water if you want to thin the curry.
Season
  1. In a small sauce pan heat 1 tbsp of oil. When hot add all the ingredients for tempering. Once the mustard splutters turn off the heat. Pour the hot oil and the seasoning over the curry. Stir just before serving
Recipe Notes
  • Use as  many or  as  few  green chilies  as  you  prefer.
  • Leave  the  chilies whole  for a  less  spicy  curry , slit  them to make  it  spicier.
  • Store bought  fresh/frozen  shrimp might  have  added  sodium.  It  is  always  better  to  start  with  less  salt  and adjust  later.
  • Coconut milk  can be  substituted  for  ground  coconut.  Use   roughly the  same  amount. Adjust to  taste. 
  • If  using  fresh  coconut  milk -  cook  the  mangoes  in thin  milk  instead of  water  and finish the curry  using   thick coconut  milk in the  end. 
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Coconut Based Shrimp Curry With Raw Mangoes

 

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    8 thoughts on “Chemmeen Manga Curry – Shrimp Curry With Raw Mangoes

    1. You gotta love shrimp for the quick win… I love the sound of this, Indian food is a real favourite of mine but I am much more familiar with North Indian food than southern Indian, I really must give this a try!

      1. Do you get raw mangoes there , Brian ? If so you must . The flavors will be surprisingly different compared to north Indian fare.

    2. This is my kinds curry, I love south Indian, Sri Lankan dishes so much! It looks divine, absolutely mouthwatering. Definitely a recipe that I will be saving and making very, very soon.

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