Shrimp Chettinad
60 Min

Shrimp Chettinad

Chettinad, a centuries-old spice-trading community of South India, is famous for its uncommonly subtle and heady aromatic combinations of spices. Here, toasted sesame oil lends a smoky depth of flavor to the curry while the star anise and fennel add aroma. Find local wild-caught shrimp to make this curry on a cold day and enjoy with just a bowl of steamed rice.
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Cook Time

60 Minutes



Step 1
In a mortar and pestle or with a rolling pin, crush the star anise, fennel seeds, and black peppercorns until they are in tiny pieces, but not powdered.
Step 2
In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, heat the sesame oil, pop the mustard seeds and fry the star anise mix. Within 2 to 3 seconds, add the whole kari leaves. Cook this mixture for another 2 to 3 seconds, then add the minced onions.
Step 3
Lower the heat to medium and cook the onions until they are soft and translucent. Add the ginger, carrot, chile powder, turmeric, and salt and cook for 5 to 7 seconds, then add the coconut milk and 1 cup of water.
Step 4
Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat, cover the stockpot, and cook the curry for 15 to 20 minutes or until the carrot chunks are soft and tender.
Step 5
Add zucchini to the curry. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes — the zucchini should be cooked but still bright green. Add shrimp and turn the heat off. Let the curry rest, 10 to 12 minutes.
Step 6
Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve with plain white rice.
2 star anise
1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1/4 cup toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
15 to 20 kari (curry) leaves
1 cup minced onions
1 large carrot, peeled and diced into 1-inch cubes
2 tablespoons unpeeled grated ginger
1 teaspoon chile powder
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 teaspoons sea salt
One 14-ounce can coconut milk
1 zucchini, diced into 1-inch cubes
1 pound small shrimp, peeled and deveined
Half a bunch chopped cilantro

Notes & Variations

  • Kari leaves have a lemon-pine fragrance and are commonly found in Indian grocers.
  • Substitute star anise with cinnamon sticks or green cardamom pods.
  • Replace shrimp with 2-inch pieces of fish fillet.
  • Replace the carrot with parsnip or potato.
  • For a lighter curry, replace the coconut milk with water.
60 Min

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Chettinad is a region in Tamil Nadu renowned for its subtle yet spicy cuisine. Check out these other recipes that feature this flavor palette!

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