A Calculated Curry

I have two jars of garam masala in my spice cabinet, but there are many more versions of this Indian spice blend. One of mine is quite aromatic and has a good amount of cayenne that gives it a real jolt. The other is mild, which I use with my children's tender taste buds in mind. For this shrimp dish, I chose the milder blend. It was wonderful, though I'm sure that it would have been great with the spicier one. So try different mixes, and go with your tastes.

Here, sweet chutney enhances and balances the flavors, no matter how spicy you go. Serve this with Saffron Rice.


Platter from Sur La Table stores.

Mango Curry Shrimp and Spinach

Active Work and Total Preparation Time: 25 minutes

1/2 pound baby spinach

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

1 tablespoon oil

1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined

Salt, pepper

1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala or curry powder

3 tablespoons mango chutney, minced

1 large clove garlic, minced

Rinse the spinach and set it aside to drain.

Heat a large skillet over high heat. Add the mustard seeds. Toast them 1 to 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the oil. When hot, add the shrimp. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook the shrimp just until they're opaque, about 2 minutes. Remove them with a slotted spoon and set them aside.

Add the garam masala, chutney and garlic to the pan. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add the spinach, preferably still with some water on it, stirring often until it has wilted. If the spinach is too dry, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of water. Add the shrimp back to the pan. Stir to reheat.


4 servings. Each serving: 186 calories; 409 mg sodium; 193 mg cholesterol; 5 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 12 grams carbohydrates; 23 grams protein; 1.89 grams fiber.

Saffron Rice

Active Work Time: 5 minutes

Total Preparation Time: 25 minutes

1 tablespoon oil

1 clove garlic, minced

1 cup basmati rice

3/4 cup water

1 cup chicken or vegetable stock

Dash saffron

1 teaspoon salt

Heat a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the oil and garlic. Stir for 10 seconds. Add the rice. Stir for 1 minute. Add the water, stock, saffron and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook the rice until all the water is absorbed and the rice is tender to the bite, about 18 minutes.

4 servings. Each serving: 131 calories; 783 mg sodium; 0 cholesterol; 4 grams fat; 0 saturated fat; 20 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams protein; 0.33 gram fiber.


Mango Curry Shrimp and Spinach

Saffron Rice STAPLES

Basmati rice

Garam masala or curry powder


Mango chutney

Mustard seeds



Stock, vegetable or chicken


1 pound shrimp

1/2 pound spinach


25 minutes before: Mince garlic, rinse spinach, start rice.

15 minutes before: Toast mustard seeds. Peel and devein shrimp.

10 minutes before: Cook shrimp.

5 minutes before: Add spinach to spices in skillet.

Just before serving: Return shrimp to pan to reheat.