Saturday, October 17, 2009

Lobster Vindaloo with Basmati Coconut Rice

Vindaloo is a traditional Goan dish originating from Portugal. Usually paired with pork and red wine, this Portuguese dish was transformed into an Indian curry dish when various spices were added and cooked with chicken or lamb. Vindaloo has become pretty popular overseas (UK, Europe, U.S.), with many Indian restaurants in those countries offering a variant of the dish. Rather than having a hard time deciphering recipes and hunting for the various spices that go into a vindaloo, you can actually buy a bottle of vindaloo paste from your local Indian grocery store or any other supermarkets that has an international food aisle. Cooking it is as easy as just adding onions, tomato and othe vegetables to the vindaloo paste together with some water. As for me, I like to amp it up with a few extra spices of my own like star anise, a bay leaf, cumin, coriander and cinnamon.

For this dish I picked lobster because it so happened that the day that I wanted to make vindaloo with shrimp, I stopped by my local supermarket and they had fresh live lobsters going for $3.49/lb. Yes, you read that right: $3.49/lb! Lobsters have never been this cheap before. Isn't it great living in New England? So I went home with 2 lobsters for less than $9. Anyway, I started off by sauteing some yellow onions and garlic. I cut the lobsters into half right down the middle. Pan frying them like this ensures that the flavorful parts of the lobster that reside in the head is not wasted. Also, you should crack the claws with the back of your knife to make sure that it cooks properly. So now, go ahead and pan fry the lobsters flesh side down together with the onions and garlic that was cooking earlier. Cover the pan to simmer the lobster, making sure they cook all the way through. Now, add a tablespoon of the vndaloo paste together with half a cup of water. Add all the extra spices that I mentioned earlier and mix well. Simmer again to let all the nice flavors develop.

I decided to add carrots and sweet potatoes to this vindaloo dish. To make sure that everything cooks properly, I boiled these root vegetables first as they would take a much longer time to cook than the other ingredients in the pot. Now, add the cooked root vegetables to the pot and simmer some more. Just before finishing, I cut up some fresh spinach and add it into the pot, making sure that it wilts slightly just before turning off the heat and serving. To accompany this vindaloo, I cooked some basmati rice together with coconut milk and a pinch or two of salt. When the rice is cooked, I fold in a cup of raisins. Now the dish is ready to be served.

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