Shrimp and green plantain curry (soup)

Shrimp and green plantain curry/soup (Paleo, AIP, Whole30)


This curry is Paleo, Whole30 and can be easily made AIP compliant!

There are so many different varieties of shrimp curry originating from Kerala. And growing up, my mom used to make all of them!  Shrimp is often combined with some starchy vegetable like green plantains or taro root or yam.  The traditional Keralan fish curry mostly uses Kodampuli(malabar tamarind) for imparting a tangy and smoky flavor. Sometimes green mangoes are also used. I have posted a shrimp curry with green mangoes before.  Today I am sharing the recipe of shrimp with green plantains where Kodampuli(Malabar Tamarind) is used as a souring agent.

Let me tell you some more about Kodampuli which is also called as ‘Malabar tamarind’. Its scientific name is Garcinia Gummi Gutta and it is also referred to as Garcinia Cambogia. In recent years, Garcinia extracts have been used in weight loss supplements and there have been some concerns about their safety although most such products includes highly concentrated extracts of Garcinia along with other questionable ingredients.  However, Kodampuli has been used as a flavoring and souring agent since centuries in southern India and is perfectly safe when used that way.Kodampuli (Garcinia Gummi Gutta)

In fact, in Ayurveda(an ancient Indian system of medicine which uses herbs and plants), Kodampuli is said to have several medicinal benefits in several conditions including arthritis, rheumatism and digestive disorders. Ayurveda recommends Kodampuli(Malabar tamarind) over regular tamarind for people suffering from arthritis. Many folks react to tamarind in a negative way – it triggers their migraine or their autoimmune condition. However, Kodampuli (Malabar tamarind) does not have that effect. Hence I have been using only this tamarind in my cooking now and have eliminated the regular tamarind completely from my pantry. Btw, both Malabar tamarind and regular tamarind are considered AIP compliant. You can also substitute regular tamarind or tamarind extract for Malabar tamarind in this recipe. If you do not have either, you can use green mango pieces or  lime/lemon juice to add some sourness. In fact I have posted a shrimp curry with green mangoes before. Apart from imparting a sour flavor, Kodampuli(Malabar tamarind) also imparts a smoky flavor to the dish.

The dried fruit which is black in color (see pic above) is what’s used in cooking. Just a couple pieces are enough to give a nice tang to any curry dish!  Since kodampuli (malabar tamarind) is in dried form, we first need to rinse it in cold water (to get rid of any sand/dirt etc) and then rehydrate it using hot water. So after rinsing thoroughly, I usually soak it in hot water for about 5-10 mins. Then I use the pieces along with the soaking liquid in the recipe.

Shrimp is my most favorite seafood to cook. It cooks so fast and it is so delicious! One cannot really go wrong cooking with shrimp since it makes everything so tasty! But you do need to remember a couple tips about cooking them – While grilling them, do not overcook them as they tend to become hard AND while using them in a curry or soup, use the brining method and slow cooking method to keep them moist and soft. I use both these techniques (brining and slow cooking) to make this curry. The traditional curry uses chilli peppers but you can completely avoid them for an AIP compliant curry and still get a flavorful curry because of the other flavoring agents – fresh ginger, turmeric, Kodampuli (Malabar tamarind) and the fresh curry leaves!

I prefer using homemade coconut milk for making this curry. You can see my recipe for homemade coconut milk here. You can however also use canned organic unsweetened coconut milk for this recipe.

How to eat this curry?

  • You can have just a big bowl of this as soup!
  • You can have this with rice or ‘cauliflower rice’ on the side.
  • You can have this with mashed yuca on the side!
  • You can also have this with cassava tortilla/rotis!

You can watch step by step video of how I make this curry below!

Shrimp and green plantain curry/soup (Paleo, AIP, Whole30)
Recipe type: Seafood
Cuisine: Indian/Keralan
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-5
A delicious 'hot and sour' shrimp and green plantain curry from southern India using coconut milk and kodampuli or malabar tamarind!
  • 1 lb of medium size shrimp (about 20-25 pieces), shelled and deveined
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, finely chopped or grated
  • 1 tsp red chili powder or kashmiri chili powder (OMIT for AIP)
  • 2 green (serrano) chilles, slit length-wise (OMIT for AIP)
  • ½ of a green plantain, thinly sliced
  • 2-4 pieces of Kodampuli (Malabar tamarind), washed and soaked in ¼ cup hot water (see notes for substitutions)
  • 2 cups of coconut milk (homemade or canned, unsweetened)
For the garnish:
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped red onion or shallots
  • 4-6 fresh curry leaves
  1. Wash 2-4 pieces of kodampuli (malabar tamarind) in cold water and then soak them in ¼ cup hot water for about 10 mins.
  2. In a medium size cooking pot (earthen ware is best), add the shrimp. Add the salt , the turmeric along with the ginger and green chillies(if adding) and red chilli powder (if adding). Then add the sliced green plantain.
  3. Stir to mix everything well. Then place the pot on medium heat until the liquid starts to bubble. Immediately turn heat to low and cover and cook for about 15 mins stirring in between.
  4. Check the green plantain pieces to see if cooked and then turn heat off and keep the pot aside covered.
  5. Next in a small pan, heat the coconut oil. When hot add the finely chopped red onion (or shallot) and the curry leaves and stir fry on medium heat for about 4-5 mins until the onions are golden brown.
  6. Turn heat off and pour this fried onion mixture along with the oil onto the curry in the pot and mix lightly. Discard the kodampuli pieces before serving.
  7. Serve shrimp curry with rice or cauliflower rice or mashed yuca.
If you do not have kodampuli (malabar tamarind), you can use about 1-2 tbsp of tamarind extract or you can use 1-2 tbsp of lime/lemon juice to impart some sourness.

Shrimp and green plantain curry

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