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Seafood Mulligatawny

Seafood mulligatawny

Seafood mulligatawny, which has a velvety consistency that is hearty with vegetables. (Photo: Johnny Autry)



1/4 cup toor dal
One 3-to 4-inch piece fresh turmeric
2 cups cauliflower florets
1 large carrot, cut into 1-inch cubes
One 3-to-4-inch piece ginger, roughly chopped
1 or 2 whole serrano chiles
2 teaspoons sea salt
One (14-ounce) can coconut milk
1/4 cup ghee
Generous pinch of asafetida
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
20 kari (curry) leaves
2 large celery stalks, cut diagonal into 1-inch pieces
8 ounces French green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
8 ounces small shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 pound fresh mussels or clams
1 teaspoon garam masala (See recipe below)
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Recipe directions: 

Rinse the dal two or three times in several changes of water, add water to cover by a couple of inches, and soak for 5 to 6 hours. Drain.

In a large saucepan, combine the drained dal with 4 cups water and bring to a boil over high heat. Discard any scum that may arise – scum contains impurities that can make lentils hard to digest. Alternatively, drain the dal, through a colander or strainer if needed, into the sink, add 4 fresh cups water, and bring to a boil again. Add the turmeric, cauliflower, carrot, ginger, chiles, and salt and bring to a boil.

Lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes until the dal is dissolved to a mushy consistency and the vegetables are cooked through. Turn the heat off and let the soup rest. Puree in a blender, in batches if needed, until smooth and pour soup back into the pot. Add the coconut milk, and if the soup is too thick, add ½ to 1 cup water.

Heat the ghee in a small frying pan over high heat. Pop the asafetida and mustard seeds (see note below). Add the kari leaves, and immediately scrape them into the soup. Stir in the celery and green beans, then add the shrimp and mussels and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until the vegetables are still bright green and the seafood is almost cooked through; it will continue to cook in the hot soup. Add garam masala, lemon juice, and cilantro and serve. Serves 4-6.

Note: To “pop” whole spices such as asafetida, mustard seeds, cumin, or fenugreek seeds, heat ghee or oil in a shallow frying pan over high heat. When the oil shines and simmers, just shy of smoking, add the spices. Spices will make sizzling and popping sounds.

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