Saffron Curry with Shrimp and Clams
Coconut Curry with Saffron and Fresh Seafood
Who doesn’t love a soul-warming curry dish—an intoxicating blend of spices that lingers on the tongue and in the sinuses and carries on to enliven the totality of ones' senses. It's a rare flavor combination that is equally as delicious in cream or tomato sauces, as well as with various types of meats and seafood or vegetables.
Surprisingly, saffron, despite the fact that it pairs so well with many of the spices in curry dishes, isn’t usually found in most curry recipes. Instead, that bright yellow hue found in many curry dishes is contributed by turmeric. With saffron being such a beautiful compliment to an already fragrant and flavorful seasoning blend, adding it to a seafood curry seemed to be a no-brainer!
Shrimp and Steamer Clams with Saffron Coconut Curry Sauce
Yields 6-8 servings
For the curry powder:
- 1 tablespoon turmeric
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander seed
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon ground mustard seed
- ½ teaspoon ground fennel seed
- ½ teaspoon ground fenugreek
- ¼ cayenne pepper
For the Coconut Curried Seafood with Saffron:
- 1 13-ounce can coconut milk
- 1 teaspoon saffron threads
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- Extra virgin olive oil for sauteing and roasting
- 1 teaspoon salt, plus more for eggplant
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 2 stalks of celery, chopped
- 2 large carrots, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 large eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 large sweet potato, cut into ¾-inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 pound of large, wild-caught shrimp
- 1 ½ pounds of fresh steamer clams
- ¼ cup greek yogurt
- ¾ cup pineapple pieces
- ½ cup chopped water chestnuts
- Chopped peanuts and fresh cilantro for topping
For the curry powder:
- Mix together the first 10 ingredients and set aside.
For the coconut curried seafood with saffron:
- Preheat oven to 350
- Open your coconut milk. The water may be separated from the cream. Pour about 2 tablespoons of the coconut water into a small dish (if not separated, the straight coconut milk will work just fine). Pour the remaining coconut cream and water in a food processor and set aside.
- Gently crush the saffron threads between two spoons and add it to the coconut water. Let soak for at least 30 minutes.
- Heat about 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
- Add in the onions, carrots, bell peppers, and celery, sprinkle with salt, and sauté until just soft.
- Meanwhile, coat the eggplant with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes and set aside.
- Add the chicken broth and sweet potatoes and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Mix in the 2 tablespoons of the curry powder mixture (you can save the rest for another use), fish sauce, coconut milk, and saffron mixtures and simmer for another 10 minutes.
- In a separate pan, melt the coconut oil and butter.
- Add in the shrimp, clams, and lemon juice. Cook until shrimp is pink and clams are just open.
- When cooked, remove the skins from the shrimp.
- Mix the seafood, pineapple, water chestnuts, and yogurt in with the sauce, reserving a few for placing atop the dish.
Serve this dish over simple white rice, riced cauliflower, or thick rice noodles. Top with chopped cilantro and peanuts and serve with chile oil.