Shrimp & Drumstick Vegetable Curry Recipe

In this southern Indian curry, which is traditionally cooked in a clay pot, drumsticks provide the main flavour. They are long, slender vegetable pods that grow on the moringa tree. Drumsticks are very popular in the southern parts of India and are commonly used to make stews, dals, and curries. You can find them canned and frozen in most Indian grocery stores. If you can't find them, you can use green beans but please note that the taste will be different. This curry is excellent with steamed rice; keep the sauce a little thin in consistency if you plan to serve it that way. You can use any kind of fish or any other seafood here instead of the shrimp.


1 lb. small shrimp
1 tsp ground turmeric
1-1/2 tsp table salt
2 medium green mangoes
1-1/2 cups grated fresh coconut (or frozen unsweetened coconut)
5 tbsp vegetable oil
10-12 small shallots, halved
1 tbsp red chili powder
1 tbsp ground coriander
2 green chilies, stemmed and slit
4 curd chilies, stemmed and slit*
10-12 fresh curry leaves
1 tbsp tamarind pulp
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp fenugreek seeds, lightly crushed
4 dried red chilies , stemmed
2 drumstick vegetable, stemmed

* Curd chilies are chilies that have been soaked in yogurt and dried. They are available at Indian grocers. If you cannot find them, leave them out.


Step 1: Peel, devein, and wash the shrimp thoroughly under running water. Drain in a colander for 10 minutes, then pat dry with paper towels and transfer to a bowl. Add the turmeric and 1 tsp of the salt, and stir. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to marinate.

Step 2: Peel and pit the mangoes and cut them into wedges.

Step 3: Soak the coconut in 1 cup warm water for 15 minutes. Transfer to a food processor and process into a fine paste.

Step 4: Place a nonstick saucepan over medium heat and add 3 tbsp of the vegetable oil. When small bubbles appear at the bottom of the pan, add the shallots and sauté for 2 minutes or until translucent.

Step 5: Add the chili powder and coriander, and cook, stirring continuously, for a few seconds.

Step 6: Add the green chilies, curd chilies, curry leaves, and tamarind pulp. Sauté for 1 minute. Add the coconut paste and 3 cups water. Bring to a boil and cook until reduced by half.

Step 7: Pour the sauce through a strainer into a deep bowl, pressing well to extract all the flavours. Set aside.

Step 8: Place another medium nonstick saucepan over medium heat and add the remaining 2 tbsp vegetable oil and the coconut oil. When small bubbles appear at the bottom of the pan, add the fenugreek and dried chilies, and stir well over medium heat.

Step 9: Add the shrimp, drumsticks, and mangoes. Cook over medium heat, stirring continuously, until the shrimp are almost cooked through.

Step 10: Add the sauce and simmer for 2-3 minutes or until the shrimp are cooked through and the sauce is well combined.

Step 11: Transfer to a serving bowl and serve hot.

Reprinted with permission from Sanjeev Kapoor’s How To Cook Indian (2011 Stewart, Tabori & Chang).