Monday, 7 January 2013

Varuthu Aracha Chemeen Muringika Curry/ Shrimp and Drumsticks in Roasted Spices

The traditional curries of Kerala - Varuthu Aracha Curry. Common spices like coriander seeds, red whole chilly, fenugreek seeds  and cumin seeds are roasted (Varuthu) by tossing in a hot iron skillet until they are fragrant and then ground to a fine paste (Aracha) with plenty of coconut to prepare the Varuthu Aracha masala. The rich aroma penetrated through your nostrils which makes your mouth water to have a morsel of the spicy curry.

Varuthu Aracha Chemeen Muringikka Curry, is a speciality from the coastal side of Kerala where shrimps (Chemeen) and drumsticks (Muringikka) are available in plenty. When the curry is made you will be confused by what element is best in the curry; is it the shrimps that is so subtly infused with flavours from the drumsticks and the roasted spice gravy or is it the drumsticks that reminds you of the shrimps that you've left behind on your plate or is it the lip-smacking tangy spicy gravy that boasts of both the shrimp and drumstick flavours?
Serves: 4 - 6
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 25 minutes

To grind to a fine paste
  • 3 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 12 whole red chilly
  • 3/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 3/4 cup coconut, grated
  • 2 tsp tamarind paste
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 3 tsp kashmiri chilly powder
  • 1/4 inch ginger
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 small sized onion
Remaining Ingredients
  • 1 kg shrimp, shelled and de-veined
  • 1x300g pkt frozen drumstick (these drumsticks are cut into finger sizes)
  • 4 - 6 pieces of black tamarind/ kokum/ kudampuli
  • 3/4 inch ginger, crushed
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3/4 small sized onion, sliced
  • 2 red whole chillies
  • 1 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 sprigs curry leaves
  • 2 - 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 3/4 - 1 cup hot water
  • Salt to taste
1. In a hot pan, dry roast coriander seeds, red chilly, fenugreek seeds and cumin seeds until fragrant. Set aside to cool. Roast grated coconut until it becomes dry (it doesn't have to change colour). Set aside to cool. Dry grind roasted spices and coconut until it becomes a fine powder. Add rest of the ingredients of "to grind to a fine paste" with very little water and grind till it becomes a thick fine paste.
2. Cook drumsticks in water with salt and turmeric powder until half done. Reserve the water in which it is cooked.
3. In a hot pan, heat coconut oil. Splutter mustard seeds. Add onion, ginger, garlic, curry leaves and whole chillies and stir through until onion becomes light brown in colour. Add the ground paste and stir through over medium flame until oil begins to separate. Add shrimps and salt and mix well. Cover pan and cook shrimps over medium flame. (It is not required to add water at this stage because liquid will ooze from shrimps). When shrimps are half-done, add half cooked drumsticks and water (depending on how thick or thin you want the gravy to be) and mix well. Season to taste. Continue cooking until shrimps are done to your liking.
Serve hot with rice.


  1. innovative idea.excellent and looks yummy.

  2. Wow something diff and delicious...yummy.

  3. Very unusal combo n nice presentation.

  4. nice combo..missing drumsticks here..dis luks really wonderful.....

  5. love this curry....combination is yummy

  6. Lovely, spicy curry...I love shrimps a lot..thnx for sharing this recipe..

  7. We cook similar prawns curry(theeyal) but Never tried this combination. it was yummy.thanks

    1. Hi Gini,
      I've heard a few people calling this theeyal but we prepare chemeen theeyal by roasting coconut till brown before grinding to a paste. I guess it is just a different style. Thanks

  8. Wow...must be really really tasty....:-)