We first encountered Suvir Saran in the Napa Valley. He and Joyce Goldstein were on stage at a culinary conference preparing separate dishes, while ribbing one another with friendly jabs.Suvir is chef and co-owner of New York’s Dévi restaurant. It’s the only Indian eatery in the United States that’s earned a Michelin star. He’s an engaging person with a sharp wit. And he’s an accomplished author, having published two acclaimed cookbooks. A third is on the way.
During the conference, we bought a copy of Suvir’s American Masala (Clarkson Potter, 2007) from the man himself. “May Masala give new spice and magic to the rich wonders of California olive oil,” Suvir wrote in our copy.
The book has delivered on Suvir’s inscription. We’ve cooked several great dishes, ranging from cardamom-roasted cauliflower to a honey-glazed pork roast. The recipes reflect Suvir’s native India and his adopted home here in the United States.
A recipe on our to-do list is Goan-style shrimp curry. Suvir notes in the book that each region of the western coast of India has its own favorite shrimp curry, with no two cooks ever making the same recipe or revealing their family’s secret.
“This recipe is inspired by a wonderful version that I had at a friend’s home in Goa,” Suvir writes.
The sauce combines classic Indian ingredients including curry leaves (which are optional but are available at Indian groceries and online), dried chilies, fresh ginger, ground coriander, turmeric, curry powder and coconut milk.
The shrimp, meanwhile, are marinated in lemon juice, cayenne pepper, ground peppercorns and kosher salt. They’re added to the sauce once it’s prepared and boiling.
Alternatively, you can be like the usually vegetarian Suvir, who sometimes skips the shrimp. “There are times when I crave just the sauce of this curry so I make it without the shrimp and eat it with lots of rice,” he says.
Claude S. Weiller
Vice President of Sales & Marketing
California Olive Ranch