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Spices Add Flavor Without Adding Fat

Charlotte Balcomb Lane Knight-Ridder/Tribune

Spices add flavor and depth to a dish without adding fat. This recipe for Creamy Shrimp Curry has lots of sensational flavor from spices, but very little fat.

Curry powder, turmeric, paprika and ground cumin give the dish an exotic Indian flavor. Many traditional Indian recipes include “ghee,” a type of clarified butter used for cooking, and coconut milk, often used to sweeten and thicken sauces - both of which are high in fat. This recipe has been adapted to American kitchens (and waistlines) and substitutes canola oil for the ghee, and a pinch of sugar with shrimp or chicken broth and evaporated skim milk instead of the coconut milk.

The sauce is thickened into a delectable gravy thanks to cornstarch added at the last minute.

Creamy Shrimp Curry

3/4 pound medium to large shrimp (about 20)

1-1/2 cups water

2 teaspoons canola oil

1 green onion, chopped

1 small yellow onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, crushed through a press (about 1 teaspoon)

1 teaspoon fresh ginger, finely chopped

1 cup green, yellow or red bell pepper, or a combination of all three, chopped

1-1/2 teaspoons sugar

1-1/4 teaspoons curry powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

1/4 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon cumin

1 cup shrimp broth or low-fat, low-sodium chicken broth

1 cup evaporated skim milk

1 teaspoon cider vinegar

2 teaspoons cornstarch, mixed to a thin paste with 1 tablespoon evaporated skim milk or water

4 cups cooked rice

Peel and devein the shrimp, reserving the shells. Refrigerate the meat.

Combine the shells with 1-1/2 cups water in a large saucepan and boil, covered, for 15 minutes. Strain and discard the shells. Measure the shrimp broth; you should have 1 cup. (Note: You may omit this step if you wish and substitute 1 cup low-fat, low-sodium chicken broth instead.)

In a 12-inch, nonstick skillet, heat the canola oil over medium-low heat. Saute the onions, garlic and ginger until soft and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add the chopped bell pepper and cook 2 to 3 minutes longer.

Stir in the sugar, curry powder, salt, turmeric, paprika and cumin and cook the mixture for about 1 minute or until very fragrant. Stir in the shrimp broth (or chicken broth, if using), evaporated skim milk and the cider vinegar. Bring mixture to a simmer and add the shrimp. Simmer the sauce together for 5 minutes or until the shrimp are pink and curled.

Combine the cornstarch with the evaporated skim milk or water and stir it into the curry sauce. Cook 30 seconds longer, or until the sauce thickens slightly. Serve over cooked rice.

Yield: 4 servings.

Nutrition information per serving, including 1 cup cooked rice: 364 calories, 3.8 grams fat (9 percent of calories from fat), 28 grams protein, 53 grams carbohydrate, 168 milligrams cholesterol, 678 milligrams sodium.

The following fields overflowed: SUPCAT = COLUMN, RECIPE - On the Light Side

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