Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Shrimps and Colombo sauce: a journey in the French Antilles

Let's stay in French Antilles...

Let's stay in the Caribbean with this recipe of shrimps and Colombo sauce I made to eat with the plantin gratin.

Colombo powder is a variant of curry brought by Indians to French Antilles (around 1862) when they went to work in the fields after the abolition of slavery. 
This spice was adapted locally and then became a typical spice from the French Antilles.

As Garam masala and Ras El Hanout, it is composed of many spices such as cumin, nutmeg, pepper, cardamom, fenugreek, star anise, cloves etc.

Colombo sauce can be prepared with beef, pork and chicken along with fish or shellfish. It also could be used in desserts but to be honest I’ve never tried this and I do not know how to use it in this case. 
However I usually add «five spices» in my carrot cake which gives a very good taste.

This Colombo sauce and shrimps recipe make us travel and really brings us to the heart of the Caribbean.

Try it and love it!

Here is what you need for a successful recipe:


*In many recipes, it is recommended to use fenugreek, mustard and cumin seeds, the Colombo powder itself already contains all the spices. So if you do not have those seeds, it doesn’t matter, the taste will be good too.
You will find Colombo powder in exotic groceries of your town.

Ingredients (serve 2-3 people):

For the marinade:

  • 1 clove of grated de germed garlic
  • 1 green onion, cut into slices and half of the stem as well
  • 1 teaspoon Colombo powder
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar

For cooking:

  • 500 gr frozen shrimp or not
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 eggplant
  • 2 large potatoes
  • 2 stalks of chives
  • 3 or 4 sprigs of parsley
  • 2 green onions and half of the stem
  • 1 clove of de germed garlic
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1/2 liter of water or broth
  • 1 Tablespoon of Colombo powder
  •  Salt


The day before or at least 3 hours before, prepare the marinade.

In a bowl, put the shrimps and add all the marinade ingredients.
Sprinkle a tablespoon of vinegar.

Keep shrimps covered with plastic wrap in the fridge.

When you are ready to cook, wash and peel vegetables.

Cut into cubes eggplant, potatoes, and carrots.

Clean, peel and cut diced green onions and half of their stem.

Wash and chop the parsley and chives.

De germe garlic and cut it into small pieces.

Heat a saucepan over medium heat.

* If you have seeds (fenugrec, cumin...) pour them  in the pan and stir them with a spatula until their fragrance exhales or they take a reddish color and then add the oil onion and garlic 

If you don’t have seeds, pour 2 tablespoons of oil in the pot and when it begins to heat, add the green onions and garlic.

Stir well to avoid burning.

Add the vegetables and the Colombo powder. Mix well and pour water or broth to cover vegetables.

Let them cook until they are melting.

After this time add the shrimp and simmer for 15-20 minutes.

Five minutes before the end add the fresh herbs and salt to taste.

To have a thick sauce consistency, using your blender, blend together 3 tablespoons cooked vegetables and 3 tablespoon of sauce, to obtain a liquid puree and return to pan. Mix well.

Serve hot with steamed rice, Creole rice, Indian flat bread or gratin plantin.
It is really really yummy!


My recipe uses shrimps and this is why I did not fry them with onions. I didn’t want to overcook them.

For a Colombo sauce with meat, sauté the meat with onion and garlic before adding vegetables and water or broth.

Thank you for reading.
Let me know about your ideas. Have you ever prepared the Colombo or a dish close to it?
How do you do?

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