I wasn't really sure what to call this Indian dish. I think of shahi-style food as originating from the Mughal empire in India, usually made with ground nuts or cream (or both), and therefore very indulgent. It's not the type of food my parents would normally cook, and as Bengalis they'd probably just describe it as North Indian. Other UK residents may think of it as a korma. But etymology aside, this is great Indian dish for a autumn night. It is gently spiced, but rich and full of flavour. I made it with prawns and langoustines, but you could easily make a vegetarian version instead (or indeed a chicken one).
Recipe (enough for 4):
250g shell-on cooked langoustine tails
200g large cooked prawns
Fat thumb-sized piece of ginger, ground to a paste
3 fat cloves of garlic, ground to a paste
1 large dried bay leaf
2 little finger-sized pieces of cinnamon
3 cardamon pods, split
1 whole green chilli, pricked a few times with the tip of a knife
2 level tsp ground coriander
1 level tsp ground cumin
1 level tsp garam masala
0.5 tsp turmeric
Salt and pepper for seasoning
Around 3 tblsp sunflower oil
Around 4 tblsp ground almonds
Around 200ml double cream
Put the oil into your pan, and heat gently (make sure you have enough oil to cover the base of the pan). When it's warm but definitely not smoking hot add in the whole spices- the bay leaf, cinnamon and cardamon pods. Give them a good stir, and after a minute add the ginger, garlic and chilli. Everything should be sizzling but not sticking, so turn down the heat if you need to. After another couple of minutes put in all the ground spices, and stir well. You should be smelling some nice aromas by this point. Next, lower the heat and then add the ground almonds and cook for a few minutes until they are lightly toasted. Put in the cooked seafood at this point, mix everything well and then pour in the cream. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and gently simmer for a few minutes until the prawns and langoustines are heated through.
So what you should end up with is a rich nutty gravy, that is flavoured with both whole and ground spices. The whole chilli provides flavour rather than heat, but this dish is as a far from bland as you can get. Using langoustines in this dish made a nice change from prawns (props to the Tesco freezer cabinet), and I thought they were much more flavourful too. I served this with some rice and my go to Indian classic of spinach and paneer with methi. Poppadom optional.