Cookbook author Maya Kaimal has a deft hand with Indian sauces. (She even sells an eponymous line of them at specialty food stores.) The light and fragrant sauce here is based on a Keralan shrimp curry.
In a large skillet, heat the oil. Add the onion and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 5 minutes. Add the cloves, cardamom and cinnamon and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add 1 1/2 cups of the coconut milk, the water, ginger, jalapeños and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and simmer over moderate heat for 10 minutes.
Add the shrimp and simmer, stirring a few times, until just cooked, about 4 minutes. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of coconut milk and bring back to a simmer. Remove the skillet from the heat and add the lime juice. Season the curry with salt and transfer to plates. Serve with steamed rice and lime wedges.