Sunday, August 28, 2011

Tales from the coast....Prawn curry

Most people love prawns unless they are allergic to them. Whether boiled, sauted, grilled, baked, fried, stewed, curried this versatile fish( actually crustacean) tastes good in all forms. The only tip to remember is to never overcook them. Then they get all hard, dry and rubbery. So just toss them in, wait for the color to change and out they go. If adding straight into the gravy, add during the final stages of cooking. Some recipes call for them to be cooked with their shell. While this gets a little messy to eat once you have managed to get beyond the top layer there is some flavorsome, soft flesh beneath.

Being from the coast, prawn were quite popular in our household and cooked with regular frequency. Mom tried several versions too- chilly prawns- stir fry the prawns with some soya, vinegar, bell pepper, chillies, onion, garlic and tomatoes to a succulent finish. Yumm!

And then of course Prawns in a mustard base, prawns in a coconut gravy. Actually prawns lend themselves quite easily to all kinds of cuisine- toss a handful into pasta, fry them with some butter and pepper, cook them with some rice and veggies for a most delicious pulao, add them to your salads for flavor, body and taste. You can do just about anything with prawns.

We cooked a more basic version for lunch today. Quite easy to prepare, just stir together a few basic ingredients and you are done. Delicious.

Prawn Curry
Serves: 6


Prawn: 250 grams, medium sized
Onion: 2, finely chopped
Garlic: 4/5 pods, finely chopped
Ginger: 1 inch, grated
Green cardamom: 3
Cinnamon: 2 inch sticks
Bay leaves: 2
Jeera/cumin seeds: 1 tsp
Tomato: 2, finely chopped
Potato: 2, cubed( ideally the same size as the prawns)
Ghee: 1 tsp
Mustard oil: 2/3 tbsp
Green chillies: 2
Cumin/Jeera powder: 1.5 tsp
Corriander/Dhania powder: 1 tsp
Chilli powder: 1 tsp
Turmeric powder: 1 tsp


  • Heat the oil in a wok/kadai till it starts to smoke.
  • Add the prawns( to which some turmeric and salt has been added), saute for a few minutes. Remember not to overcook them. Remove.
  • Into the same wok add the cumin seeds, bay leaves, onion, garlic and saute for a few minutes. Add cardamom and cinnamon sticks.
  • Add the cubed potatoes and cook.
  • Next, mix the grated ginger and dry spices( cumin, corriander, turmeric and chilli powder) with a little bit of water and add it to the wok. Add the tomatoes and cook till the tomatoes soften.
  • Add some warm water( about a cup or two) and let the gravy come to a boil. Add the prawn and let them cook for about 5/7 minutes or so. Add the slit green chillies. Check the salt and add more if necessary.
  • Finish off with some ghee.
  • Serve hot with plain steamed rice.

A very simple meal that leaves you feeling satiated- that I think is the power of simplicity.

Bon Apetit and Happy Cooking!

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