Monday, March 15, 2010

Spicy Prawn Curry!!

           Growing up in the western coastal belt of India, namely Mangalore, saw me relishing sea food on a daily basis, be it in the form of gravies or fry!!! Fish was never stored in refrigerators but always cooked fresh. Mom or Dad  go to the market on a daily basis to buy fish, at times there are fish mongers getting their catch home. Unlike other places where fish is sold by the kilo, Mangalore fish mongers sell it by portions (or "vante" in konkani). They quote a price and after rounds of bargaining, you finally get your catch!!!! So if you were a newcomer especially a Gulfie on holiday, it would be likely that you would be taken for a ride.

Now what I like about Mom's curries are that she never grinds the curry paste in a mixer but in a stone pestle(pictured below) by hand. To this day she grinds not only gravies also batters by hand(it is a tiring processs) and must I say, the gravies turn out awesome.

When I got married, I swore by the grinder and vowed never to use the mixer to prepare my gravies. One problem though, I did not see myself sitting over a stone pestle day in and out, crushing the spices and coconut to make a paste. Then, there were these tilting wet grinders(pictured below) available in the market which crushed the spices using a stone but which were running on electricity. After having heard me lament about Mom's gravies for six months, Vinay finally decided to get a grinder for me.

I have had the Santha grinder for the past 10 years and I must say, whoever have dined at my house wanted to know the secret of the delicious gravies( be it meat or fish). I would proudly point out to my wet grinder. Now having moved to Germany, I had to leave my grinder behind and have to make do with the Philips Mixer( which I had to buy) for the gravies that I prepare. The thing about mixers is that they fail to grind coconut to a fine paste. I know I can substitute it with coconut milk, but there is nothing like a gravy made out of freshly ground coconut.

                 My children both love prawns very much. I also felt it was high time I prepared my Mangalorean sea food curry. So, I got these frozen tiger prawns from E-centre ( They are also available in Kupsch).  Though prawns fried in oil and spices seem to be everybody's favourite, I decided to make the curry from Sanjeev Kapoor's Konkan CookBook (I am a big fan of his) !!!!

Ingredients :

  • 18-20  medium sized                   Prawns( shelled and de-veined)
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 cup                                          Coconut(scraped)
  • 2 medium sized                           Onions( sliced)
  • 4                                                Red Chillies (whole)
  • 2 tsps                                         Coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp                                          Cumin seeds
  • 8-10                                           Peppercorns
  • 1/4 tsp                                       Fenugreek seeds (methi)
  • 1/2 tsp                                       Turmeric powder
  • 5 cloves                                      Garlic
  • One and a half tbsp                     Tamarind Pulp
  • 3 tbsps                                       Oil
  1.  Wash prawns thoroughly under running water, drain and pat them dry. Sprinkle salt and keep aside for an hour.
  2. Grind scraped coconut, half the sliced onions, whole red chillies, coriander , cumin, fenugreek seeds, peppercorns, turmeric powder, garlic and tamarind pulp to a smooth paste using sufficient water.

     3. Heat oil in a vessel and fry the remaining onions till light brown.
   4. Add the ground paste and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add two cups of water and mix well. When the  mixture comes to a boil add prawns and adjust seasoning. 
    5. Simmer for five minutes or till cooked. Serve hot with rice.

Note :-I have not scraped but cut the coconut due to lack of a scraper and I have also added diced potatoes in the gravy since potatoes cooked in a fish gravy taste yummy!!!

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