Recipe: Spicy prawn and tomato curry

I’ve never made a prawn curry before, and my first attempt turned out pretty well, thanks to the great recipe I used by Meena Pathak – who with her husband set up the Patak’s brand of curry sauces. I used a recipe from Pathak’s book Flavours of India, which was published in 2002, but it’s got some great recipes in it so well worth buying even though it’s more than a decade old. I made a few tiny changes to the recipe, outlined below, but have given Pathak’s instructions as well, so you can choose what you want to do.

1. Heat three tbsp of oil in a wok, and add a tsp of cumin seeds. When they start crackling add 200g of chopped onions (roughly three small onions). Cook for 10 minutes, lid off, stirring occasionally.

2. Add a tsp each of fresh crushed garlic and fresh crushed ginger (Pathak recommends using pastes), and fry for a minute.

3. Add 250g of fresh, chopped tomatoes (roughly four good sized tomatoes), and half a tsp each of red chilli powder and turmeric. Cook for 10 minutes, lid on, stirring occasionally.

4. When the oil starts separating from the sauce add 250g of king prawns (Pathak’s recipe uses 400g of large prawns, which will make the recipe a little less spicy), and a little salt to taste. I used frozen prawns. Pathak also uses a pinch of sugar, but I don’t like using sugar in savoury recipes. Cook for 10 minutes, lid off, stirring occasionally, until the prawns turn pink.

5. Add half a tsp each of crushed red chillis, crushed black peppercorns, crushed fennel seeds and crushed coriander seeds. Pathak uses fennel powder, but I only had seeds handy, so just crushed everything bar the chillis together in a pestle and mortar myself.

6. Cook for about two minutes, and it’s ready. If you have it handy, Pathak recommends stirring in some fresh coriander just before taking it off the heat, and sprinkling some on top as well. I served the dish with chapattis and Greek yoghurt.


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