Monday, 23 January 2012

Prawn Curry

I like prawns, and as you may have noticed, I love curry. And so over time I’ve worked on what I now think is pretty close to being the perfect prawn curry (although this is also brilliant but as it’s not my creation...).

You can of course use ready ground spices if you like but it really is worth the effort in toasting & grinding your own as it definitely will affect the flavour for the better.

Cardamom has a uniquely strong spicy sweet taste and an intensely aromatic, almost resinous fragrance. I chose to also use black cardamom here as I like the distinctly smokey aroma and flavour it adds. Black cardamoms are larger than the usual green and wrinkled.

Using low fat yoghurt makes this pretty healthy as well, though you can substitute with full fat if you prefer, or even coconut milk, though I think yoghurt is better here. The great thing about using prawns too is that once the prep is out of the way (and it’s not that much effort to do a bit of chopping and grinding) this is really quick to cook making it pretty much perfect for a weekday evening.

And of course it is very, very tasty.

Prawn Curry
Serves 2

1 tbsp groundnut oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 large cloves of garlic, chopped
1 inch ginger, peeled and chopped
2 chillies (red or green - up to you)
½ cinnamon stick
3 green cardamon pods
1 black cardamom pod
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
¼ teaspoon coriander seeds
½ teaspoon turmeric
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
6 black peppercorns
small tin chopped tomatoes
½ tsp sugar
5 curry leaves
3 tbsp natural low fat yoghurt
250g raw prawns
3 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
¼ tsp garam masala

Dry fry the whole spices (not the turmeric or cayenne) in a small frying pan over a medium high heat until fragrant. Set the cardamom pods and cinnamon stick to one side and then grind the rest of the spices using a pestle and mortar.

Put the onion, garlic, ginger and chillies in a spice grinder and and blend to a paste.

Put 1 tbsp of oil in a pan over a medium-high heat and add the onion paste, cooking for a few minutes until any liquid has evaporated off and it is starting to colour. Add the spice mix and whole spices and continue to fry, stirring all the time for a minute or so.

Add the chopped tomatoes, curry leaves and sugar and keep stirring and cooking until you have a fairly thick, reddish brown paste.

Take off the heat and stir in the yoghurt, gradually so that it all mixes in well without the yoghurt splitting.

Add about 125ml water and return to the heat. Bring to the boil then simmer quite hard for about 5 mins until the sauce has thickened.

Add the prawns and cook until they turn pink - which will only only take a few minutes. Be careful not to overcook them or they will be tough and rubbery.

Stir in the garam masala and chopped coriander with a good squeeze of lemon juice. Taste to check the seasoning and adjust carefully if necessary.

Serve with basmati rice.

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