That I love eating prawns is an understatement. We grew up on the smaller fresh water versions of its big brother - fresh water shrimps. It was a weekly delicacy in our house. We would jump with joy seeing the raw prawns turn into these glistening rubies of deliciousness, as soon as they hit the pan of hot oil! it was such an amazing sight to behold and the aroma of them wafting out of the kitchen would draw us in from wherever we were busy with whatever.
Then came my vegetarian phase where I had given up eating meat or fish for more than 15 years. To be honest, I never missed or yearned for any of the non-veg dishes. But hey ho, I got married into a Bengali family where a meal isn't complete without a fish dish. And I remember the first dish that my MIL cooked the day I decided to start eating fish again was the famous Bengali delicacy - Chingri Malai Curry and OMG, was it heavenly... That was the first time ever in my life I had tasted this delicious prawn dish and consider my MIL's version of the malai curry best ever in the whole world.
Coming back to prawns, this dish is not my creation but the original is from a magazine from years ago, (I do not even remember it's name unfortunately) which I had tweaked it a bit to my liking. The other day I was decluttering the book shelf and a yellowed, cut out page dropped off from one of my recipe books. I had the same feeling of euphoria as I do when I discover a dried leaf or a flower snugly left between the pages of a long forgotten book. I had made this a couple of times, but since we moved here I'd completely forgotten about it.
It is delicious and healthy too. Prawns are good source of selenium, one of the most effective antioxidants that helps maintain healthy cells. Prawns are a fantastic beauty food too. Astaxanthin (pigment that gives cooked prawns the red colour) protects skin from premature ageing while zinc helps regulate oil producing glands. Zinc also helps maintain a healthy immune system. If you are a prawn lover like me, you get to be doubly happy 'cause you know you are getting the best of both worlds.
Here's how the recipe goes...
Prep time: 15-20 mins
Cook time: 30 mins
400g raw king prawns, cleaned and deveined with head and tail on.
1 large onion, chopped.
4 garlic cloves
2 dry red chillies
2.5cm fresh ginger, made into a paste or chopped fine or grated.
200g cherry tomatoes, chopped
2 tsp mild curry powder (optional)
1tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp cumin powder
1tsp coriander powder
1tsp garam masala
3tbsps fat free probiotic Greek yogurt, whisked to smooth consistency
½ tsp ground cinnamon
Olive or vegetable oil for cooking
Salt to taste
Make a paste of onion, garlic and dry red chilli in a blender.
In a small bowl, make a paste of mild curry powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, cumin powder and garam masala with 2tbsp water.
Heat oil in a large sauté pan, add the onion paste, ginger paste and salt. Cook for 10-15 minutes on a medium low heat until the paste is dry, golden brown in colour, starts releasing oil and the raw smell of onion, ginger and garlic disappears.
Now add the chopped cherry tomatoes and the spice paste. Cook for another 10 minutes, stirring frequently to ensure the spice do not stick to the bottom of the pan.
Add the prawns, mix carefully with the sauce, taking care not to break the prawns. Remove the pan from heat, add the yogurt, mix well, and cook for 10 more minutes on medium low heat. Stir regularly. After 10 minutes, sprinkle the cinnamon powder mix and remove from the fire.
Delicious king prawn curry is ready. Serve it with quinoa salad.