I am a huge fan of seafood. I absolutely love prawns and crabs and I like fish cooked in unique styles too. To me, seafood is the epitome of exotic on a plate. Growing up in a house where fish was an integral part of our meals all week round, I began to dislike the traditional Mangalorean way that it is generally cooked and hence cut down on eating fish all through my college years (there’s only so much fish curry I can handle.) However, I absolutely cannot resist a good prawn or shrimp dish.
My mom was coming to town and I wanted to cook a nice lunch for my parents, and I had a pack of frozen prawns lying in the freezer. My first instinct was to maybe try cooking a Thai curry with coconut milk and kaffir lime leaves, but I didn’t have any Thai curry paste at home nor could I find kaffir lime leaves anywhere. After a long search on the internet, I stumbled upon a recipe for a quick easy prawn gravy that has really distinct flavors and has the wholeness of a well-spiced, well-seasoned dish.
This gravy has plenty of ingredients lending it gorgeous flavors and textures. I have never tasted anything like it; I’ve had prawns cooked by my mom in the traditional Mangalorean way (absolutely yummy!) and numerous prawn and shrimp dishes in restaurants cooked in Thai gravies and Chinese sauces, grilled and crispy fried, but this gravy was different. It satisfied my want for a really tantalizing prawn dish packed with flavors and all the goodness of a home-cooked meal.
Here’s what you’re going to need:
- Prawns – 500 g
- Turmeric Powder – 3/4 tsp
- Lemon Juice – 1 and 1/2 tbsp
- Oil – 3 tbsp
- Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
- Fennel seeds – 1 tsp
- Black Peppercorns – 1/2 tsp, crushed
- Onion – 1, chopped finely
- Garlic – 4 cloves, chopped
- Tomato – 1, cubed
- Red Chilly Powder – 1 and 1/2 tsp
- Coriander Powder – 2 and 1/2 tsp
- Curry Leaves – 6 to 8
- Salt – to taste
- Coriander leaves – for garnish
Here’s how you prepare the Spicy Prawn Gravy:
- Marinate the cleaned prawns with the turmeric powder, lemon juice and a pinch of salt and pop them into the fridge.
- Heat the oil and fry the mustard seeds. When they start to splutter, add the fennel seeds, crushed black peppercorns, onion and garlic. Fry till onions are translucent and have a golden tinge.
- Then add the tomatoes, red chilly and coriander powders and fry for 2 minutes.
- Add the salt and curry leaves; cook for one minute.
- Add in the marinated prawns and cook for 3 minutes on low heat.
- Turn off heat and garnish with fresh coriander.
There you go! A super easy and super delicious spicy prawn gravy that is sure to satisfy your seafood craving.
This dish is a showstopper in itself; it does not need another side dish to accompany it. Serve this up with some fragrant Basmati rice or with chapatis, rotis or parathas and your meal is ready. My mom loved this gravy, but we all found it a little too spicy – the original recipe called for 1 and 1/2 tbsp of red chilly powder! Though I reduced it by a bit, it was a tad bit spicier than our liking. (don’t worry, I’ve written the revised quantity in the recipe above) Also, don’t cook the prawns for longer than 3 minutes or until they can be pricked through. I kept my prawns cooking for about 4 minutes and they ended up being a little tough.
So if you’re a seafood lover and you want to put together an aromatic flavorful prawn dish for your loved ones, and if you like your food to be ready quickly, like I do (it’s not that I don’t have patience, I just can’t wait for a long while to taste the food I’m cooking!) then this is the perfect Spicy Prawn Gravy for you. Try it out, you will not regret it.