Singapore Prawn Curry

This is another recipe adapted from Madhur Jaffrey’s excellent  Ultimate Curry Bible. It may seem like a lot of ingredients on first glance, but it is just a matter of measuring teaspoons of things out for the most part and the remainder of the recipe is very simple. Besides, in terms of depth of flavour and ‘nnnhhnmmm, omg’ ness, the ends do definitely justify the means. Maybe I am biased – my love for prawn curries and my romance with tamarind would predispose me to liking this, but still it is good. Despite the creaminess of the coconut milk, the tamarind and paprika make this a bright and spicy curry of medium heat. Madhur specifies this should be eaten with rice – and if Madhur says so, then ordinarily rice it must be. But I have run out of rice, so chappatis it must be for our tea tonight. No-one will mind.

  • 4 tbsp yellow oil such as corn or sunflower
  • 1 tsp whole cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp whole fennel seeds
  • 1/4 tsp whole fenugreek seeds
  • 3 shallots, very finely sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 large tomatoes – peeled and chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 250 ml water
  • 1 tbsp ground corainder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp tamarind paste
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 750g raw prawns
  • 400 ml coconut milk

Please, please peel your tomatoes. Tomato skin doesn’t taste all that nice, and given the cost of the prawns, this two minute job will really improve the finished dish. Simply, boil a kettle and pour it into a bowl. Cut a cross in the top and the bottom of the tomato with a sharp knife, cutting the skin but not too deeply into the flesh. Leave them in there for about a minute and then remove them. By the time they have cooled down, the skin will slip off.

Anyway, heat the oil in a large wide pan, and put in the cumin seed, the fenugreek and the fennel seed. Give them a quick stir and when theu start to pop and jump out of the pan, put in your galic and shallots and fry over a gentle heat until the shallots are soft and golden. Stir in the ginger and chopped tomato and cook, stirring, until the tomatoes have softened down – bashing them with the wooden spoon will help this process considerably. When you are satisfied, stir in the remaining spices and the salt until well combined with the shallots, and then stir in the water. Cook this over a medium heat for 15 minutes.

Add your prawns and coconut milk, stirring over a medium heat until the sauce is simmering and the prawns are opaque. Eat.


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