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.


Coconut & Mackerel Curry

I am fairly certain I am addicted to curry. I can only really go a week without one before I start to get to get uncomfortable cravings and I would usually rather have a curry over almost anything else. People say that it is the chilli I am addicted to, but I don’t think so. I think it is the whole spice package that you can only get with a nice curry that I’m after. I never used to cook much in the way of curries, having tried a few mediocre recipes and getting mediocre results, I resigned myself to a life of having to have people cook my curry for me, and then I discovered Indian Food Made Easyand every recipe I have made from it has been great. Great, and, as the title suggests, easy.

I’ve adapted this recipe from the said book. I can kind of hear people thinking… I don’t like mackerel… Well, neither do I normally but cooked like this it’s delish, I promise. And mackerel is very cheap and very good for you indeed. Win Win. This is a fairly hot curry, anyway, so if you don’t like it too hot I suggest halving the quantity of chilli powder. Serves 4.

  • 450-500g fresh mackerel, get it cleaned and the heads removed and then cut into chunks 1-2 inches thick. The bones in will flavour the sauce and keep the fish together. Bones are obviously not a problem unless you are a small child or very elderly.
  • 25oml coconut milk
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion
  • handful of cherry tomatoes or 1 or 2 normal tomatoes
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 10g ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp tamarind paste
  • 25 leaves
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp  ground coriander
  • 350 ml water
  • salt & pepper

Ok, so. Heat your oil in a large pan and fry the fenugreek , half the curry leaves and cumin seeds for 1o or so seconds, and then add the onions, salt & pepper. Cook over a medium heat for 6- 8 minutes until the onion is soft and golden. Meanwhile, put the garlic, ginger, tomato and the remaining dry spices in a blender and whizz into a paste. When the onions are cooked, add the spice paste and continue to cook over a high heat for another 10 minutes. If it gets a bit dry you can add a splash of the water. After the 10 minutes have elapsed, you add the rest of the water and bring it up to the boil. Add the fish and the remaining curry leaves, bring back to the boil again and cook for 3-4 mins. Stir in the tamarind paste, and, when the fish is cooked – a matter of minutes depending on how thickly you’ve cut it, add the coconut milk. Stir, and taste. If you’d like it a bit more sour, add more tamarind . Serve with plain rice.