A Kerala-style prawn curry scented with kokum or fish tamarind (a tart fruit grown extensively on India’s western coast; it’s used to add a mellow sourness to fish and other seafood curries). Kokum, unlike tamarind has a less harsh acidic flavor and is an excellent digestive too. If you can’t lay your hands on kokum, tamarind pulp works too; just remember to use only a little since you don’t want the sourness to overpower the delicate sweetness of the prawns. The curry needs fresh grated, coconut but dried coconut flakes re hydrated in warm water for about 30 minutes would work equally well. The spices in the recipe are very easy to find and once you have made your spice paste or masala, the rest is a breeze.This is a mild creamy curry, you can increase the heat if you like. It’s best eaten fresh with plain rice but we enjoyed it with dosas (crisp, South Indian rice crepes).
500 g medium sized prawns shelled and De-veined1/2 a fresh coconut grated4 shallots finely chopped2 big garlic cloves finely chopped1 inch piece of fresh ginger finely chopped1/2 tsp black peppercorns1/2 tsp turmeric powder1/2 tsp cayenne (chilly powder)1 tsp coriander powder2 green chilies slit and De-seeded2 pieces of kokum soaked in a little water or 1/2 tsp tamarind pulpSalt1 tbsp vegetable or coconut oil4-5 curry leaves1 tsp black mustard seeds
1. In a spice grinder, make a smooth paste with the fresh coconut, peppercorns, turmeric, coriander and chilly powders using a little water as required.2. Heat oil in a pan till hot and throw in the mustard seed and curry leaves. Reduce the heat to low and add the shallots, garlic and ginger and saute till translucent, for about a minute.3. Now add the coconut paste and green chilies and fry for 2-3 min before adding a cup of water to get a thick gravy. Cover and simmer for 5 min on low heat.4. Finally, add the prawns and salt and cook covered for no more than 10-12 min till the prawns are done but succulent. Serve with plain steamed rice.
Full recipe: Coconut Prawn Curry