I first came across this recipe in the book “Indian Cooking”, by Naomi Good.
I agree wholeheartedly with fish Guru Rick Stein when he talks with such passion about Indian seafood – it is one of Indian cuisine’s great secrets.
Everyone seems familiar with all those chicken and meat curries, but the seafood often sadly slips under the radar.
This is the kind of Indian food I love – something that can be put together in next to no time with a few spices any well stocked kitchen should have readily to hand, and that great freezer staple, cooked frozen prawns.
This dish may well be one that comes under the category “quick and easy”, but that doesn’t mean that it is lacking in taste – far from!
One word of caution – as the name of the dish implies, chillies, both fresh and powdered, play a rather important role here. This dish should start from a point best described as “quite hot”, and can be made as mouth meltingly hot as you dare, so if you are not the world’s biggest lover of the sacred fiery fruit then perhaps you should be looking elsewhere!
- about 200g cooked prawns – see notes
- ½ a red onion, finely chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- ½ inch piece of fresh ginger, finely chopped
- fresh hot chillies, finely chopped – see notes
- 1 tsp hot chilli powder – see notes
- 1 tsp turmeric
- about 2 tbsp coconut oil for frying
- fresh lemon juice
- Heat the coconut oil over medium heat in a large non-stick frying pan.
- Fry the onion for about 2 minutes, until it starts to soften.
- Add the chillies and ginger. Fry for a further 5 minutes or so.
- Add the garlic, chilli powder, and turmeric. Continue to fry for a further 2 minutes. Add a splash of hot water if things threaten to stick.
- Add about a cup of water to the pan. Bring up to a low simmer.
- Simmer on low heat for about 15 minutes. You’re aiming for a thick sauce once the spices and vegetables have had a chance to cook out, so keep an eye on the consistency of the sauce, and add a splash of water if required from time to time.
- Remove from the heat, and allow to cool somewhat. Stir in the prawns.
- Squeeze over the juice of about ½ a lemon. Serve – see serving suggestion.
Serve on a bed of crispy lettuce leaves, with plenty of extra leaves on the side. The leaves act as an excellent Paleo alternative to Indian unleavened breads, such as chapattis.
- If using frozen prawns, ensure that they are thoroughly defrosted and give them plenty of time to come up to room temperature before serving. You could of course use raw prawns, and cook them in the sauce – I simply used pre-cooked for speed and convenience.
- Chillies – Here I used a beautiful yellow Habanero for its sweet but deadly flavour, not to mention its pretty colour, and off-set that with the warm heat from the dried chilli powder, which also brings its deep red colour to the finished dish.
- If you don’t have fresh ginger, chillies, and garlic in, you can easily substitute their powdered form without unduly affecting the quality of the finished dish.