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Coming back to today’s recipe, prawns are a favourite amongst many. I am no exception. I am glad that I can finally eat them after years of suffering an allergy. I totally love trying out new recipes and have a few lined up for you. First up, is this beautiful curry that is typical Mangalorean Catholic style redolent of our traditional cuisine and every sentiment of Mangalore I carry with me. There are many recipes that remind me of home and this is one of them.
I made this curry using tiger prawns (really large ones) but you can use any prawns. If you are using tiger prawns you can cut them into two (optional). This dish goes really well for your weekday meal. Serve it up with some steaming hot rice, some pickle on the side and perhaps a papad or two and relish it!
A traditional Mangalorean everyday recipe that goes really well with piping hot boiled (red) rice and some pickle on the side
- 350 grams tiger prawns or any other prawns, cleaned and deveined (about 20)
- 650-750 grams ash gourd (kuvalo)
- 1-2 small green chillies slit
- 1 inch ginger finely chopped
- 1-1/2 cups thin coconut milk
- 1 cup thick coconut milk
- Salt to taste
- 7-8 byadge chillies (long, dry red chillies)
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 8-10 peppercorns
- 1/2 teaspoon teaspoon turmeric powder
- 3 fat flakes of garlic
- 2 medium sized onions
- 1 cup cup grated coconut
- 1 marble sized ball of tamarind
- 1/2 medium sized onion, finely sliced
- 1 sprig of curry leaves
- 2-3 teaspoons coconut oil/ghee or any cooking oil
Clean, devein and keep the prawns aside. Peel the ash gourd, remove the pith and seeds and cut it into medium sized cubes.
On a skillet/tawa dry roast these ingredients one by one, separately: chillies, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, peppercorns – remove and let it cool for a bit. They will turn crisp.
Next, roast till the garlic and onions till the onions turn limp (if the onions burn/stick to the pan you can add 2-3 drops of oil). Remove and let it cool.
Grind the roasted spices first to a fine powder, then add the roasted garlic, onions and the coconut, turmeric and tamarind together using a little water. The masala should be fine.
In a heavy based pan or kadai cook the ash gourd with the thin coconut milk, salt, slit green chillies and chopped ginger till tender but not mushy. To this add the ground masala paste and the reserved masala water (derived from rinsing the grinding jar with approx. ½ cup water)
Check salt and bring the curry to a boil. Add the cleaned prawns and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for 1-2 minutes and then add the thick coconut milk. Do not cover the pan once the coconut milk is added or else the milk will curdle.
Prawns should not be overcooked or they will turn chewy (approx. 1-1/2 to 2 minutes in boiling curry is good). When you notice them curdled up and opaque, remove the pan from the heat. Cover
Heat oil or ghee in a small pan for seasoning. Toss in the curry leaves and then the sliced onions and fry till the onions turn golden brown. Pour this mixture into the prepared curry and immediately close the lid to trap the aroma and flavours.
Serve hot with rice.