We all love seafood and especially prawns is a hands down winner in it!
When we were kids, me and my brothers used to count as to how many each one would take, just to make sure none got more! Cos of that mom would place 2-3 pieces of prawns on each sibling’s plate or else count the number of prawns that she puts into the serving bowl and announce to us when we are seated for dinner…”there’s 12 pieces of prawns, and each one of you get 3 pieces (incl. Dad). So don’t take more, else consider it cut from your next prawns meal! 😛
Before marriage, like many of you I too didn’t know how to cook ( I know I’ve mentioned it before), but there was something that I knew. And that was to shell and de-vein prawns! Imagine. This is something people normally prefer to learn last because it’s smelly, dirty, disgusting, cumbersome….but this is what I learnt first. I was always fascinated by these little creatures, that from childhood I would stand next to mom and watch her shell and de-vein them. Initially, when I started watching her, I would be all… argh..yuck..what’s this greasy thing, how can you touch it’s head esp the eye part….and so on. But then eventually I started liking the whole conversion process – such huge monsters would suddenly be ripped off all its grandeur and be this small white curled-up little thing. I would tell mom, that it’s curled up because its ashamed it has no clothes on! 😛
Anyway, some time later mom fell ill for some time which meant that she couldn’t stand for long to clean the prawns and that obviously meant we couldn’t have prawns as frequently as we liked. And that’s when I made the bold decision that I’m going to learn the whole process of shelling and de-veining them. I still remember, the 1st day I decided, mom was lying down… I did a couple without much issues (atleast that’s what I thought) and would take them to amma for her to give her approval and she would tell me…moley, it’s ok. you don’t bother with this. Half the flesh of the prawn is inside the shell you threw. There’s no point eating half the prawn. But determined I was. Couple down and I got the hang of it. amma was impressed too, that i picked it up pretty fast. And then I took this one prawn….removed the head and SPLASH… some greenish brown dirty liquid squirted right over my dress and amma thought…that’s it. She’s never gonna eat prawns ever, atleast will never clean them! But no. I washed myself and came right back to it. That’s my love for prawns. Willing to do anything.
So enough with my history lesson with prawns and let’s get to the dish of the day – Prawns Masala. You’ve got to try this once and I guarantee it’s going to be a permanent in the house. My husband R says this is perfect for “kallu shaapu” (toddy shop) because it’s perfectly spiced ….that you’ll want to have more kallu to eat more of the prawns and more prawns to have some more kallu. :-P. Well, I don’t drink but I too think the spiciness of the prawns is well-balanced with its tartness that it’s perfect to eat with rice or chapathi. This is a quick dish that you can easily whip up in minutes (provided you’ve got the prawns cleaned already), especially when you’ve got unexpected guests.
Here’s what you need to make:
- Prawns – 500 grams
- Onion – 3, chopped
- Ginger-Garlic paste – 1 tablespoon
- Tomato – 1 chopped
- Chilli powder – 1 tablespoon (you may add/reduce)
- Coriander powder – 2 tablespoons
- Turmeric powder – 1/2 teaspoon
- Garam masala – 1/2 teaspoon
- Salt, to taste
- Curry leaves – 2 sprigs
- Coriander leaves, for garnish
- Lemon slices, for garnish
- Onion rings, for garnish
Shell, de-vein, and clean the prawns with salt and lemon juice. Wash it well.
In a saucepan, heat oil and add the chopped onions. Saute till it turns golden brown. Then add the ginger-garlic paste. Stir for a minute. To this, add the chopped tomatoes. Saute it till the tomatoes get pulpy and mashed.
Next, add the chilli powder, coriander powder, garam masala and turmeric powder. Saute it well for about 2-3 minutes till the powders lose its raw smell.
Add curry leaves and the prawns to the mix. Let the prawns get coated well in the masala by stirring it for another minute or so.
Add salt and a little water just to get the spices well mixed. Cover and cook the prawns for about 10 minutes or till it’s done.
You may garnish it with onion slices, coriander leaves and lemon slices.
That’s it! Your Prawns Masala is ready to be served (hot!)
You can add or reduce the chilli powder to suit your level of spiciness. Also, it depends a little on how big the prawns are.
This can be served dry, or with a thick or thin gravy. If you want it dry, so that it can be had as a starter/appetizer – then add very little water, cover the prawns and let it cook more in its steam. Serve it with onion rings and lemon wedges