Growing up, we always had some kind of seafood cooked at home. So in a way, rice and fish was and always will be staple food for me. Also, growing up in Mumbai meant that we had excellent quality and variety of seafood available locally. I have such fond memories of my mom standing in the kitchen cooking fish or prawns for my sister and me. She cooked them in so many ways that one could never get bored eating them. However, this is not one of her dishes! It’s just that my mother loved her fish-fare, and she’s surely passed this love on to me – I cannot cook or relish seafood and not think of her.
The recipe of the day is one that has been lovingly passed down to me by Susheel’s (my husband) mom. Another mom who loves fish! When my husband and I were living in Hyderabad after our wedding, often she would get some prawns with her usual purchase of fish from the market and prepare this dish for us. What is great about it is that there is no ceremony to this dish; it is Kerala style Prawn Fry, quite simply. It’s not a masala fry, pepper fry or anything like that. It is a traditional Malayali preparation, in that, the ingredients used in the dish such as, coconut oil, black mustard seeds, curry leaves etc. represent and exemplify the tradition taste of Keralan cuisine.
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Prep time: 10 minutes
You will need:
- Prawns- 300 gms, cleaned, de-veined and de-shelled
- Onions- 1 large, sliced
- Garlic- 7-8 cloves, sliced
- Ginger- 2” piece, julienned
- Green chillies- 2 nos, slit in the middle
- Curry leaves- 2 sprigs
- Coconut oil- 2 big tablespoons
- Turmeric powder- ½ tsp
- Red chilli powder- 2 tsp
- Black pepper powder- 1 tsp
- Back mustard seeds- 1 tsp
- Salt- to taste
- In a small pot, add the fresh prawns, a pinch of salt, ¼ tsp turmeric powder, 1 tsp red chilli powder and a tiny splash of water. Mix well and cook covered for 5 minutes on low-medium heat. You will see the prawns curling up and getting firm and having a very orangish hue to it. Remove from heat and set aside on a plate.
(Note– if there is some masala water from the cooking of the prawns, please keep it aside to be used later in the cooking.
- While the prawns are cooking, slice the onions, ginger, garlic and green chilies. Place a pan on medium-high heat and splutter the black mustard seeds in oil. (the mustard seeds are to be added only after the oil is literally smoking hot)
- Now fry the onions till they are light brown and then add the ginger juliennes along with the sliced garlic, slit green chillies and the curry leaves. Sauté for 2-3 minutes or until the raw taste disappears.
- Add the remaining turmeric and red chilli powder now and fry for 1 minute. If you feel the dry spices are burning then add the masala water kept aside from the cooking of the prawns. Mix this well and cook for 1-2 minutes or until the mixture is well cooked.
- Add the previously cooked prawns to the mixture and combine well. Add the black pepper powder and check for the salt. Fry the prawns till it is well coated in the onion masala and gets a little crispy. (we don’t want to overcook the prawns so taste one and decide if further frying is required)
- Once, the prawns are fried well, remove on a plate and serve hot with accompaniment of choice. Enjoy!
I hope you like this recipe just like I do!
I look forward to your comments and experience of cooking this dish.