Large king prawns marinated in rich coconut cream, plenty of spices and chilli powder, served with a squeeze of fresh lime.
- 6 extra-large raw king prawns, intestinal tract removed
- ½ tsp turmeric powder
- salt, to taste
- 50 ml mustard oil
- 1 tbsp ghee
- ½ tsp cumin seeds
- 3-cm piece cinnamon stick
- 3 green cardamom pods, crushed
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2-3 cm piece ginger, minced
- 1 cup thinly sliced red onions
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ tsp Kashmiri red chilli powder
- 1½ tsp Bengali garam masala (see below)
- 1 tbsp grated jaggery
- 300 ml coconut cream
- 1 lime, cut into wedges
- chopped coriander and steamed rice, to serve
Bengali garam masala
- 4 cinnamon sticks, crushed
- 8 green cardamom pods
- 5 cloves
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
- Thread each prawn lengthwise onto a small bamboo skewer, then place in a shallow dish. Sprinkle with the turmeric and a good pinch of salt, toss gently and stand for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, for the Bengali garam masala, place the spices in a dry frying pan over medium-low heat and cook, shaking the pan occasionally until fragrant. Transfer to a mortar and pestle or spice grinder and grind into a powder. The garam masala will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 months.
- Heat all but 1 teaspoon of mustard oil in a large frying pan over high heat. When hot, add the prawns and cook for 1 minute on each side. You just want them lightly browned but not cooked through. Remove the prawns from the pan and set aside.
- Add 1 tablespoon of ghee to the pan. Add the cumin, cinnamon and cardamom and stir over low heat just until fragrant. Add the garlic and ginger and stir for 1 minute, then add the onion and a pinch of salt. Increase the heat to medium and cook until lightly caramelised. Transfer the mixture to a blender and blitz into a smooth paste.
- Return the onion and spice paste back to the pan over medium heat. Add the bay leaf, red chilli powder, jaggery and 1 ½ teaspoons Bengali garam masala and stir to combine well. Gradually stir in the coconut cream until well combined. If the sauce is too thick, add a little water. Bring to a gentle simmer, then add the prawns and spoon the gravy over the top of the prawns. Cover and cook for 2-3 minutes. Turn the heat off completely and allow the prawns to cook in the residual heat for another few minutes.
- Spoon the sauce onto a serving plate, top with the prawns, squeeze over a wedge of lime and drizzle with the remaining teaspoon of mustard oil. Scatter with chopped coriander and serve with rice and the remaining lime wedges.
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Photography by Andrew Dorn.