Aunty Clara cooks but rarely. Like many working mothers, she doesn’t want to toil in the kitchen but still enjoy making a delicious meal for her family. When she does cook, we do get quite fancy Indian meals (to me, least). One of my favourite is her version of prawn paratel (‘paretal’ means dry curry).
On top of her family’s love for seafood, she likes that this dish is fast and easy to cook. It’s her go-to recipe when she doesn’t know what else to make. Compared to many Indian dishes that take hours to cook, prawn paretal only takes about 20 minutes. Besides, thawing frozen prawns is much faster than chicken meat.
Whenever she makes this dish – especially with a side of rasam – I will definitely help myself with more rice. If you like curry but feel overwhelmed with all the unfamiliar Indian spices, start with this dish. You could also try Easy Punjabi Curry Chicken.
Indian dishes can be easy to make. I’m usually thrill when I cook these (because growing in a Chinese household, curry is a treat), and because of all the beneficial antioxidant and nutrient from the abundance of herbs and spices.
- Pan and spatula
- Chopping board and knife
Easy Prawn Curry (Prawn Paretal)
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 1/2 inch ginger
- 6 cloves of garlic
- 1 (100 g) red onion
- 1 (100 g) large tomato
- 1 tbsp fish curry powder
- 20 pcs curry leaves
- 500 g prawns
- 1/4 cup water
- Sea salt to taste (suggestion: 1 tsp)
- Chicken stock granules, to taste (optional)
- Step 1 PREP: Peel ginger, garlic, and onion. Blend ginger, garlic, onion, tomato, and curry powder. Remove curry leaves from its stems. Clean and devein prawns (10 min)
- Step 2 FRY CURRY LEAVES: Heat 2 tbsp of oil in wok over medium-high fire. Fry curry leaves until fragrant (1 min)
- Step 3 COOK CURRY PASTE: Fry curry paste until it becomes dry and fragrant (10 min)
- Step 4 FRY PRAWNS: Add prawns, fry and mix well until prawn just turn pink. Turn fire to low. (1 min)
- Step 5 SEASON: Immediately add water and salt. Taste. If you like, add more salt or chicken stock powder. Stir a few times and dish out (1 sec).
- Step 6 SERVE: Serve hot with rice.
SHORT RECIPEBlend 1/2 inch ginger, 6 cloves garlic, 1 onion, 1 tomato. Fry 20 pcs curry leaves in 2 tbsp of oil. Fry curry paste until dry. Fry prawns. Add 1/4 cup water and salt.
PREP: Peel ginger, garlic, and onion. Blend ginger, garlic, onion, tomato, and curry powder. Remove curry leaves from its stems. Clean and devein prawns (10 min)
FRY CURRY LEAVES: Heat 2 tbsp of oil in wok over medium-high fire. Fry curry leaves until fragrant (1 min)
COOK CURRY PASTE: Fry curry paste until it becomes dry and fragrant (10 min)
FRY PRAWNS: Add prawns, fry and mix well until prawn just turn pink. Turn fire to low. (1 min)
SEASON: Immediately add water and salt. Taste. If you like, add more salt or chicken stock powder. Stir a few times and dish out (1 sec).
SERVE: Serve hot with rice.
- Don’t overcook prawns When prawn change colour, it’s time to take them out.
- Add extra spice. The given recipe is a simplified version. My partner’s mother cook with cinnamon sticks and a spice she fondly call ‘talipu’. If you can, add 1 tsp of cinnamon and 1 tsp of Indian mixed spices (fenugreek, fennel, mustard, cumin seeds) to blend with curry paste. It give the dish more flavour. Mixed Fenugreek Spice/ Tallipu
- Use coconut milk/ powder. Instead of water, you can add coconut milk or add 1/2 tbsp of coconut powder.
- Use good quality spice powder. Every Malaysian Indian cook advised to me is “Use good quality spice powder!”. Some even ask me to grind my own spices. I never knew the importance until I made Easy Punjabi Chicken Curry back to back. The first two times, I used the spice powder which Aunty Gucci blended. The third time, I got spices from a generic brand from a supermarket. The difference is obvious. From then on, I am rather picky with my spices. I normally buy in small quantity. If I can, I will buy whole spices and pound them. For this dish, I was told to use Baba’s brand.