Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Spicy Masala Shrimp (prawns)

We went to the fish-stall yesterday and bought shrimp as they looked quite fresh in their shells. The store-keeper was very helpful and offered to de-shell as well as de-vein the prawns. How nice! Obviously, we took up on the offer and brought home about a 1/4 kg of cleaned prawns.

Prawns sauteed in butter and seasoned with freshly ground pepper and salt tastes divine. However, it is not so healthy. But then, prawns being what they are, they taste quite divine when cooked with desi spices too.
Spicy Masala Prawns
Ingredients (makes enough for 2-3):
[Don't be daunted by the long list. The recipe is quite easy to make.]

Marinate:
1/4 kg cleaned prawns
1 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp red chili powder
3 tsp garlic powder (optional)

Mix all the ingredients together and leave in fridge overnight or outside for a couple of hours.

To Season:
Oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
2 broken red chillis
1/8 tsp asafoetida (hing)
7-8 torn curry leaves

To cook:
1 tbsp ginger paste
1 tbsp garlic paste
1 long green chilli, chopped fine
25 shallots, peeled and sliced
1 tbsp cilantro, chopped
1 medium tomato, chopped
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp dhania powder
1/2 tsp black pepper powder
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp Kashmiri chili powder (optional)
1/2 tsp fennel powder
Oil
Salt

Method:

[Remember to bring prawns to room temperature before starting to cook.]
1. Put a wide non-stick pan on a stove on medium heat and add oil enough to coat base of the pan.
2. Add the seasoning ingredients in the following order: mustard seeds and red chilis. When mustard begins to crackle, add hing followed by curry leaves.
3. Add the ginger, garlic and green chilis. Stir all the while to make sure nothing burns.
4. When the above mixture begins to turn color, add chopped coriander leaves and stir for a couple of seconds.
5. Toss in the onions and sufficient salt (remember, you have already added some salt to the prawns).
6. Stir fry the onions till they turn golden-brown and then add in the masala powders other than fennel powder (chili, dhania, turmeric, pepper, garam masala, kashmiri chili).
7. Stir fry for a few seconds and then add in chopped tomatoes and mix in well.
8. Add about 2-3 tbsp of water, cover the pan, lower the heat and allow it to cook till the tomatoes turn mushy (about 2-3 minutes).
9. Increase the heat, uncover the pan and continue stir frying till all the water has almost evaporated
10. Toss in the prawns and spread them so each prawn has contact with base of the pan.
11. Once the prawns have changed color, flip them and cook the other side.
12. Prawns cook really fast - so steps 10 and 11 should be done in under 3 minutes. Do not overcook prawns or they will become rubbery.
13. Adjust salt as necessary. Sprinkle fennel powder and mix it in to spread it evenly.
14. Switch off heat and serve after 10 minutes or so. If you plan to serve later, when you reheat, try to do it on the stove and  reheat only till the prawns masala heats through (about 1-2 minutes).

Goes very well with hot, steamed rice or if you are feeding tongues of steel, as an appetizer by itself!

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