I’ve been meaning to post about my cooking for a while and many of you keep asking whenever I post pictures of dishes on facebook or Instagram. When it comes to cooking my major concern is to simplify the whole process as well as reduce the time taken to cook it. I never spend whole days cooped up in the kitchen. I have a full time job and two dogs and all the other aspects of my adult life which need to be taken care of. I read a recipe online and if it takes too long I simply lose interest. Don’t get me wrong, I love slow-cooked dishes, but only when they are served to me either in a restaurant or in someone’s house. Aint nobody got time for that!
Long story short, I’m quite lazy when it comes down to cooking on a daily basis. Hence I’m always on a lookout for quick, easy to follow and remember recipes to jazz up things in the kitchen and yet churn out a decent meal or two for the humans.Without further ado, I present my very first food post, a recipe which most foodies love but are scared when time comes to venture into the kitchen. I can imagine kitchen experts and foodies rolling their eyes already as they can forecast near disaster dishes which will find their home in a garbage can). The time is crucial here and first timers can require a couple of minutes more to figure out their way around the kitchen but I promise a plate of rewarding deliciousness in the end of such efforts. All I ask is be patient with me and I will show you the quickest way into your own heart with food cooked by your own hands.
Bengali-Style Prawn Malay Curry (In Under 30 Minutes)
Prep Time: 10 mins, Cook Time: 15 mins, Total Time: 25 mins.
Tiger Prawns (with heads) 10-12 pcs
Mustard oil 4-6 tbsp
Bay Leaves 1 large
Cardamom (whole) 4 pcs
Cloves (whole) 6 pcs
Cinnamon (whole) 1 medium
Onion (roughly chopped) 1 large
Tomatoes (roughly chopped) 1 medium
Ginger Paste 2 tsp
Garlic Paste ½ tsp
Red Chilli Powder ½ tsp
Turmeric Powder ½ tsp
Green Chillies (slit) 2 pcs
Fresh Coconut (ground to paste) 1 cup
Salt to taste
Sugar 2-3 tsp
Raisins for garnish
Clean the prawns at home or have them cleaned at the fish market to avoid hassle. Add salt and turmeric and set aside.
In a frying pan or skillet, heat 4 tbsp oil and add the prawns one by one (to avoid separating the heads). They will begin to change colour immediately. Do not crowd the prawns in the skillet or they wont cook evenly. Fry on high flame for a minute and then turn them over and fry for another 1 minute until golden and take them out in a dish.
Remember, do not overcook or deep fry the prawns or they will become rubbery and lose their flavour.
Next, in the same pan, add the leftover oil, bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, cardamom and cloves. When the fragrance of the whole spices begin to rise, add the onions and saute until translucent.
Add the ginger paste, garlic paste, salt, sugar, turmeric and red chilli powder and continue frying.
Once the raw garlic smell dissipates add the tomatoes and green chillies and cook until the ingredients change into a brown colour. You will notice at this point that the oil separates from the mixture and all of it forms a sort of lumpy paste on one side of the pan.
Add a half a cup of warm water and stir the paste. You will notice that the paste now looks more yellow than brown. Next add the coconut paste and stir for a minute or so.
Add two more cups of warm water, mix well and bring the gravy to a boil on medium flame.
Once it begins to bubble, arrange the prawns one by one very gently in the gravy. Put the flame on low and boil it for 5 minutes till most of the liquid is evaporated and the gravy thickens. Check the seasoning and add more sugar if you like your coconut curry the classic Bengali way Lastly, add the garam masala powder, give it a quick stir and take it off the flame.
Your Prawn Malay Curry is done and ready to be plated up with some with cooked aromatic fine-grained rice. Garnish with some grated coconut, raisins and
green chillies. Dive into the creamy goodness and pat yourself on the back on having perfected the art of Bengali cooking.
Note: If the coconut is overripe and chewy, grind it and strain the milk. Add some warm water and squeeze out the last drops of milk from the fibrous remains. You may later use a couple of teaspoons of the remains to add some texture to the gravy or for garnish. If the coconut is on the tender side, grind to a fine paste in the mixer and use it directly in the gravy.