When I buy a tray of fresh prawns from my local fishmonger, the excitement can be likened to that of a child at the circus. I am never left without inspiration when I cook prawns and often feel like I want to make not only one but a few different dishes to really make the most of them. Especially as they are not the cheapest of ingredients and are considered quite a treat by my family and I.
I decided to make a creamy coconut curry with the prawns over the weekend and wanted to use the shells and heads to infuse even more prawn flavour into the curry so I made a simple stock with water, garlic, lemon zest and the prawn heads and shells and allowed this to simmer for 30-45 minutes until the liquid was an opaque pink and tasted of the sea. After removing the shells, heads and flavourings I allowed the liquid to reduce by half over high heat. This was then added to the fragrant coconut base which the prawns were poached in.
Of course you can serve this curry with steamed rice (I would suggest Jasmine rice) but I really love it served with crispy poppadoms or chewy Naan bread. I didn’t want to deep fry the poppadoms so instead I microwaved them and I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome. They didn’t puff up like they do when cooked in hot oil but they did go deliciously crisp without being overly oily.
Serve the curry and poppadoms with fresh coriander, ice cold beers and finger bowls for a scrumptious casual dinner with friends.
- 1kg (2.2 pounds) prawns, de-veined
- 1l water
- 2 garlic cloves, sliced
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1 red onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 3cm (1.18 inches) piece of fresh ginger, grated
- 1 tablespoon garam masala/curry powder of your choice (I use a hot Mother-in-law spice I buy from my local spice shop)
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 x 400ml (13.53 fluid ounces) tin coconut cream
- salt to taste
- fresh coriander
- fresh lemon wedges
- steamed Jasmine rice
- To make the prawn stock, remove the shells and heads from the prawns and place them in a pot. (place the prawn meat in a bowl and keep refrigerated.)
- Add the water, garlic and lemon to the prawn shells and place over a medium heat. Allow to simmer for 30-45 minutes, covered, until the liquid is opaque pink and tastes of the sea.
- Strain the heads, shells, garlic & lemon from the liquid and place the liquid back over a high heat.
- Allow to reduce by half and set aside.
- To make the curry, fry the onion, garlic and ginger until soft and translucent.
- Add the garam masala, spices and sugar and allow to fry for another minute.
- Add the coconut cream and prawn stock and allow to simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add the prawn meat and allow to poach gently for 3-5 minutes. If at this stage you see the sauce is too thin, mix 2 teaspoons cornflour with 2 teaspoons water and add to the curry. Allow to cook for 2 minutes until the sauce has thickened.
- Season to taste and serve.