There’s been a slight lull on the blog (and Instagram story-recipe) front at the moment, and it’s got as much to do with procrastination as it does with, hear me out, attempting to eat the same thing every day. For most of the week, I follow a specific “diet” – not a weight loss one, but rather a meal plan to get the right proportions of carbs, fats, and protein into what I’m eating. Just to give you an example, for dinner, I’ve been eating 200 grams of prawns, 1 ½ cups of rice and ½ a cup of yogurt. There are a lot of upsides to this. Aside from being cognizant of exactly how much food your body needs for proper functioning—not over-eating or under-eating as the case may be—I feel more focused and energetic through the course of the day and my stomach feels lighter. Also, meal-planning can be a breeze. (As a side note, this is definitely my husband’s influence on me. Blame him).
The downside, and the biggest one has been that it’s been hard to experiment with new recipes under these constraints. I have a few staples that I change around but my primary elements stay the same. At least that’s how it’s been until I realized just recently that working with limitations such as these can make this experience all the more fun. A veritable mystery box of sorts: you know the ingredients, and have to come up with completely different dishes incorporating all those same ingredients.
Please bear with me until I figure this out, but in the meantime, here’s the prawn and coconut curry I’ve been eating for one week straight. And no, I’m not bored of it yet. As all curries from Kerala go, there’s lots of coconut in this recipe. And I use coconut oil too (can never have too much coconut), but feel free to use any kind you want. I’ve only ever used prawns here, but I can see how fish would also work really well.
- 500 grams small or medium prawns (shelled and deveined)
- 5 shallots, thinly sliced
- 2 sprigs of curry leaves
- 4 inch piece of tamarind or tamarind pulp
- 1 tbsp coconut oil (or other oil of your choice)
- Salt, to taste
- 1/2 cup fresh coconut, grated
- 1 1/2 tsp chilli powder
- 3 tsp coriander powder
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 6 cloves of garlic
- 1 inch piece of ginger
- 8 small shallots, peeled
- If using dried tamarind, soak in ½ cup of hot water for 10 minutes. Squeeze and mash the pods with your fingers. Remove any stringy bits and seeds and discard. Set aside the pulpy water. (If it’s too hard to do with your hands, once it’s been soaked, blend with the water and strain. Use the pulpy water).
- Add the ingredients listed under ‘coconut paste’ to a blender jar and blend to a smooth paste. Set aside.
- Heat coconut oil in a deep pot or skillet and sauté shallots until lightly browned. Add the ground coconut paste, curry leaves and salt and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently. You want the paste to cook through and darken, about 7-10 minutes.
- Once the spice paste is aromatic and significantly darker, add the tamarind water along with 3 cups of water. Cover and cook over medium heat for 12-15 minutes. (Add more water and cook for a few minutes if you'd like a looser consistency, or cook uncovered for a few minutes if you want it thicker). Taste and adjust seasoning.
- Add the prawns and cook for a few minutes depending on the size of prawns you’re using. Serve hot with rice.
*Adapted from The Suriani Kitchen by Lathika George
This looks so yummy. Got an ideas for a vegetarian prawn substitute for this? Also a recipe request… can you share any recipes you have for Thai curry? A family friend has given us some kaffir limes with that unique smell and I just keep thinking of a nice coconut thai curry or coconut soup…
I think green mango would work well here as a vegetarian substitute. I have a Thai curry paste recipe on here that you could use. Cook down the paste in a little oil until it’s aromatic. Add coconut milk, kaffir lime leaves if you have any or the rind of kaffir limes. A good squeeze of the juice and that would make for a nice soup!