Published on January 26th, 2013 |
by Cynthia Bazan-Washington
Cynful Eats: Coconut Curry Prawns
On my 21st birthday I was given a cookbook titled Hot and Spicy Caribbean (DeWitt, Wilan, Stock). I opened it up, perused the recipes and then put it away, as no self-respecting Antillean girl would ever refer to cookbook for Caribbean cooking — right?
Fourteen years later, while cleaning out a closet I came upon the book again and decided to give it another chance. Today I am so glad I did, for I found a curry recipe in it that, after some of my signature epicurean surgery, has become a favorite of family, friends, and catering clients alike. Apparently this curry recipe hails from Anguilla, and though I can’t attest to the validity of its origin, I can guarantee you that it is delicious. (then again, have you ever tasted anything West Indian that wasn’t?)
Now, if you’re going to make curry you must begin with a curry powder. Curry powder is essentially a blend of different spices. The mixture below (sans Tumeric) is known as a masala, and the addition of the tumeric makes it a curry powder. The following will give you more than enough for one batch of curry, so store it in an airtight jar and use it over the next few weeks or share it with friends.
Coconut Curry Prawns
6 tablespoons coriander seed
1 teaspoon fenugreek seed
2 teaspoons fennel seed
1 teaspoon mustard seed
1 ½ teaspoons cumin seed
2 teaspoons turmeric
1. Toast all the seeds in a dry skillet, stirring well until they begin popping. Lower the heat and continue to warm for another 3-5 minutes, DON’T BURN THE SEEDS!
2. Take them off heat and allow to cool for a few minutes. Grind the toasted seeds in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. Add turmeric and mix well.
3. Wanna spice it up? Add ½ teaspoon of habanero powder.
3 tablespoons coconut oil
2 shallots, diced
4 cloves garlic, diced
2 habanero peppers, seeded and minced
1 teaspoon curry spice mixture (don’t worry, the leftovers will keep nicely for a few weeks in an airtight jar. Once you try this curry you’ll want to have it on hand for quick curry dishes)
Pinch of saffron threads
¾ cup dry white wine or vermouth
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 pounds shrimp or prawns (chicken, tofu, white fish also work well)
2 ripe mangoes, pitted, peeled and chopped into tiny cubes
¾ coconut milk
1. Heat the oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots, garlic, chilies, curry powder mixture, and saffron and sauté for 2 minutes, be careful not to burn the garlic. Add wine or vermouth, lemon juice, and prawns and simmer until the prawns are just cooked through, about 3-4 minutes. If you are using chicken, let simmer for an additional 4-5 minutes or until cooked through. Using slotted spoon, transfer prawns (or tofu or chicken) to a large bowl and cover with foil to keep warm.
2. Boil the liquid down until it has reduced to about ½ cup, add the coconut milk and mangoes, and simmer until the mixture has arrived to a thick, curry sauce consistency, stirring occasionally. Do not allow the mixture to boil.
3. Add your prawns/chicken/tofu back into the curry, allow them to sit for a minute or two, then serve over steamed white rice and garnish with fresh parsley or cilantro.
Off The Beaten Plate http://www.obpnyc.com/
I hope you enjoy this delicious dish and remember: never judge a cookbook by its cover!