Goan Prawn Curry

Everyone has atleast one meal that takes them right back to their childhood. For me its this prawn curry. This curry with some rice, for me, is the ultimate soul food. And I must say, my mother makes the best prawn curry in the world. Atleast I think so. This is her prawn curry recipe that I’m sharing with you today.

Goan Prawn Curry


1/2 kg prawns, peeled and deveined
1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 chillies, slit in half
1 piece of amsol (dried mango)
3-4 pieces of kokum
A walnut sized ball of tamarind
1 tbsp coconut oil
Salt, to taste
1-2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp vinegar
For the masala – 
1/2 cup grated coconut
6 Kashmiri chillies
2 large cloves garlic
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1/4 tsp black pepper corns
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
Sprinkle salt, squeeze some lemon juice and drizzle the vinegar over the prawns and set aside.
Pour a little warm water over the tamarind and set aside (I use about 1/4 cup of water). 
Grind all the ingredients for the masala to a fine paste, using a little water as needed.
Heat some oil in a pot. 
Saute the onions till they have softened and turn translucent. 
Add the masala and let it saute for a few minutes. 
Add some water to thin out your masala and get it to the consistency you like. Remember the curry will thicken as it cooks. So add a touch more water. 
Add the chillies and bring it to a boil. 
Turn the heat down to a simmer, add the amsol and the kokum and let the curry simmer for 6-8 minutes. Halfway through, stir the curry through and add water to adjust the consistency, if needed. 
When the curry is almost ready, add the prawns. Add some of the tamarind extract and cook for another 2 minutes or till the prawns are just cooked. Don’t overcook the prawns. 
Check for seasoning and adjust as required. 

Serve hot with rice. 

Enjoy!

Goan Prawn Curry with Okra

Like some of you already know, my mother’s family originally is from Goa. Growing up, we spent almost every summer in our ancestral home in Goa. It was a sprawling old Portuguese styled house with large grounds surrounding it. In our garden grew a variety of mango trees. We also had a great big coconut tree. Our garden also housed some custard apple, pomegranate, chickoos / Sapota, jackfruit, cashews, guavas, bananas and so much more. Some of my fondest memories have got to be me tagging along with my aunt harvesting all the lovely organic produce right through our holidays and enjoying all the yummy food my mum and aunt would whip up for us.

This prawn curry made a regular appearance on the table along with some Goan red rice and whatever vegetable was in season. Our Goa house had 2 kitchens, one was a traditional old wood fired one and the other was a modern one with a gas stove-top. However, almost all the cooking was done in earthenware pots in the old kitchen. While everything took a lot longer to cook, the taste was unbeatable. 
I would give anything to experience something like that again. While that might still be a pipe dream, for now, I just make do replicating some of the good old recipes. This prawn curry is a coconut based curry, known for its vibrant orange color and its spicy and tangy flavors. I hope you try it out and enjoy it as much as we do. 
Goan Prawn Curry with Okra

500g prawns, shelled, de-veined and washed a couple of times
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 chillies, split lengthwise
A couple of pieces of Kokum / Aamsol (dried souring agents)
6-8 okra pods, trim off the stalk and cut into approx. 1 inch pieces
Salt, to taste
1-2 tbsp oil
A small ball of tamarind (about half a walnut in size)
For the masala / spice paste – 
1/2 cup grated coconut
6 Kashmiri chillies
3 cloves garlic
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/8 tsp black pepper corns
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp coriander seeds
Sprinkle a little salt on the prepped prawns and set aside. 
Soak the tamarind in a little warm water in a small bowl and set aside. 
Grind all the ingredients for the masala into a fine paste using a little water, as needed
Heat the oil in a large vessel. 
Add the onions and saute till they soften. Add the kokum / aamsol.
Add the ground masala / spice paste to the pan and let it fry for a couple of minutes. 
Add a cup of water to the mixer and swirl around to pick up any of the remaining spice mix and add to the pan. Add more water as needed to achieve the desired consistency.
Add the chillies and bring to a boil. Season lightly with a little salt (The prawns also have some salt on them so add salt accordingly).  Lower the heat to a simmer and add the okra. 
Cook gently till the okra is almost cooked. Check for seasoning.

Mash the tamarind up and discard any pieces of fibre or shell and add some of the tamarind paste, to taste. 

Add the prawns. Continue cooking just till the prawns have cooked through. (This usually just takes a couple of minutes depending on the size of the prawns.) Do not overcook the prawns. 
Check for seasoning and adjust, if needed. 
Serve hot.

Nonya Chicken Curry

Growing up in Bombay and spending most of my summer breaks in Goa, I have had more than my fair share of curries. My Mum and my Aunt were great cooks and both could whip up a mean curry with great ease. So whether it was a meat (Chicken, mutton, beef or pork), seafood (fish, prawn or crab), lentil or vegetable curry, they were all really good. The best part is, they could do a lot of this without looking at a recipe. Now I haven’t reached the ‘no recipe’ stage for some of the more intricate curries, but I do know a thing or two about them.

So, a while ago, when I saw this episode of Poh & Co, where Poh (one of my favorite TV chefs) whipped up a Nonya (a type of Malaysian) Chicken Curry, both, my husband and I knew we had to try the recipe out. The recipe does call for a few specialty ingredients, but the first time I made this curry, I didn’t have them and so I left them out. Even then the curry was a great one. But I knew I wanted to try the recipe with all of the ingredients. So I picked up the Pandan leaves and the Shrimp Belachan at a local Asian grocery store and made the curry again. This time with all the ingredients. The result was a mind-blowing curry. Now I don’t often refer to a curry as mind-blowing. A cake, maybe, but never a curry. But this curry is all that, and then some. It is one of my favorite chicken curries. And today I’m going to show you how I make mine. I have altered the method a tiny bit, to make the recipe more convenient and I hope you try this out the next time you want to make a chicken curry.

If you’ve never made a curry before, don’t let the idea scare you. It is easier than you think. I’ve put together a video to walk you through the process.

Let’s move on the the detailed recipe for this Nonya Chicken Curry.

Nonya Chicken Curry 
Recipe from: Poh Ling Yeow

3 tbsp Coriander seeds
1 tsp Cumin seeds
1 tsp Fennel seeds
15 dried red chillies
2 onions, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic
20g toasted Belachan
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
8-10 curry leaves
2 tbsp oil (I use olive oil for all my cooking. You can use whatever oil you normally cook with.)
1 star anise
3 cloves
1 inch cinnamon
1 1/2 kilo chicken pieces
2 potatoes, cut into large cubes
2 birdseye chillies, slit lengthways
1 can coconut cream (400 ml can)
2 pandan leaves

Take the skin off the chicken, cut into pieces, trim the fat off and set aside.

Deseed the dried chillies and soak them in hot water till they’ve rehydrated and softened.

In a dry pan, on medium heat, roast the coriander, cumin and fennel seeds till fragrant. Take them off the pan and set aside to cool.

Using a blender or food processor (you can also use a mortar and pestle if you dont have one), grind the roasted coriander-fennel-cumin seeds mix, drained red chillies, onion, garlic, belachan and turmeric to a fine paste, adding a little water as needed.

Heat oil in a large pot / pan over medium heat. Add the star anise, cinnamon and cloves and let them fry till fragrant about 20-30 seconds.

Add the spice paste (rempah) to the pan and saute for 6-8 minutes till the sauce is very fragrant.

Tear the pandan leaves into 3 strips lengthways and knot them together. Add the pandan and curry leaves to the spice mix.

Add the chicken to the pan and stir to coat with the spice paste. Saute for 1-2 minutes or till the chicken pieces start to look opaque.

Add the coconut cream and stir well.

Add the potatoes, salt and sugar. Add a little water to thin down the sauce a little to reach the desired consistency. Let it come to a boil.

Add the slit birdseye chillies, lower the heat, cover the pot and simmer till tender. Check after 5-7 minutes, add more water if needed, stir to make sure the curry doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Cover the pot and continue cooking till the chicken and potatoes are cooked.

Serve hot with rice. I tried to serve it up like a Nasi Lemak, but with plain rice instead of coconut rice. I added some fried baby anchovies, peanuts, boiled egg and some cucumber slices.

This curry also goes really well with roti or even bread. If you can get on hands on some Roti Canai, even better.

Enjoy!!!