Perfect Prawn Curry …… the Colour of Autumn Leaves and the Crunch of the Forest Floor …

Prawn Curry


Brrr …. We are all freezing our Madumbi’s off aren’t we ….. My boday is already lusting after the warmth of summer.   Here in Underberg the sun has popped over the horizon, it 7.30am and 3degrees …. I just wonder how our brothers and sisters in the informal settlements stay warm. Coming from Durbs you may need to wear a jersey or jacket if you go out – but since, being here I have become painfully aware of the cost of staying warm. I shall most certainly focus my charitable efforts on East Coast Radio’s winter warmth campaign for sure. Africa ain’t for sissies!


Last night Carol cooked the most beautiful prawn curry for our dinner. The inspiration for this dish was the the very last two leaves on a stick-bare plane tree …………. the brances having succumbed to the season had turned grey/brown with just two burnished red leaves left on the tree.  Carol uses this recipe which is taken from Sheila Somers’ wonderful cook book, Indian Entertainment Cookery (1991). I have never eaten such a beautifully balanced prawn curry; each mouthful was deep and rich in exotic Indian flavours which is always the ideal foil against the cold.


There is no star anise in her recipe – and it’s perfect. I find star anise in a prawn curry messes with the natural sweetness and flavour of the prawns creating a bit of a battle of flavours. Sheila is a native of Verulam in KZN and when one reads the forward to her cook book you get a whisked off to a clear picture of a young Indian girl ensconced in her mother’s kitchen – soaking up knowledge and tradition that can only be passed down the generations from mother to daughter. 










I found an article from 2005 when the furore over the carcinogenic, Sudan Red that had been detected in many shop bought masala’s erupted, in which Sheila advocates making your own masala’s at home.   Masala is the Hindi word for a blend or mixture of spices. She had recently returned from a cooking expedition in India and pointed out that the indigenous curries of India are not bright red in colour. Ah – how our approach to cooking has evolved over the years. I may just post a few more of her recipes – particularly one of her home made masala’s. We are planning a crab curry tomorrow night …. Yum!



Curried Prawns


Sheila Somers










1kg headless prawns

1 large onion finely chopped

80ml ghee/ oil

4 cloves garlic crushed

1 sprig of curry leaves

Salt to taste

500ml tomatoes blanched, seeded and pureed



2 green chillies slit

15ml water

1,2ml peppercorns freshly milled

60ml fresh cream


Whole Spices


1,2ml mustard seeds

1,2ml cumin seeds


Ground Spices


2,5ml Turmeric powder

5ml chilli powder

5ml coriander/cumin powder

25ml chopped coriander leaves





Shell, devein and rinse the prawns –

Carol used these prawns that come in a packet – headless, cleaned and frozen.  We did not

remove the shells as both Carol and I – like to get down and eat with our fingers and suck the juice

from the prawns before peeling and eating them.



Heat ghee/ oil in a flat heavy based pan



Fry prawns for 3-5 minutes until pink and crisp

Remove with a slotted spoon and keep aside.



Add mustard and cumin seeds. When the spluttering stops add onion, curry leaf, green chillies and water.




Fry till onion is transparent. The moisture should pick up the sediments from the pan as this add

to the flavour of the curry.




Add ground spices, stir, and then add tomato puree and garlic.

Cover and cook on low heat for 25-30 minutes until sauce is thick.

Add fresh cream and stir to mix well.



Heats until sauce is almost boiling then fold in the fried prawns.

Sprinkle with garam masala and coriander leaves.

Remove from heat.



Serve curried prawns with paratha and a crisp green salad.



Mission accomplished – this dish is the colour of

autumn leaves and has the crunch of the forest floor in winter.



Click on the Photo to get whisked off to these Winter Warming Curries


Malaysian Beef Rendang





Butter Chicken


Click on the Photo to get whisked off to these Winter Warming Curries




Oh – and remember to ALWAYS keep the cook happy!

Thank you darling Carol for a wonderful new prawn curry recipe!



As Always

Buon Appetito



Tags: , ,


Scorpio, RED WINE, Dalmatians, VINO, my men, Mamma Estraordinaria, massive pots of pasta, la famiglia, candle light, designer Handbags, Adult Survivor, Red Lipstick, writing, drumming, painting, red RED and Pasta .... lots of it!