Prawn Curry


If you like curry, this is a good basic recipe. Rather than simply relying on commercial curry powders, which often are not terribly fresh or interesting, an assortment of other spices are added to a purchased curry powder to intensify the flavor base. This curry is mildly spicy, so if you prefer more heat, increase the amount of hot peppers. The base can be made up to 2 days ahead of serving if covered and refrigerated. Add the prawns or other seafood or meats after reheating the base. Cooking time will vary depending on the items you add.


1/4 cup oil
1 cup diced yellow onion (1/4-inch dice)
4 cloves garlic (minced)
3 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
1 jalapeño or Serrano chile (finely minced, seeds and ribs optional, or more to taste)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon garam masala (see website for recipe)
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon Hungarian hot paprika
3/4 teaspoon tumeric
2 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
8 curry leaves
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 cups diced fresh tomatoes (1/4-inch dice)
1 1/2 pounds prawns or shrimp (peeled and deveined)


Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, and when hot, add the onion. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is soft and golden, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger and peppers and reduce the heat to low. Cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture is soft and fragrant, about 5 minutes.

Add the salt and spices (cumin through curry leaves) and cook, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and enough water to almost cover the ingredients. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture thickens slightly and the tomatoes are soft, 15 to 25 minutes.

Add the prawns to the curry base and heat until just cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes, depending on their size. Remove and discard bay leaves. Serve hot.

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