Prawn patia

Prawn patia

I Love Curry
Jonathan Gregson

This is a great fruity, sweet, sour and spicy curry, served on special occasions in Parsi homes with a simple yellow lentil curry and white rice. But it needn’t be saved for best, as it’s not hard to make. Kashmiri chillies are known for their deep red colour and mild heat. I found mine in a well-stocked local supermarket - which was lucky - but you can also buy them in Indian stores or on the internet, and they last really well in the larder. If you can’t find any, use 1–2 normal dried red chillies. Sambhar powder is a spice blend usually used in this dish to add an extra punch of flavour, though I have to admit that I don’t generally have any, so it’s not essential.


Quantity Ingredient
4-7 dried kashmiri chillies, stalks and seeds removed
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 onions, finely sliced
3 largish tomatoes, quartered
5 large garlic cloves
1 rounded teaspoon ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/3 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 good teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon sambhar powder, (optional)
salt, to taste
2-2 1/2 teaspoons grated jaggery, or sugar, to taste
1 1/4-1 3/4 teaspoons tamarind paste, or to taste
400g raw prawns, shelled, deveined and rinsed
handful chopped fresh coriander leaves


  1. Soak the dried chillies in hot water for 30 minutes.
  2. Heat the oil in a deep saute pan. Add the onions and cook for 10–12 minutes, until really quite brown.
  3. Meanwhile, blend together the tomatoes, garlic and soaked chillies until you have a fine paste. Add to the pan with 350ml water, the spices and salt. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes. It will get really thick and darken considerably; stir more often as it thickens.
  4. Stir in the jaggery or sugar, most of the tamarind and a good splash of water. Bring to a boil; the sauce should still be quite thick. Add the prawns and cook for two or three minutes until done. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more sweet jaggery or sour tamarind to taste. Sprinkle over the chopped coriander and serve.
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