Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Indian Cookery Feature with Sheba Promod - Kerala Prawn Curry

Kerala Prawn Curry. Image © 2012 Sheba Promod

On today's show, our Indian Cookery Correspondent Sheba  Promod came into the studio to talk about another dish from the Kerala region.  We also discussed the basics of making rice.

Firstly let's take a look at cooking Basmati rice.  As obvious as it may seem there is a little bit of an art to achieving a good result.  Rice can become too sticky if overcooked, so there are some simple rules to abide by.  First of all wash to cleanse the starchy coating using warm water in a bowl - do this 4-5 times.  If you have time, soak in a pan for 20 mins then drain away.  It's imperative too to get the  measurements correct - 1 cup rice, 2 cups of water.  There are two ways to cook rice, the absorption method which is to boil all water away to achieve fluffy rice.  The other method is the rolling boil method, top up pan with boiling water then drain off.  With this method don't pour boiling water on to rinse it. With this Kerala Prawn Curry dish use 1 cup/2 cups water -  put boiling water in and cook for 8-9 mins  - cover with lid on medium heat, until simmering.  To check if all water has evaporated, open the lid and use a fork to separate rice in the middle.  Minutes are crucial here - if it is crunchy the rice has not been cooked enough.

Pilau rice is rice cooked in a flavoured broth along with ingredients such as whole spices, onions and vegetables.  After the rice has been fried for two minutes, add four cups of boiling water to the pan, bring to a gentle simmer and then cover with a lid and cook for 8 minutes. After this time, open the pan and using a fork, check if there if any moisture left at the bottom of the pan by gently pushing back some rice in the middle. if there is only a little moisture, replace the lid, turn off the heat and leave to steam for another minute or two. If there is no moisture, remove from the heat, gently fork through and transfer to a serving dish.

Sheba's Kerala Prawn Curry


Whole spices
1 tsp. mustard seeds

Powdered spices
½ tsp. Kashmiri chilli powder
4 tsp. coriander powder
½ tsp. fenugreek powder
¼ tsp. turmeric

Fresh leaves & herbs
15-20 Curry leaves

600g king prawns (with tails on if you wish)
3 tbps. vegetable oil or coconut oil
1 large onion, finely chopped2 ½ tsps. minced ginger
3 tsps. minced garlic
1 ½ tsp. tomato puree
400ml canned coconut milk
1 tsp. salt
3 pieces kokum- soaked in 5-6 tbsp. water for 10 minutes


  1. Heat the oil in a large deep pan over a medium heat. When hot, add the mustard seeds and fry until they begin to splutter.
  2. Add the onion, ginger and garlic and fry for a further 5 minutes, until they are soft and translucent.
  3. Add the tomato puree, fry for 1 minute. Add the fenugreek, coriander and Kashmiri chilli powders and fry for 1 minute before adding the coconut milk, curry leaves, salt and kokum pieces.
  4. Bring to a gentle boil, add the prawns and cook for 3-4 minutes until the prawns are cooked through.

Note: Substitute with tamarind pieces (1 piece, soaked in water for 5-10 minutes, squeeze the tamarind piece and use the prepared brine) or ½ teaspoon of tamarind paste.

For more from Sheba, why not check out her website http://absoluteindiancookeryclasses.com/

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