#Bengali inspired #Prawn Curry #nigellaseeds

The combination is inspired by Bengali curries that use of Panch Phoran Five spice mix, except I substituted some of the spices with fresh ingredients to add zing, and added a “Tadka” style garnish for an extra layer of flavour.

The Nigella seeds are key to adding their unique almost maple syrup tones complementing the sweetness of the prawns.

So, the key ingredients for this curry are fresh prawns, nigella seeds (kalonji in Hindi), fennel seeds, lemon, fresh coriander and lots of ginger. I add two whole red chillies to impart some heat but they can be removed or allocated to the spice lovers!

I finished the prawns by adding my version of a Tadka, by slow frying thinly sliced onions in butter and adding fresh ginger and coriander. This “garnish” added another layer of flavour to the dish, resulting in quite a scrumptious outcome.

Can be served in lettuce cups, naan and/or with rice.looks great on a bed of turmeric rice.

Prep time: 30 minutes. Cooking time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 500g shelled and deveined green prawns
  • 2 brown onions
  • 3 cloves garlic, double that amount of ginger
  • 2 large ripe tomatoes
  • 3 red chillies
  • 2 Handfuls of curry leaves (or use 2 bay leaves)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon nigella seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 2 tablespoons of oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Fresh Coriander and ginger for Tadka

Method

1. Prepare all the fresh ingredients: a) shell and devein prawns, b) finely dice only 1.5 of the onions and finely slice the other half into thin half moons (keep seperate), c) finely dice the tomatoes, d) pound to make a paste the garlic, equivalent amount of fresh ginger and 1 red chilli together with 1/2 teaspoon salt, d) zest lemon and juice it.

2. Heat oil in shallow wide saucepan, add cumin seeds, add 2 red chillies left whole and curry leaves and cook on low heat until fragrant and leaves stop sputtering. Add diced onions only (not the sliced half moons), cook over low heat until just transparent.

3. Add ginger and garlic paste, nigella seeds and fennel seeds, mix through the onion mixture and cook until just fragrant, taking care so it doesn’t stick to the pot.

4. Add tomatoes and mix through, add the other 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon turmeric and 1/2 cup of water. Simmer with lid on until tomatoes break down, adding small amounts of water if necessary.

5. While tomatoes are cooking, make the onions for the “Tadka” garnish: in a seperate pan, melt butter add sliced onions and cook slowly until caramelised. Chop 2 handfuls of coriander, finely slice ginger into matchsticks together with coriander. Set aside

6.When the tomatoes have broken down into a saucy consistency, add 1/2 lemon juice, the prawns and cook for 6-10 minutes, simmering until as much excess water that might come from prawns has evaporated but ensuring prawns don’t over cook. Pour over rest of lemon juice.

7. Garnish prawns with the “Tadka” and serve with rice, naan and/lettuce cups.

Bengali inspired prawn curry with nigella seeds

Published by

Shanthini

Born in South Africa, of Indian heritage. My family moved to Australia in the early 80's. I have a busy professional career as the CEO of Healthcare Foundation based in Sydney. I love cooking, learning to cook, eating and travel. My blog Freespiritfood.net is written in the spirit of sharing my foodie adventures.

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