Prawn Curry

Isso Curry

from Milk, Spice and Curry Leaves

This shrimp curry is a simple yet fragrant dish that can be easily prepared during weeknights and will go nicely with chili pepper dal, coconut roti, vermicelli noodles, or string hoppers.

Serves 4–6

1/2 lb fresh prawns, rinsed with cold water and lemon (see note), shelled (optional) and deveined

1 tsp fine sea salt

1/2 tsp ground turmeric

1/2 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp cayenne powder

1/2 tsp roasted curry powder

Pinch of dried chili flakes

1 Tbsp lime juice

2 Tbsp olive oil

1/2 small white onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced

1-inch piece of lemon grass

5–7 curry leaves, ripped into small pieces

2-inch-wide piece of pandanus leaf, fresh or frozen

1/4 cup coconut milk

In Sri Lanka, this recipe calls for prawns and is called prawn curry. Large shrimp are more easily found in North American grocery stores and are an acceptable substitute.

The lemon grass makes a notable difference to the flavour, so if you are not used to cooking with it, you may wish to use a little less to begin with.

To clean the shellfish, place them in a bowl, squeeze the juice from a lemon wedge over top, and then place the bowl under cold, running water to clean the prawns.

Place the prawns, salt, turmeric, paprika, cayenne, roasted curry powder, chili flakes, and lime juice in a bowl. Mix to combine, cover, and marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Place the oil in a pot over high heat. When the oil is hot, add the onion and cook, stirring, until just translucent. Add the garlic, ginger, lemon grass, curry leaves, and pandanus leaf and stir to release their aromas for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the prawns, stir with the other ingredients for a few seconds, then add 1/2 cup water and coconut milk. Stir to combine. When the mixture has reached a rapid simmer, turn down the heat to medium-low, and let cook, uncovered, for 4 or 5 minutes.

Turn the heat down to low and let simmer for another 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add salt as desired. Remove the pandanus leaf before serving.

Note: If you don’t have time to properly clean and devein shrimp, use frozen, pre-peeled and deveined shrimp.

Recipe by Ruwanmali Samarakoon-Amunugama, from Milk, Spice and Curry Leaves, copyright © 2020 by Ruwanmali Samarakoon-Amunugama. Reprinted with permission of TouchWood Editions. 

Nada’s Tips & Tricks: I couldn’t find the curry or pandanus leaf at my local grocer so used a little extra curry powder.  I also sauteed some yellow peppers for presentation.  This dish was a big hit around our table!