PRAWN PATHIA: HOT, SOUR, SWEET, PERFECT
Believe it or not, HP is a hard man to please. It's a Bengali thing and, when food is placed before him, his first words after tasting are usually "very good, but if I had one criticism........."
So, when I received an e-mail from him entitled "Curry" I opened it with no little trepidation as I knew it referred to a dish of Prawn Pathia I made the day before and left for him to eat at his convenience. I was pleasantly surprised when I opened the mail and it read "excellent stuff, I had two large bowlfuls"
Lavish praise indeed coming from HP.
In truth, it should not have been that great a surprise, this really is a terrific curry and the only real surprise was that it had been nearly ten years since I made this hot, sour, sweet and delicious Parsee seafood dish.
Two things are certain, however. The next time I cook something for HP he will say "Very good, but if I had one cricitism...." and that it wont be ten years before I make a Prawn Pathia again.
Here, in case you want to give it a shot yourself is the recipe.
Enjoy and do report back if you try it.
200gm frozen prawns (you can also use large shelled king prawns)
4 fluid oz white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 white onion (diced)
1 Red pepper (seeded and sliced in strips)
3 cloves garlic
1 inch fresh ginger (peeled)
5 green Serrano chillies (if you use Birds Eye,reduce to three)
1 tablespoon tamarind pulp
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground chilli powder
1 teaspoon ground turmeric.
1 teaspoon salt
1 8oz tin of chopped tomatoes
8 fluid oz of water.
2 tablespoons of oil for cooking
Blend the garlic, chilli and ginger into a paste with a little water and salt.
Dissolve the brown sugar and tamarind in the vinegar and add the chilli/garlic/ginger paste combining well.
Heat the oil in the pan and fry the onions until soft and golden.
Add the slices of red pepper.
Add the ground spices and salt and a fry until they lose their raw smell (about three to four minutes). If they begin to stick, add a little water.
Add the vinegar/tamarind/garlic mixture to the pan and mix well with the onions and spices.
Add the tomatoes and the water and mix well.
Reduce the sauce by half (it should be quite a thick consistency by now)
Add the prawns and cook through.
Before serving, sprinkle with lemon juice.
Serve with plain boiled rice, or as I did with a dish of spiced sweet potatoes and peas.