"It's not much but it's ours"

Friday, February 05, 2010


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.
1 lemon
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.

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Blogger Oldsoul_NotQuite said...

Good work on adding the tamarind. Prawn curries need it for the sourness. This also has no coconut cream which makes it much healthier.

Did you use cooked or uncooked prawns btw?

Friday, February 05, 2010 7:12:00 pm  
Blogger Hermano 2 said...

I did not add any coconut cream to my dish, but might try it next time.

I used pre-cooked prawns this time around


Friday, February 05, 2010 7:19:00 pm  
Anonymous Urban Foodie said...

Sounds delicious! Straightforward and very tasty, LOVE tamarind. Will definitely be trying this one.

Friday, February 05, 2010 8:24:00 pm  
Blogger Kalyan Karmakar said...

My wife's a Parsi and I don't know how to make any Parsi dishes. Now I do :)

Simon, your post reminded me of the look of joy on her granny's face when we took prawn patia from a shop near our house.

I am sure her eyes have lit up again while seeing your from up there.

Off to Goa tomorrow. Turning out to be another Eat My Goa trip. I have been invited to an authentic homemade Goan dinner by a Bengali lady married to a Goan

Friday, February 05, 2010 9:11:00 pm  
Blogger Hermano 2 said...

Have fun in Goa

Traditionally, I think this dish would have used palm vinegar and jagary, but not having those I used white wine vinegar and brown sugar. it worked well


Friday, February 05, 2010 9:18:00 pm  
Anonymous Helen B said...

You had me till the peppers. Peppers! Devil's food! The follow up to the UK obsession with accessorising savoury dishes with strawberries and kiwi fruit. Peppers - for 'colour' and 'texture'. No, they're just because everyone is too lazy to get colour and texture the right way. And the thing which REALLY annoys me is they're never advertised on dish descriptions. If you think they taste of something, mention them. If you think they don't, why use them.

Harrumph. Anyway, I SUPPOSE they play more of a role in a Prawn Pathia than they did smothering the porcini ravioli I mistakenly ordered the other day. SUPPOSE.

You should post the curried lamb shank recipe you sent me. Done it thrice now and it's ace.

Saturday, February 06, 2010 10:38:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks delicious but what's with the the imperial measurements?

Saturday, February 06, 2010 11:39:00 am  
Blogger Unknown said...

Definitely a Bengali thing! The highest praise my Mother has ever given my cooking is "next time, a little more salt". Let's see if your prawns can do the trick...

Saturday, February 06, 2010 2:42:00 pm  
Anonymous said...

Actually, I find it more an American thing to put peppers in everything and I'm not overly keen on them but of course, recipe writers don't come round to your kitchen and force you to include everything on their ingredients list. You can, of course, simple leave them out or use your imagination and replace them.

And what's wrong with imperial measurements? If that's how you cook, that's how you cook. I'm always translating cup measurements into ounces or grams. Just put the term 'weight converter' into Google.

I really like the sound of this dish and my husband is a curry addict so I'm going to make it soon. Thanks.

Saturday, February 06, 2010 2:51:00 pm  
Blogger Hermano 2 said...

I am not normally a fan of peppers, but they do work in this dish. I think they cook for long enough to lose that slightly nasty taste they have when raw and add some sweetness. But, you could definitely leave them out if you really hate them


Saturday, February 06, 2010 2:58:00 pm  
Anonymous scandilicious said...

High praise indeed from HP! Looks like a great recipe, have never tried prawn pathia but looking at the ingredients I can imagine how delicious it was :)

Monday, February 08, 2010 8:08:00 am  
Blogger Patrick Wilkinson said...

Where did you get the serrano chilis from?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010 6:10:00 pm  
Blogger Oldsoul_NotQuite said...

Just made this last night and it was terrific. Used the bog standard green chillies available at Waitrose. My only suggestion is that this may go better with crusty bread than with rice. I did reduce the sauce a fair bit.

Monday, August 02, 2010 8:12:00 am  

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