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Prawn & Silverbeet Curry

This is my take on a classic Indian home-style dish - Prawn and saag. This recipe uses all the ingredients to create a mouth watering curry that is great to serve with steamed rice or naan bread. And it's pretty easy to make too. The hardest part is getting some "Paanch Phoran" a blend of whole nigella seeds, fennel seeds, cumin seeds, mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds, available at Indian grocers or you can make your own mix.


  • 1 kg x Prawns shelled and de-veined (reserve heads for later)

  • 1 tsp x Turmeric

  • 3 tbsp x Cooking oil

  • 1-2 large bunches Silverbeet (Swiss Chard) remove centre stalk and chop roughly

  • 1 tbsp x Paanch Phoran blend (see description above)

  • 2 x Onions diced

  • 1/2 x bunch Coriander (stems intact)

  • 2-3 x large Garlic cloves, roughly chopped

  • 1 x 1in piece of Ginger, peeled and roughly chopped

  • 1 tsp x Chilli Paste (more if you like it hot)

  • Salt to taste

  • Lemon or lime juice


  • 1.

    Place prawns in a glass bowl and dust with turmeric

  • 2.

    Add a little salt and mix prawns coating well with spice

  • 3.

    Heat a tbsp of oil in a large wok and stir fry prawns on high heat till they are almost done then remove from wok and keep aside

  • 4.

    Add another tbsp of oil to the wok and reduce to medium heat

  • 5.

    Place 1 tbsp of Paanch Phoran spice blend in hot oil stir for 10-20 seconds to avoid burning

  • 6.

    Add chopped silverbeet and stir fry gently turning leaves allowing to wilt slightly

  • 7.

    Cover wok and simmer on low heat for 10-15 minutes

  • 8.

    Meanwhile prepare the masala paste in a food processor

  • 9.

    Place coriander leaves and stalks into blender bowl with chopped garlic, ginger and chilli paste

  • 10.

    Add a little water to assist in blending to a smooth paste, keep aside

  • 11.

    Remove lid from wok and stir silverbeet for 1-2 minutes

  • 12.

    Strain silverbeet in a sieve reserving the cooking liquid and keep silverbeet aside

  • 13.

    Add 1 tbsp of oil to the wok on medium heat

  • 14.

    Stir fry diced onions until golden brown and softened

  • 15.

    Add masala paste and fry for a further 3 minutes

  • 16.

    Stir in salt to taste

  • 17.

    Return strained silverbeet to the wok and stir well to coat with masala paste

  • 18.

    Add prawns and stir through to coat well then remove from heat.

  • 19.

    In a dry pan fry reserved prawn heads with a tsp of oil until they change colour to a deep red

  • 20.

    Add reserved cooking liquid from the silverbeet

  • 21.

    Increase heat and cook through stirring at all times until it reduces by about a third

  • 22.

    Pass this liquid through the sieve into the wok with the prawn and silverbeet Fold through on low heat to create a thick gravy for the dish

  • 23.

    Serve immediately on a bed of steamed rice or with some hot naans

  • 24.

    Garnish with a splash of lime or lemon juice


You can also use spinach for this dish as it wilts into a nice creamy consistency, however reduce cooking time to 5 minutes

If prawn heads are a bit icky for you then use a cup of fish stock - it does not have as much flavour as fresh prawn stock but it will serve the same purpose

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