Mangalorean food is delicious but still rather undiscovered in Australia. Here is a simplified version of a delicious prawn ghassi curry for busy cooks.
Wash the prawns well, apply a little salt and turmeric, and set aside.
Heat 1 tsp of the oil in a small pan and gently roast the coriander seeds, fenugreek seeds, cumin seeds, black peppercorns and dried chillies. Once they have darkened a little bit and are aromatic, scrape straight into a spice grinder and grind to a fine powder.
Place the spice powder into a blender with the coconut, the quartered onion, garlic, ginger, the ½ tsp ground turmeric, the tamarind and enough water to help the blades turn, and blend until very smooth; it might take a few minutes to get it smooth, but persevere.
Heat the remaining oil in a non-stick pan; add the chopped onion and home salt and sauté until coloured on the edges. Add the paste and sauté for 10 – 12 minutes or until it releases oil back into the ban; it will stick so do keep an eye on it and stir as necessary. Then stir-fry for another 4 – 5 minutes or so over a high-ish flame until it moves around in a ball around the pan. Taste, it should be harmonious. Add chilli powder to taste, if required.
Add 2 cups water and stir well as you bring to the boil, then reduce the heat a little and simmer for 2 – 3 minutes. Add the prawns, cover and cook over a medium heat until the prawns are done, just 2 – 3 minutes. Taste, adjust the seasoning and the level of tang with tamarind and serve hot.
This is an edited extract from 'I Love India' by Anjum Anand, published by Hardie Grant Books RRP $39.99 and available in stores nationally.
Photographer: ©Martin Poole