I grew up in a vegetarian household. Like many Hindus from Gujarat, my parents do not eat meat, poultry or fish. But unlike most, they never forced their views on the subject on my sister and me. The only thing my mother is extremely strict about is “No bringing anything home that is ‘non’-vegetarian!” Eggs are allowed.
So growing up, we could eat what we wanted. It started with a chicken sandwich at a birthday party, and then went on to sharing “dabbas”/“tiffins” or lunch boxes at school, and being invited home for prawn curry rice & stuffed bangda fish (by friends from the Konkan coast) or butter chicken & tikkas (by friends from Punjab, in the North) or Mutton Dhansaak (by Parsi friends). And of course special restaurant dinners or lunches my parents took us to… Italian, Chinese, Thai, Mexican… Like I said before, I come from a family of foodies (only they are vegetarian)!
My sister subsequently decided to turn vegetarian. I struggled & tried doing that for 2 months when I was 16… Then gave up!
Now while I’ve been eating meat, poultry & fish for over 30 years (please don’t try & figure out how old I am!), I only started cooking “non-veg” 8 years ago… when I got married. Because you see, the husband is from the state of Maharashtra… and they are allowed to eat & bring home anything!
Chicken was the first thing that I learnt to cook (on a tour of a play around the U.K. post my wedding…. but that is another story all together). Sea food, which is a staple with my in-laws, seemed complicated to me.
One day, I decided to rise to the challenge & cooked (for the husband, specially!) Prawns in a Spicy Peanut & Coconut Curry with (wait for it) Ripe Jackfruit!!! Oh how he hated it! I still think it was an experiment that worked (for me)… Spicy, Salty, Tangy & Sweet… What do you think?
So after that I got a bit conservative (but only for a bit ;-)) and avoided using jackfruit (ripe or otherwise!) in anything!
Anyway, here’s a Prawn dish that my “navra” (“husband” in Marathi) actually approved of, which also, by the way, can be made with “Whatever’s in the Fridge”!
Oh & do check out how to “Jazz up the Leftovers” at the end of the recipe!
200 gm Prawns
- 2 tablespoons Ginger-Garlic Paste
- 1 teaspoon Honey
- 2 teaspoon Tomato Paste
- ½ teaspoon Pepper
- Garlic Salt (to taste)
- ½ teaspoon Red Chilli Powder (less or more as per your taste)
Note: I would suggest spicing up the prawns with more chillies to offset the sweetness of the sauce.
- 1cup Orange Juice (I used Tropicana)
- Zest of 1 Orange (didn’t have any so used 2 lemons)
- 2-3 Star Anise
- 3-4 cloves Garlic (minced)
- 1 inch piece Ginger (finely grated)
- 1 stalk Celery (finely chopped)
- ½ cup Mint (finely chopped)
- 2 tablespoon Sugar (less or more depending on taste)
- 2 tablespoon Cornflour
- Butter & Olive Oil
- Mix all the ingredients for the marinade very well.
- Coat the Prawns evenly with the marinade mixture, cover & keep it in the fridge while you prepare the sauce.
- Heat some butter in a pan & add the star anise.
- Once you can smell the spice a bit, add the garlic & ginger & sautee for a few minutes.
- Add the zest & celery & cook until soft.
- Whisk the sugar, cornflour & orange juice & pour into the pan. Stir well & let it simmer till the sauce thickens.
- Take the sauce off the flame & strain it & keep aside.
- Heat some more butter in the pan, add a dash of olive oil & toss in the prawns. Stir fry for about 5-6 minutes (depending on the size of the prawns) till they are pink & just about cooked.
- Put the sauce back on the flame, add the mint & give it one good boil.
(Option 1 Appetizer) Serve the Prawns with the Orange – Mint Dipping Sauce
(Option 2 Main) Add the Prawns into the sauce & simmer for 2-3 minutes. Serve hot with noodles or ginger-garlic fried rice.
This recipe serves 2-4 people.
Jazz Up the Leftovers:
A Quick Prawn Thai Style Salad –
Grate a carrot, a cucumber & a white radish. Add slivers of bell peppers. Toss in the prawns coated with some of the orange-mint sauce. Whisk together a little honey, some soy/fish/oyster sauce, tamarind water/paste & red chilli paste. Add a splash of this dressing to the prawns & veggies, toss in some crushed, roasted peanuts & you’re good to go! It makes for a healthy, light meal.