• Use freshly ground hot masala, fresh curry leaves and a block of tamarind. 

    Prawn Madras


    • 1/2 tsp ginger and garlic paste
    • 600g small prawns, cleaned (or 16 tiger prawns)
    • 30ml (2 tbsp) olive oil
    • ½ medium onion, finely sliced
    • 2 medium bay leaves
    • 5ml (1 tsp) dried curry leaves (if you have fresh ones, jackpot!)
    • 15ml (1 tbsp) black mustard seeds
    • 10ml (2 heaped tsp) hot masala
    • powder (adjust to taste)
    • 5ml (1 tsp) garam masala
    • 1½ x 410g tins peeled tomatoes, blended until smooth
    • 45ml (3 tbsp) tamarind, from a block soaked in 90ml hot water, seeds removed and strained or 30ml (2 tbsp) tamarind paste
    • 100ml water
    • 5ml (1 tsp) palm or brown sugar
    • salt, to taste
    • 1 lime, cut into wedges
    • fresh coriander, to serve
    • basmati rice, to serve



    Spread the ginger and garlic paste over the prawns.


    Heat the olive oil in a pan on medium heat and fry the onion until it just starts to colour. Add bay leaves, curry leaves and mustard seeds, and watch as they sizzle and pop for a minute or 2.


    Add masala and garam masala, stirring for just a few seconds.


    Add tomatoes and stir – you don’t want the masala to cook by itself for too long or it will burn.


    Add the strained tamarind paste and cook on low-medium heat until it thickens slightly, about 5 minutes.


    Add water and cook for a further 10 minutes, without a lid. You want the sauce to thicken. Add the sugar and salt. Add prawns and cook on low-medium heat until the prawns turn opaque, about 2 – 3 minutes depending on size.


    Squeeze lime juice over the prawns, sprinkle with coriander and serve with basmati rice.