I'm very pleased to introduce the first ever guest post on Kavey Eats – a delicious curry from Cookinacurry's Maunika Gowardhan. Enjoy!
And please do visit Maunika's blog today to read my guest post where I share a recipe for paneer malai.
My trip to a fish monger today fills me with excitement, joy, anticipation and this unusual burst of energy which stems back with memories from my childhood that always come flooding back in an instant. My family lived in the coastal region of Maharashtra where seafood was always in abundance, with even a fishmonger visiting our doorstep frequently. Maharashtrians do eat Chicken and mutton but based on the way the region is laid out, a fully fledged meat based diet is consumed within the inner regions where supply of seafood can be scarce.
Welcome to my guest post on Kavey’s blog. I’m Maunika Gowardhan, a private chef and columnist for Food Quarter Magazine in the North East of England. My food is a reflection of everything I have absorbed, learnt and seen my mother cook for my family growing up as a young girl. But beyond that, it also encompasses regional fare from a sub continent that is vibrant, diverse in culture with over 25 different states and home to millions of people making hearty homely food.
I champion Indian food all the way not just to show case that it’s easy but more importantly versatile. That’s the kind of food I cook for my family, clients and also whilst doing food demos. To share my experience join me on my blog www.cookinacurry.co.uk Make sure to leave a comment but more importantly cook the dishes and make them part of your repertoire.
As a young girl accompanying my mother to the meat and fish market was something I would look forward to, keen to see what fresh produce was be up for grabs. This really might not be something everyone enjoys but for me it was unique and special. The market had the distinct ‘fishy’ smell to it as you walked up to the entrance. The rustic colonial style doors leading the way to massive halls (almost the size of billingsgate market!) with old fashioned bronzed fans dotted about which just about made the place cool. My mother made sure to carry our own retro shopping baskets to the stalls as most of the fish bought was usually just wrapped in newspaper.
The first port of call was ALWAYS to surf the market and see who had freshest fish. Also to check pricing on every stall was key. With rows of women sat in a line with variety of fish and shell fish to sell, all vying to make that next sale shouting out the price of the fish trying to get the customers attention. As with most indian fish markets, the men usually went out to shore and caught the fish in the early hours of the morning whilst the women collected the days quota and bought it across to the markets to sell.
Like every regular punter, my mother knew exactly who had the best quality. The stock included Pomfret (also known in the market as Paaplet derived from the Portuguese dialect), Mackerel, and Bombay duck which taste amazing when batter fried. A variety of king prawns; gleaming clams and my favourite live blue swimmer crabs.
Our shopping would be for pomfret which to be honest back in the 80’s and 90’s was a luxury to eat. A flat fish which my mother usually sliced and pan fried in spices. Prawns were always something we stocked up on too. Some of it was cooked on the day whilst the rest was frozen.
Even today going to the fishmongers for me is special, though the shops are much more organised and cleaner now. Nevertheless I revel in joy seeing the abundance of the sea out there with a choice of the best seafood. Shopping for this post you could say was no different. A sunny Sunday morning I was up early, making my way to South Shields in the North East to visit Latimers. A must visit if your ever in the North East. There is a lovely cafe in one half of the shop so once I’m done with my shop I sit in the cafe overlooking the sea sampling fresh oysters that they serve up. On that particular day, I was hoping to find something for a curry based dish but was delighted as ever when I got there to discover some of the freshest prawns. I picked out 5 pieces. Based on the size of the prawns the quantity was more than enough to form the main part of my curry. A green coconut prawns curry which is something commonly eaten in the west coast of India spanning from Maharashtra, Goa and down to southern India.
Cooking something coastal with flavours of coriander, coconut milk, curry leaves to form a paste coating the succulent prawns was perfect. The base of the dish was a paste I ground down and fried in oil. I include the prawn heads to the curry while cooking as it adds to the flavour. But that’s a personal preference so feel free to discard them. The dish had a light sauce; served with some steamed rice. Not stodgy or heavy but a tangy, creamy and distinct flavour of coriander running through. It’s my favourite ways of cooking seafood. You can even swap the prawns for any variety of fish. Garnished with coriander and lemon juice it’s a treat anytime of the year.
Cookinacurry’s Green Coconut Prawn Curry
5-7 jumbo raw prawns (if you’re using smaller prawns increase the quantity)
½ tsp turmeric powder
Pinch of salt
2 tbsp vegetable oil
8-10 curry leaves
350mls coconut water
Salt to taste
1 tbsp chopped coriander for garnish
For the green paste;
100gms coriander leaves
6 cloves of garlic
1 inch piece of ginger
Juice of one lime
1. Peel and devein the prawns leaving the tails on. Sprinkle a pinch of salt and turmeric powder on the prawns. Mix well and set aside whilst you make the paste.
2. Mix all the ingredients for the paste in a mini processor and whiz to a fine paste. Add a couple of tablespoons of water if required to get a paste consistency.
3. Spread a couple of teaspoons of the paste over the prawns and set aside.
4. Heat oil in a sauce pan add the curry leaves and sauté until they crackle
5. Add the remaining paste and sauté on medium heat for 2-3minutes. Add the prawns and sauté for 1 minute
6. Pour in the coconut milk and simmer for 5minutes and add the water
7. Simmer for a further 4-5 minutes until the prawns are just cooked
8. Season to taste and garnish with chopped coriander. Serve immediately with chapattis or steamed rice