One of the things that you realise as life goes by, another way of saying ‘as you grow up’, is that in times of comfort you always turn to the familiar. This could be a person, a blanket, a book or even food, like in this case, something that hugs you right back!
I’ve experimented with a lot of seafood recipes & while some of them have been great hits, whenever I want to make something quick or simple I end up making some of the dishes I grew up eating. Prawn ghashi is possibly one of the more popular Mangalorean seafood preparations available. You’ll find this in every other South Indian seafood restaurant, head to Goa & you’ll find their version of the ghashi; but let me tell you this – the best version you can get is in someone’s home. Really, there’s something about a well-made Prawn ghashi that’s homemade.
This recipe is as classic as it can get. I’ve not modified anything, which is a first possibly, & nor have I added something extra to up the flavours. It’s pure, simple & honest. Pair it with some fresh, steamed rice & a side of sliced onions with some lime, you’re done!
500 gms of prawns, de-veined & cleaned
A pinch each of haldi (turmeric powder) & salt
Marinate the prawns with the haldi & salt. Keep it aside for an hour or so.
For the paste
7-8 red chillies, I’ve used the byadgi/bedgi variety
1 tsp of coriander seeds
1/4 tsp of methi (fenugreek) seeds
1/2 cup of coconut, grated
3 cloves of garlic
A marble-sized ball of tamarind
Pinch of Turmeric/haldi
Salt to taste
Roast the chillies in the coconut oil until they give out a pleasant aroma. Be sure not to burn them. Let it cool down.
Make a smooth paste with all the above ingredients, including the chillies, you may want to add some water if you find it’s too dry.
Transfer this paste into a bowl. Gently simmer the paste for a while until it starts bubbling on the sides. Now add the marinated prawns to this. The prawns cook really fast so you’ll have to keep an eye on the dish. Keep stirring in between.
Check seasoning & when it’s done, turn off the flame.
1/2 inch piece of ginger, finely chopped
2 tbsp of onion, finely chopped
1 green chilli, minced
As soon as you turn off the flame, add the above ingredients & mix well. Don’t worry about the raw onions, it will cook in the residual heat.
Serve hot with rice.
*This dish is best had with boiled rice or the Kerala red rice
*You can play around with the souring agents a bit, I like adding raw mango to the curry because it imparts a lovely flavour. The mango also soaks in the flavours beautifully & is quite delicious. Another option to use is Kokum or garcia indica, you’ll need to soak the kokum peels in warm water & use the liquid in the ghashi. This will give it a darker hue though
*I’ve used byadgi/bedgi chillies in the recipe because they have the right proportion of colour to spice for this dish. If you prefer something less spicy, you can use the Kashmiri red chillies too, which will darken the gravy considerably but not give it the heat