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Green prawns in sweet hot red onion curry

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Green prawns in sweet hot red onion curry

Some of the recipes I have developed for Next will always remain favourites and this is one of them. It is simply a stunning dish. Not your usual curry, the prawns are coated in a caramelised onion and sweet tomato sauce with plenty of herbs. Use red onions for their sweet flavour and serve this curry with plenty of plain boiled rice to which you've added a generous knob of butter.


  • 3 teaspoons tamarind pulp
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 4-6 green chillies, deseeded and diced
  • 6 large juicy cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin (or 3 teaspoons toasted cumin seeds)
  • ½ cup oil
  • 2 good-sized red onions, peeled and finely diced
  • 1½ teaspoon each ground coriander and chilli powder
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 4 large juicy tomatoes, blanched, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 15 dried curry leaves (optional)
  • ½ cup coriander leaves
  • salt
  • 500 grams shelled green prawns, deveined


  1. Stir together the tamarind and water and set aside. Put the chillies into a food processor with the garlic and the cumin or cumin seeds. Process with 2 tablespoons of the oil to make a thick paste. Set aside.
  2. Heat the remaining oil in a large heavy-based frying pan and add the onion. Cook, stirring regularly for about 12-15 minutes, until the onion is a deep golden brown but not burnt. Add the chilli-garlic paste and cook over a high heat for a further 2 minutes.
  3. Stir in the coriander, chilli, garam masala and turmeric powders and fry for 1 minute. Add the diced tomatoes and cook, stirring, for a further 5 minutes.
  4. Add the strained tamarind water, brown sugar, curry and coriander leaves and about 1 teaspoon of salt. Simmer for 2 minutes and then taste to ensure that the dish has a good balance of sweet and sour. The sauce should be of a medium-thick consistency. If it is too thin, allow it to reduce a little before adding the prawns. If too thick, add a little water. Much will depend on the tomatoes.
  5. Add the prawns, turning occasionally until they are just cooked. This will take about 5 minutes if the sauce is hot. Do not overcook as the prawns will become tough. Serve with rice.

Cooks Tips

- If tomatoes are out of season, use a 400 gram can of whole peeled tomatoes with their juice and mash once you have added them to the pan. - Curry leaves are not the same as curry powder. They are the leaves from a tree native to India. They are available fresh and dried but if you do not have them, leave them out, the curry will still be lovely. - Use 500-750 grams firm fish fillets, cut into 3cm pieces in place of prawns if wished.

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