Cumin seed powderfreshly roasted and ground: 1.5 tsp
Red chilli powder: ½ tsp
Slit green chillies: 5
Warm water: 3.5 cups
Salt for the gravy: 1 tsp
Turmeric powder for the gravy: ¾ tsp
Oil for gravy: 3 tbsp
Finely chopped coriander leaves for garnishing: handful
Marinate the prawns by opening up the shells a bit and carefully smearing each prawn with salt and turmeric powder, ensuring that salt and turmeric reach the insides of the shells of each of the prawns. Leave at room temperature for 15 min.
Add ½ cup oil to a shallow non-stick pan. When the oil is hot, reduce the flame to a medium. Shallow-fry the marinated prawns (with heads and shells intact) in small batches. The prawns should be fried for 1 min on each side. Please note that smaller prawns take lesser time. Read “My tricks to make even a regular prawn curry ooze out with flavour” in this blogpost to know how to make the juiciest prawn curry. Rubbery prawns are a big no-no!
For the gravy, In the same pan, add the rest of the oil and let it reach its smoking point. On a medium flame, add carom seeds and wait for a while. Add the asafoetida or hing immediately. Sauté continuously for a few seconds.
Add all the garlic paste followed by chopped onions. Sauté till the onions have a nice golden-brown colour.
Add the tomato puree and the Pad Thai Sauce and sauté on a high flame until the liquids are almost reduced to half. In a few teaspoonfuls of water, make a paste of salt, turmeric powder, cumin powder and red chilli powder. Mix this paste in. Cook until oil separates.
Reduce the flame to a minimum and add the coconut milk, stirring continuously. Let this come to a slow boil.
Pour the warm water and the slit green chillies. Cover and simmer for 5 min.
Add the prawns. Stir evenly. The prawns should partially submerge in water. Add more water, if needed.
Cover and let the curry come to a rolling boil; stir the contents once.
Check and adjust the seasoning. Let the curry boil for a total of 10 min.
Switch off the flame and remove the cooking vessel from fire. Transfer to a serving bowl after 5 min.
This Prawn Curry is best enjoyed with steamed rice.