Goan seafood curries are pungent, full of aroma of freshly ground spices. Coconut/coconut milk is essential in making most of the Goan seafood curries. Goans also add kokum abundantly in curries, but the amount of kokum if added in excess, makes the curry too tangy. Other alternatives are traditionally adding tamarind or with the Portuguese favourite vinegar.
I have tasted at least 3 kinds of Goan seafood curries. Though the ingredients vary from North to South Goa, main ingredients remain the same. Some add grated coconut masala as base to make prwan curry but many add just coconut milk to the ground spices. We have made Goan Prawn Curry twice so far. Both the times, we followed different recipes.
First was Rosachi Kadi that we made following recipe from Femina magazine in the Nineties. In that, grated coconut is ground along with spices and then milk is extracted and prawns are cooked in that extract. The one presented here contains coconut based masala as well as added coconut milk.
The pungency of the masalas, the tang of tamarind and the sweetness of coconut makes this curry very delicious. Prawns retain their tenderness when cooked in coconut milk. I recommend coconut oil for frying the masalas, because coconut blends well with coconut oil and seafood gets that heavenly aroma and taste when cooked with coconut oil. I have roasted the ingredients and also added some fenugreek(methi) seeds for better flavour, like we Mangaloreans do with other seafood curries.
Now is the season for prawns, and we got fresh big white prawns from the KFDC outlet near our home. You can also make it with shrimp, but big prawns are recommended. Don't forget to make boiled red rice and some fried fish or dry shrimp chutney to complete the meal. Choice of 'pick me up's can vary from Goan Feni to Kerala Kallu. In this recipe, I have given an easy method of making Kallu(coconut toddy) at home.
Whole Big Prawns - 500 Gms
Turmeric Powder - 3/4 Tsp
Table salt - 1/3 Tsp(or to taste)
For the Masala paste:
Red Long(Byadgi or Kashmiri) Chillies - 5
Red Short Chillies(Ramnadu) - 3-4
Peppercorns - 1/2 Tsp
Coriander Seeds - 4 Tsp
Fenugreek(Methi) Seeds - 1/4 Tsp
Grated Coconut - 1 cup, preferably fresh
Ginger - 1/2 Inch
Garlic - 6 Cloves
Onion - 1 small, chopped
Tamarind - Chickpea size ball(or diluted vinegar 1 Tbsp)
Rock Salt - 1/2 Tsp(or table salt 1/3 tsp)
Thin Coconut Milk(or water) - 1 Cup or more
For the curry:
Coconut Oil - 2 Tbsp
Curry Leaves - 1 Sprig
Onion - 1 small, chopped
Green Chillies - 2-3 cut diagonally
Thick Coconut milk - 2 Cups or 400 Ml
Coriander Leaves(Optional) - A handful Chopped
Shell, devein and wash prawns, drain and keep aside.
Marinate prawns with 1/4 tsp salt and turmeric powder for 15-30 mins.
Dry roast red chillies, coriander seeds, fenugreek seeds, peppercorns until a nice aroma emanates.
Grind along with grated coconut, ginger, garlic, one chopped small onion, tamarind and rock salt into a fine paste, using 1/2 cup(100 ml) thin coconut milk or water.
Heat oil in a wide mouthed earthen pot or saucepan.
Add curry leaves followed by one chopped small onion, and saute until onion turns golden.
Add the marinated prawns and fry until prawns are opaque.
Now add the ground masala paste and fry for 2 mins.
Add remaining thin coconut milk, green chillies, mix gently and cook for 3 mins on medium flame.
If you want the gravy thin, add more thin coconut milk or water.
Reduce the flame to sim and add coconut milk, stir well, check for salt and simmer for 2-3 mins.
Garnish with optional chopped coriander leaves.
Serve with steamed rice and fried fish.
Don't add thick coconut milk while the curry is boiling.
Don't boil the curry after adding the coconut milk.
Maintain low flame until coconut milk blends with the curry.
You can garnish the curry with chopped coriander leaves, but I prefer it as it is.