Ok, so the plan was for me to make this dish, take pictures and then post with them. I make this prawn curry at least once a week, and it's a household favourite. Unfortunately, best laid plans and all that, and last night when I was cooking for a chilled dinner party, I was juggling chopping veg with paying attention to Missy G's dance moves, then subsequently soothing a banged head (hers), before slicing into a finger (mine), so the piccies had to take a back seat. This being said, I still managed to make a damn good Trini prawn curry in under 20 minutes, so here's how.
I use cooked peeled prawns - don't go for the tiny ones that look like babies' toes or the frozen ones, and don't go for the flash chunky king prawns either; I've tried them all, and the ones that are usually sold at the supermarket at 2 packs for a fiver are the best bet. Each pack is usually 175g. This recipe makes roughly enough for 2 adults, and a little one, or else seconds for greedy grownups. The beauty of this is that it is fast, and I found it a genius way to get Missy G to eat veg when she was going through her intensely carnivorous phase. Amazing what you can hide in curry sauce.
I also save time by keeping chopped onions in a ziploc bag in the freezer, so that I can just take out what I need every time I cook.
So, you need -
2 packs of prawns
1 onion chopped in half and then thinly sliced semi-circles
2 cloves of garlic crushed or thinly sliced
2 tbsps curry powder (I use a brand called Chief, and I'm pretty sure that the curry won't taste the same if you use a different one. Chief is a Trinidadian brand; as mentioned, this is a Trini curry, not an East Indian one - you can buy it on Amazon here. The inter web is a marvellous thing! Otherwise, I buy mine at our local West Indian shop)
1/2 cup boiling water
1 generous handful of cumin seeds
1 carrot or courgette finely grated
1 fairly ripe tomato
Chili pepper - I use birds eye or Thai chillies, but only if not sharing or making for kids obv
(serve with basmati rice - I use half a mugful of rice for 2 people, boiled in twice as much water, but then everyone has their own way of cooking rice)
Roast the cumin seeds dry for about 5 minutes in a frying pan on a medium flame, gently turning them over or moving them around with a wooden spoon ever so often. When roasted, crush in a pestle & mortar. Missy G is generally on cumin-crushing and garlic-peeling duty.
While cumin crushing is going on well away from the stove area, keep the flame on medium and pour a good lug of vegetable oil into the pan - if I were forced to measure, perhaps about 2 tbsps. Allow the onions to soften in the oil, while you pour the boiling water over the 2 tbsps of curry powder in a mug or bowl that you don't mind being stained. Stir mixture well, it will all dissolve very easily.
Pour the curry/water mixture into the frying pan, and allow it to "cook" for 2 minutes. Over time you can decide on the proportions of water to curry powder to make the sauce at your preferred consistency.
Add the finely grated carrot or courgette (if you want to add both - and why not - then use half of each) and also now add the garlic. If added too early it will of course brown and have that acrid burnt garlic taste. Allow to cook for 3-5 minutes.
Throw in both packs of prawns, and your chopped tomato. If you have the patience to peel it do, but it's not essential (the quickest way is to place the tomato into a bowl and pour boiling water over it, then the skin will split and it can easily be peeled away). Also add the crushed cumin seeds, and a pinch of coriander leaves, chopped or ripped. Allow to simmer for no more than 5 minutes.
Squeeze the lime over the curry just before turning the heat off. Add a couple leaves of coriander to garnish. If adding chillies, then add one just after the prawns have gone in.
Mr G likes having mango chutney with this curry, and I have to admit that he has now converted me. As we tend to cook this as a family meal - after duck and pancakes it is Missy G's favourite meal - I usually leave out the chillies, and so that we get our spice kick, we gingerly dab some proper Trini homemade Scotch Bonnet pepper sauce on. Delicious.
Here's a picture of the sauces, if not of the finished dish! Well, something is better than nothing.
Do let me know if you try it what you think. This is my version of what began as a recipe from the Naparima Girls Highschool Cookbook, a trove of West Indian cooking that has become a bit of a cult book for West Indians both back home and craving a taste while abroad. I've definitely given it my own twists and turns over time, but it literally takes no more than 20 minutes max. And you've also cunningly hidden courgette/carrot within the sauce, which your little one will be hoovering up unbeknownst to them. Everyone's a winner....