Spicy Prawn and Cucumber Curry

Spicy Prawn and Cucumber Curry

My mother gave me several more-than-ripe cucumbers of the type used for braising in Northern German cuisine. Having had braised cukes several times over the past weeks, I was in dire need of a new recipe – which I found in Madhur Jaffrey’s Far Eastern Cookery.

The rather surprising combination of prawns, cucumbers and coconutmilk is quite good, and has almost a mediterranean flavour because of the fennel seeds in the spice blend.

Spicy Prawn and Cucumber Curry
makes 4 servings

340 g uncooked prawns, peeled and de-veined
285 g cucumber, peeled and cut crossways into 1 cm thick rounds
110 g shallots, 85 g peeled and finely chopped and the remainder peeled and finely sliced
6 garlic cloves minced, 4 peeled and finely chopped, 2 cut into fine slivers
2 tablespoons ground coriander seed
1 tablespoon ground fennel seeds
1 teaspoon ground white pepper, or to taste
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
3-4 dried hot red chillies
1 teaspoons sugar
400 ml thick coconut milk
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon whole fennel seeds
1. Wash and pat the prawns dry.

2. Combine the sliced shallots and slivers of garlic and set aside.

3. In a medium-sized pan combine the chopped shallots, chopped garlic, ground coriander, ground fennel, white pepper, ground cumin, turmeric and 450 ml water.

4. Crumble in the red chillies. Stir and bring to the boil. Boil uncovered on a high-ish heat for about 5 minutes.

5. Add the cucumber rounds and bring to a simmer again and simmer gently for about 1 minute, stirring the prawns around in the sauce.

6. Give the coconut milk a good stir and pour it in. Bring the mixture to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 1 minute, stirring now and then.

7. Put the oil in a very small pan or small frying pan and set it over a medium high heat. When the oil is hot, put in the slivered shallots and garlic. Stir and fry until they turn a golden colour.

8. Add the whole fennel seeds. Stir once and quickly pour the contents of the pan (oil and seasonings) into the pan containing the curry. Cover the curry pan immediately to trap all the aromas. Serve.

Now, if you do not cook in a mile-high-flame-powered wok or karhai, the amount of liquid is way too much, you’ll need about half of the water and coconut milk mentioned. I reduced the amount of garlic as well, because it was too much for my taste. Other than that, I loved the dish – well worth doing it again.

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