Monday, June 6, 2016

Prawn Sukka

If you follow me on Intagram, you probably know that I was visiting India for a month (If you don't follow me on Intagram - why not?!) Apart from a quick stop over at Singapore, I was mostly in Mumbai. One of my Mumbai food highlights, apart from my mother's fantastic cooking, was the Crab Sukka from Mahesh Lunch Home. Mahesh Lunch Home specializes in Mangalorean seafood dishes and the flavors in the crab dish was off the charts. 

'Sukka' essentially means dry. Here I have tried to recreate the flavors in a dry prawn dish. While cooking this, our building's fire alarm went off - it wasn't me! But I had to evacuate while I was in the process of cooking the spices. Which was SO inconvenient! 1) Because I smelled like a spice drawer; and 2) Because I really wanted to finish cooking this delight and dig in!

Yield - Serves 2

Total Time - 1 Hour


1 Lb (450 grams) - Prawns/ Shrimp (medium - large size)
3 Medium Shallots
3 Kashmiri Red Chilies
10 cloves Garlic
1/2 inch Ginger
1 Teaspoon Cumin Seeds
1 Teaspoon Coriander seeds
4 Cloves 
1/2 Inch Cinnamon stick 
1/2 Teaspoon fennel seeds
1 sprig of curry leaves
1 Teaspoon Coriander powder
1/2 Teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder
1/2 Teaspoon Turmeric powder
Asafetida (Hing) a dash 
Salt to taste
Water as needed 
3/4 Cup of Shredded Coconut


I use Kashmiri red chillies and red chili powder as this variety is milder than others but sill gives the dish a bright red color. If you're using any other variety of red chillies please adjust the quantity or you might need to have a Fire Extinguisher handy.

I have used frozen coconut here. Fresh coconut is of course ideal but I wouldn't recommend using desiccated coconut.


To get started, prep your ingredients. Finely dice the shallots. Peel and clean garlic and ginger. Soak the Kashmiri red chillies in enough warm water to cover. I just microwave the chilies in water for 20 seconds and leave it alone while prepping the rest of the ingredients.

Rub salt, 1/4 teaspoon turmeric and 1/4 teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder to the prawns and set aside.

Dry roast cumin seeds, fennel seeds, whole black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, coriander seeds and a few curry leaves over low - medium heat. I have used dry curry leaves here, so they are not as potent. If using fresh curry leaves, use about 4-5. Dry roast till fragrant, taking care to not burn it.

Blitz together the ginger, garlic, soaked red chilies (discard the soaking liquid) along with all the roasted spices.

Add grated coconut. Add a little water if you need to blitz into a thick smooth paste.

This is your masala. 

Heat oil in a skillet and lightly saute the prawns. The prawns will finish off cooking in the masala later so at this stage you're only looking to cook it partially so that it loses a lot of the water - about 2-3 minutes.

Strain the prawns out of the pan and set aside. Add a little more oil to the skillet if needed. The remaining oil will have the flavor of the prawns infused in it so continue to cook in this oil (this is not a glam shot but this is flavor oil, don't chuck it out!)

Add a dash of asafetida. Toss in chopped shallots, rest of the curry leaves (7-8 leaves) and 1/4 teaspoon turmeric and 1/4 teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder.

Cook this together till the onions are well cooked.

Add the masala paste, add coriander powder and salt and cook on medium heat while stirring frequently.

The masala is cooked when it starts to dry out and the oil separates (we haven't added too much oil so this is not going to be too dramatic)

Add the partially cooked shrimp in and combine with the masala.

Cook it all together for about 3-4 minutes and you're done!

Serve with rice or just dig in!


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