King prawn curry

Serves 4
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Indy Lifestyle Online

I have had this dish several times at the New Tayyab restaurant off Whitechapel Road in east London and have endeavoured to recreate the recipe. I did ask Wasim, the owner, for the recipe and the secret was a roasted masala spice mix. But it's anyone's guess which spices and how much of each went into it. Anyway each time I try to recreate it I may add a little more of this and that, as I'm sure they do at the New Tayyab. The king prawn curry comes in two sizes, for £10 and £20. And it's well worth it as these prawns are gigantic, like baby lobsters. You can normally find these big prawns in Asian supermarkets, labelled U5s. If not, use the biggest ones you can get your hands on.

I have had this dish several times at the New Tayyab restaurant off Whitechapel Road in east London and have endeavoured to recreate the recipe. I did ask Wasim, the owner, for the recipe and the secret was a roasted masala spice mix. But it's anyone's guess which spices and how much of each went into it. Anyway each time I try to recreate it I may add a little more of this and that, as I'm sure they do at the New Tayyab. The king prawn curry comes in two sizes, for £10 and £20. And it's well worth it as these prawns are gigantic, like baby lobsters. You can normally find these big prawns in Asian supermarkets, labelled U5s. If not, use the biggest ones you can get your hands on.

for the roasted curry powder, about 100g

1tbsp fenugreek seeds
1tbsp fennel seeds
1tbsp fenugreek leaves
1tbsp cumin seeds
1tsp ground cinnamon
1tbsp dried chilli
1/2tbsp caraway seeds
1/2tbsp nigella seeds
1tbsp turmeric
8 cloves
1tbsp ground coriander
1tbsp mustard seeds
1/2tbsp podded cardamon seeds
1tbsp ground cumin

Grind all the spices, except the ground cumin, cinnamon and coriander, in a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle. Then mix them with the already ground spices and sprinkle into a heavy-bottomed frying pan. Cook over a medium heat stirring constantly and not letting them burn, until they turn dark brown. Transfer to a plate and leave to cool, then store in a sealed jar.

20 large prawns, peeled and headed (keep the shells for the sauce) and de-veined
1 red onion, peeled and finely chopped
3 medium cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
A small piece of root ginger, scraped and finely grated
A good pinch of saffron
A good pinch of curry leaves
75g ghee (or a half oil, half butter mix)
2tbsp roasted curry powder (see above)
1tbsp tomato purée
500ml fish stock, made from a good stock cube is fine
A few sprigs of coriander, roughly chopped

Gently cook the onion, garlic, ginger, saffron and curry leaves in two thirds of the ghee for 3-4 minutes until soft. Add the curry spices, one third of the prawn heads and shells (retain the remainder and freeze for future use) and tomato purée and stir well. Add the stock, bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes. Blend the sauce in a liquidiser until smooth then strain through a fine meshed sieve into a clean pan, pushing as much through the sieve as possible.

Return to a low heat and simmer until the sauce has reduced and thickened.

Heat the remaining ghee in a frying pan, season the prawns and fry them until lightly coloured. Pour the sauce in with the prawns and simmer gently for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve with basmati rice and scatter with the coriander.

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