I popped by Rex at the Chelsea fishmonger today to see what looked good for supper and as usual I was spoilt for choice. The freshwater prawns however won my vote as I fancied making a curry and they would work very well with the new English asparagus I had just bought.
When making a fish curry you need to be a little more delicate with your spices so as not to over power the flavour of the fish. Prawns work especially well in curries as they have a slightly stronger and sweeter taste to white fish. Their firmer texture also holds well in a curry. If you can get to a fishmonger, buy the freshwater prawns with their shell on as these give a much better flavour to this curry. However Tiger prawns, whether fresh or frozen are cheaper and readily available in most supermarkets and would work well as an alternative. Don’t be put off by the rather long list of ingredients to this recipe, the spices will keep a long time and the paste keeps well for a week in the fridge. Although I find that the curry tastes so good you will probably make it frequently and you can vary the fish and vegetables used . It also works well with chicken fillets.
Quick prawn and asparagus curry
Difficulty: easy Serves: 2
8 freshwater prawns peeled washed and deveined
2 salad tomatoes chopped
8 spears of asparagus
1 handful of great beans (optional)
1 can coconut milk (or you can use a fresh coconut, but its quicker with tinned coconut milk)
2 small sweet potatoes peeled and cut into 2cm cubes
1 onion chopped
1tbsp coconut oil
a splash of fish sauce and sea salt to taste
2tbsp chopped coriander (optional)
1tsp coriander seeds
1tsp cumin seed
2 kaffir lime leaves
2tsp curry leaves
2 cloves garlic
1/2tsp chilli flakes
** 1tbsp sunflower oil if making paste in advance
To make the curry paste, toast the coriander and cumin seeds in a dry frying pan then place in a spice grinder/mortar and pestle and grind together with all the other ingredients for the curry paste. If you do not have a spice grinder place the toasted spices in a clean tea towel and bash them hard with a rolling pin or tin can till crushed, then finely chop them up together with the remaining curry paste ingredients. ** You can double the recipe and keep the paste in the fridge, for a week if you mix it with 1tbsp of sunflower oil.
To make the curry, gently fry the onion in the coconut oil for about 5 minutes until it starts to soften then add the paste and cook for 1 minute stirring well. Add the tomatoes, coconut milk, sweet potato and 400ml of water and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook for 5-8 minutes till the potatoes are just beginning to soften then add the asparagus spears and beans (if using) and cook for another 4 minutes. Add the prawns and turn up to a medium heat and cook for 3-4 minutes until the prawns have turned pink and all the vegetables are cooked. Remove from the heat and season with a splash of fish sauce and sea salt to taste. Sprinkle over the chopped coriander if using and serve with warm naan bread.
**If you like to serve your curry with rice only use one sweet potato.