Kerala is well known for its sea food delicacies and one of the recipes to top the list is the Chemmeen Pollichathu / Prawns Pollichathu. This is a spicy dish that will tingle your taste buds. Prawns is first marinated with the spices and then sauteed in a pan. It is then coated with the masala. This classic preparation is one of the dishes tourists coming to Kerala always look out for. I have always been a fan of Meen Pollichathu/ Fish Pollichathu. It is one of the healthiest way to have fish. It is on one of these searches on the internet that I found this recipe here. Traditionally the prawns is wrapped in a banana leaf , tied into a parcel and then baked on a heavy caste iron skillet or steamed. This brings out the flavours of the dish. This is a slightly easier version. It tasted too good!!
Prawns - 500 g (290 g after cleaning)
Chilly Powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric Powder - 1/4 tsp
Lime Juice - 1 tsp
Salt- 1/2 tsp
Mustard Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Fenugreek Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Curry Leaves - 1 sprig + 2 sprigs
Chopped Garlic - 5 cloves
Ginger - 12 g approx 1 1/2 inch piece
Green Chilly - 2 slit into half
Onion - 1 medium size
Shallots - 1/2 cup roughly chopped
Coriander Powder - 1 1/2 tbsp
Red Chilly Powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric Powder - 1/4 tsp
Whole Pepper - 2 tsp crushed
Tomato - 1 small
water - 1/4 cup
Thick Coconut Milk - 1 cup
Coconut Oil - 2 tbsp + 2 tsp
Salt - as required
Marinate prawns with chilly powder, turmeric powder, salt and lime for 1/2 hour.
Heat 2 tsp oil in a pan. Add in the prawns. Let it cook on low flame for 5 minutes. Toss in between.
Remove and keep aside.
In the same pan heat the coconut oil.
Tip in the mustard seeds and let it splutter.
Add in the fenugreek seeds. Reduce flame to low.
Add a sprig of curry leaves.
Add the other ingredients - garlic, ginger, green chilly, onion and shallots one by one sauteing after each addition for approx 10 seconds.
Tip in the masala powders. Saute for 10 seconds.
Add in chopped tomato. Saute till it turns soft.
Add in the prawns and coat it with the masala. Check salt. Add more salt if needed.
Pour in the water and cook till water has fully evaporated.
Now add in the coconut milk. Let cook till the gravy turns thick.
Add in more curry leaves.
Serve hot with rotis or rice.
Make sure you buy fresh prawns. It should smell fresh and clean not fishy. It should be moist. Avoid buying frozen prawns that has been peeled and deveined as they lose they taste and flavor.
Prawns can be cleaned by first removing the shell, make a slit along the back from the head to the tail. Then using a knife remove the vein. It is the digestive tract which will taste gritty and dirty. So it is better to remove it.
Consume the prawns within 24 hours of purchase.