Prawn Head Curry

Biting into a cooked medium-sized prawn’s head has made me realise that there is a lot of juice and flavour that is just waiting there to be had. I never liked biting into a prawn head. But once I tried it, there was no stopping me.

I made this curry with the heads of Jumbo Tiger Prawns. Since there were too big to bite into, I used them to flavour the curry; and then just scooped out the goodness with my fingers when relishing the curry. It helps to crack the head open and then just slurp your way through.

Preparation Time : 10 minutes
Cooking Time : 40 minutes
Portion : 4 portions
Prawn Heads (See notes in Variations) 1 kg.
Onion Paste 1½ cups
Coriander Seeds 5 teaspoons
Cumin Seeds 2 teaspoons
Grated Coconut 1 cup
Coconut Milk (as required) 200 mls.
Tamarind Pulp 2 tablespoons
Ginger Paste 2 teaspoons
Garlic Paste 2 teaspoons
Mustard Seeds 1½ teaspoon
Fenugreek Seeds ¾ teaspoon
Red Chilli Powder 1-2 tablespoons
Turmeric Powder ¾ teaspoon
Coconut Oil 2 tablespoons
Curry Leaves 3 sprigs
Coriander Leaves (finely chopped) 2 tablespoons
Freshly Crushed Black Peppercorns To taste
Salt To taste

Preparation Method:

1.           Heat the oil over medium heat in a round-bottomed pan. When hot, add the mustard and fenugreek seeds. When it begins to splutter, add the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, curry leaves, ginger paste and garlic paste. Sauté for 3 minutes. Add the onions and allow it to cook till it becomes golden in colour. Switch the gas off and add in the turmeric and red chilli powders. Keep aside to cool for 5 minutes

2.          Add the cooled down masala in a grinder. Grind to a fine paste and keep aside

3.          Separately, grind the grated coconut to a fine paste

4.         Add the masala paste back to the round-bottomed pan and cook over medium heat. Add in the tamarind pulp and 1½ cups of water. Mix well. Add in the prawn heads and gently stir to ensure that the heads are covered with the curry. Cover and allow to simmer for about 15-20 minutes, till the water begins to evaporate

5.          Add in the coconut paste and 1 cup water. Stir, lower the flame and season as required. If the curry is too spicy, add in coconut milk as required. Simmer for 5 minutes. Switch off the flame

6.         Serve garnished with coriander leaves.

·         Can use vegetable oil instead of coconut oil.
Suggested Accompaniments:  
·            Steamed Rice.
·            Can use heads of King Prawns and Tiger Prawns, instead of just Jumbo Tiger Prawns. Just make note, the bigger the head, the more difficult it is to crack open with your teeth as the shell tends to be hard. In such an instance, I break open the thick shell and use my fingers to dig into the soft juicy portion of the head

·            Can use heads from lobsters and crayfish as well.


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