“This is an aromatic prawn/shrimp dish. It is easy to make, and do not let the spices put you off! I explain which to use, and you can use what is available to you. It's either a saucy main dish with rice and a large salad, or served as a chowder starter, with bread. I use a Cape Malay curry powder, which is mild and spicy, but any really mild curry or masala will do, as this is not a curry dish. You can make up a spice mixture, and keep it in an airtight bottle. Choose at least 5 from the following list: fennel seeds, cumin seeds or ground cumin, coriander seeds (crushed), pinch ground cloves, cardamom seeds, black pepper, star aniseed and ground cinnamon. Preparation time does not include time taken for cleaning the shrimps. It's easiest to buy the shrimps (prawns to us!) frozen, but choose large ones! If the shirmps are deveined and headless, and the shells are soft, there is no need to peel them. The shells add to the flavour! I used 4 medium, very ripe fresh tomatoes, peeled, but canned is fine.”

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. If the prawns are not cleaned, peel and devein them, and rinse in a colander. It's better to buy a little more than specified above! Prawns/shrimps shrink a lot in cooking. (Do not buy cooked prawns as they will simply overcook).
  2. If using fresh tomatoes, peel and chop them, and peel and chop the onion.
  3. Heat a generous film of oil in a large pot. When hot, add the onion, stir, and let soften over fairly high heat.
  4. Bash your choice of whole spices in a mortar and pestle -- just to crush them coarsely. When onion has fried about 5 minutes, add the curry powder and the tablespoon bashed whole spices.
  5. Stir well, let spices fry -- not burn! -- for about two minutes, to bring out their flavours. Stir a few times.
  6. Add the tomatoes and sugar to the pot, and let them sauté with the spices and onion for about a minute, stirring a couple of times.
  7. Add the raw prawns all at once, over fairly high heat; stir through very well but gently, so all the prawns pick up some of the spices and tomato.
  8. Add the coconut cream, and then the fish and oyster sauce.
  9. Stir to mix, gently, then bring to a boil. Cook for about 3 - 5 minutes, depending on size of the prawns. Do not overcook. When the prawns turn pink and curl up, they are done. Add the lemon/lime zest and lemon/lime juice; stir again.
  10. Taste the sauce off the heat: it might need salt. If the taste is very mild, you could add a few drops chilli pepper sauce.
  11. Serve with rice and a mixed green salad, or serve in bowls with a Continental-type bread.

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