Our resident chef Mark Hix takes you through a flawless Prawn and Pumpkin Curry.
• 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 powder, one third of the prawn heads and shells (retain the remainder and freeze for future use) and tomato purée.
• Stir well. Add the stock, bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes.
• Blend the sauce in a liquidiser until smooth and then strain through a fine-meshed sieve into a clean pan, pushing as much through the sieve as possible. Meanwhile, lightly roast the pumpkin pieces in a little ghee in a moderate oven for 30 minutes, turning once, until lightly brown.
• Return the sauce to a low heat and simmer until it has reduced and thickened.
• Heat the remaining ghee in a frying pan, season the prawns and fry them until lightly coloured.
• Pour the sauce and pumpkin in with the prawns, add the coconut milk and simmer gently for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. The sauce should be quite thick. If not, remove the prawns and pumpkin and simmer the sauce until it’s thickened.
• Serve with basmati rice and scatter with the coriander.
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 wad of curry leaves
75g ghee (or a half oil, half butter mix)
2tbsps roasted curry powder (see right)
20 or more large prawns, peeled, headed and deveined (keep the shells for the sauce)
1tbsp tomato purée
500ml fish stock (a good stock cube is fine)
250g butternut squash or firm pumpkin flesh, cut into rough 2-3cm chunks
150g coconut milk
A few sprigs of fresh coriander, roughly chopped
For the curry powder (about 100g):
1tbsp fenugreek leaves
1tbsp fenugreek seeds
1tbsp fennel seeds
1tbsp cumin seeds
1tsp ground cinnamon
1tbsp dried chilli
1/2tbsp caraway seeds
1/2tbsp nigella seeds
8 cloves of garlic
1tbsp ground coriander
1tbsp mustard seeds
1/2tbsp podded cardamom 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.
Mix them with the already ground spices and sprinkle into a heavy-bottom frying pan.
Cook over a medium heat, stirring constantly to avoid burning, until dark brown.
Transfer to a plate and leave to cool, then store in a sealed jar.
Photograph by Jason Lowe