Karahi prawns

Karahi prawns

I Love Curry
Jonathan Gregson

A karahi is a concave pan similar to a wok and, like wok cooking, a ‘karahi’ dish conjures up images of ingredients being tossed into the pan in quick succession and cooked over high heat. The resulting dish should be slightly caramelised in places but also retain lots of fresh flavours with a warm, rich sauce. Dried fenugreek leaves have a wonderful flavour and it is worth buying a packet as they keep really well for a year and can be used to enhance most north Indian dishes. Carom seeds are also known as ajwain and have a wonderful thyme-like taste that adds a special note. Serve with Indian breads.


Quantity Ingredient
5 tablespoons ghee or vegetable oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
20g fresh root ginger, peeled weight, grated into a paste
7 fat garlic cloves, grated into a paste
2-4 fresh green chillies, whole but pierced
6 small tomatoes, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon carom seeds
2 teaspoons dried fenugreek leaves, crumbled
1/4-1/2 teaspoon chilli powder, or to taste
400g large or medium raw prawns, peeled, deveined and rinsed
1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala
1-2 tablespoons single cream
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
handful fresh coriander leaves
1 teaspoon lemon juice, or to taste


  1. Heat 4 tbsp of the ghee or oil in a karahi or sauté pan. Add the onion and cook over a high heat until browned. Add the ginger and garlic pastes and chillies. Sauté gently for a minute or two, until the garlic smells cooked. Add the tomatoes, ground coriander and cumin, carom seeds, crumbled fenugreek leaves and chilli powder. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes, or until the oil comes out of the paste, then stir for three or four minutes more, or until the tomatoes have darkened a little. Set this masala aside.
  2. Heat the remaining ghee or oil in the pan, add the prawns and sauté for a minute. Add the masala paste, garam masala, cream and 50ml water; cook for another two minutes. The sauce should be fairly thick and clinging to the prawns. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Stir in the coriander leaves and add lemon, to taste.
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