Kolmi no patio

Kolmi no patio

Prawns in hot and sweet sauce

Mr Todiwala's Bombay
Helen Cathcart

This is a much simplified version of the traditional Parsee prawn patia, which is normally served as a pickle accompaniment to my favourite lentil dish, dhaan daar (simply puréed cooked lentils, sizzled with garlic and cumin and served with deep-fried crisp onions) but it can also enjoyed on its own with fresh, hot chapattis. Patio is a classical dish and it is rare to find this version on sale anywhere. Most restaurants do not know that a classical recipe exists and make something bright red in colour, which is not authentic.


Quantity Ingredient
500g raw, peeled prawns
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
4-6 tablespoons sunflower or rapeseed oil
10-12 curry leaves, preferably fresh
1 aubergine, diced
150-200g red kuri flesh, diced
2 onions, finely chopped
1 green chilli, seeded and chopped
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons ginger and garlic paste
or 5-6 garlic cloves, crushed, and 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
2 large tomatoes, chopped
2-3 tablespoons fresh tamarind pulp
100g jaggery

To serve

Quantity Ingredient
2 tablespoons coriander leaves, chopped
salt, to taste (optional)
Makki ki roti
or Chapattis
or Baafaela chawal
or Tadka daal


  1. Devein and wash the prawns, toss in the lemon juice and turmeric and set aside.
  2. Heat 2–3 tablespoons of the oil in a flameproof casserole and add the curry leaves and aubergine. Sauté until well browned then remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  3. Next add a tablespoon more oil and sauté the squash until browning slightly. Remove and repeat with more oil and the onions. Sauté until golden brown, then add the green chilli, chilli powder, ground coriander, cumin and the ginger and garlic paste.
  4. Sauté for 2–3 minutes over a medium-low heat and add the chopped tomatoes. Cook, stirring, for a further 2–3 minutes and add the tamarind and jaggery.
  5. Stir until the tamarind and jaggery are fully dissolved, then add the aubergine and squash and check for seasoning.
  6. The patio needs to be a little hot, sweet and sour.
  7. Finally add the prawns and cook for 2–3 minutes or until the prawns are pink. If you are storing the patio as a pickle, use a little extra oil and cook the prawns a little longer so that no fresh prawn moisture remains and the patio looks like a thick pickle. Garnish with a sprinkling of fresh coriander and salt. Serve with chapattis or some hot daal and steamed rice.
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