Ghee matters when it comes to prawn ghee roast
If you use ghee all the time, it’s easy to take it for granted and forget about the unique flavor and quality it adds to dishes. Perhaps you’ve taken to adding it to your morning cup of coffee or tea, or you’re spreading it on your toast, or it’s become your go-to cooking oil for sauteing and roasting meats and veggies. This is certainly not a bad thing — ghee is ripe with benefits! But it is nice to prepare a dish where ghee can take center stage which is exactly what happens in this recipe for prawn ghee roast. The masala is flavorful and the prawns are juicy, but this dish would not be the same at all without the addition of ghee.
Prawn ghee roast is a variation of the traditional Mangalorean chicken ghee roast recipe. Mangalore is a seaport (so it does make sense to switch out the chicken for some seafood) in the Indian state of Karnataka. Mangalore is known for its distinct cuisine which has been influenced for centuries by the many cultures that inhabit this commercial center.
While the masala paste is made from a variety of potent spices, the ghee is the true star of this dish and shouldn’t be replaced with a different cooking oil.
The Prawn Ghee Roast Recipe
To marinate the prawns
- 1/2 pound prawns, fresh or frozen, deshelled and deveined
- 2 tbsp curd/yogurt
- 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
To make the masala paste
- 2 tbsp coriander seeds
- 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp black peppercorns
- a pinch of fenugreek seeds
- 8-10 byadagi red chilies (or Kashmiri red chilies)
- 6-7 garlic cloves
- 1/4 cup ghee, divided
- 1 onion
- 2 spring curry leaves
Marinate the cleaned, deshelled and deveined prawns
In a mixing bowl combine prawns with curd/yogurt, turmeric powder, salt, and lemon juice. Set aside to marinate for at least 30 minutes.
Make masala paste
Heat a heavy-bottom pan over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, reduce the heat.
Dry roast coriander seeds, mustard seeds, cumin, peppercorns, and a pinch of fenugreek seeds. Roast on low heat until aromatic. Transfer to a plate.
In the same pan, dry roast red chilies until crisp. Transfer to the same plate.
Transfer the roasted ingredients to a mixer/grinder jar. Add garlic, tamarind and water. Grind to a fine paste. Set it aside.
Make the Prawn Ghee Roast
Heat 2 tbsp of ghee over medium heat. Add the marinated prawns.
Cook prawns until they begin to curl up into a tighter C shape. Remove them from the pan and place on a plate.
Hold aside the liquid released from the prawns in a separate bowl.
Heat the same pan over medium heat. Add chopped onion and 2 tbsp of ghee.
Stir fry the onions until golden.
Add the prepared masala paste and the liquid saved from the cooked prawns.
Stir to combine. Add salt to taste.
Cover and cook until the ghee begins to separate at the edges of the masala. Stir to prevent the masala from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
Add in the prawns and the curry leaves. Mix with the masala and cook for 5-7 minutes over low heat.
Serve hot with chapatti or rice as a side dish.
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