This year, when we planned a short vacation to Goa, we made a list of food that we wanted to eat and enjoy this time ‘round. It was quite a long list but what we were looking forward to was the authentic Goan Prawn Chilli Fry. On our previous visits, we were disappointed with the food at the places we tried out. Last time, we looked through the menu cards at a well known beach side restaurant and asked for Prawn Chilli Fry – and were served Chinese Chilli Prawns! Inspite of mentioning specifics and being assured that it is the traditional preparation, we were served Chinese preparations at a number of places!
This time, I made sure we got what we had come prepared for. Before placing the order, I asked a number of questions and after being satisfied with the replies I got, placed the order. Finally, we enjoyed this lovely Prawn Chilli Fry but I just can’t understand why they cannot be generous with the portions served. Today, sadly Goa is become so very commercial. Very few restaurants serve authentic Goan food and often, the price does not justify the portions and quality.
Goa is synonymous with sea food but the best is available only in high end restaurants. The best fish is rarely available in the local markets. You will be really very lucky if you get the big catch of oysters, pomfrets, clams, mussels, prawns, lobsters, squids, etc. You will find all these listed on the menu cards but when you want to place the order for it, you will get the standard answer that it is only available in season. Why do you think of Goa? Why do you want to spend your vacation in Goa? For us, one of the main reasons is to feel good in our hometown and to enjoy the authentic Goan cuisine that it is known for. We Goans love the small fish, but it is very rare that you will find it.
I make Goan Prawn Chilli Fry at home whenever I manage to get good quality prawns, especially the very tiny ones. The Goan Prawn Chilli Fry is so simple, quick and super tasty. It needs very few ingredients which are always available in your kitchen. The most important aspect is the freshness of the prawns and the tiny variety. Fresh prawns bring out the flavor in the preparation. When the prawns are fresh, you hardly need spices. In Pune, I use the spices mentioned in the recipe but I must tell you, in Goa when we prepare it in our own home kitchen, all we need is a lot of onions, some green chillies, tomatoes, vinegar and just a dash of dry spices.
Prawn Chilli Fry tastes awesome when piping hot and can be relished at breakfast, lunch, dinner or as a snack. It is a great appetizer to be served in canapés with cocktails and tastes fabulous in toasted or grilled sandwiches. It is a good packed lunch option at work and school and makes a wonderful quick fix one pan meal for working people, busy mothers and bachelors. Try it once and I’m sure you will want to make this often… I find this Goan Prawn Chilli Fry irresistible and can’t wait to share this recipe with you…
- 500 gms. freshPrawns (preferably very small prawns)
- 5 med. Onions (peeled & chopped/diced)
- 2 med. freshTomatoes (diced/chopped)
- 3 fresh Green Chillies or to taste (finely chopped/sliced)
- 1 tsp. Coriander pwd.
- 1 tsp. fresh Garlic paste
- ½ tsp. fresh Ginger paste (or peeled & grated)
- 1 tsp. Lime /Lemon Juice
- 1 tsp. Palm or Sugarcane Vinegar
- ½ tsp. Red Chilli powder or to taste
- 1 tsp. Turmeric pwd.
- Sugar – a large pinch or to taste
- Black Pepper pwd. – a sprinkling
- Garam Masala – a large pinch
- Salt to taste
- 4 tbsps. Vegetable Oil
- A handful of fresh Coriander Leaves (roughly chopped)
For this preparation, very fresh small prawns are used which do not need de-veining. But if you are unable to get them then make sure you de-vein the prawns. I did not get very small prawns so had to devein them.
Wash the prawns & drain completely. Marinate the prawns with ginger-garlic paste, lime juice, ¼ tsp. red chilli pwd., ½ tsp. turmeric pwd. for about 20 mins.
Heat oil in a kadhai/wok .
First, lightly sauté green chillies for a few seconds and then sauté onions till translucent.
Reduce heat; add the remaining ½ tsp. turmeric pwd., ¼ tsp. red chilli pwd., coriander pwd. and then add the tomatoes.
Cook on medium heat till the tomatoes are slightly soft.
Now add the marinated prawns and stir fry on high heat till the prawns are lightly cooked. Do not overcook the prawns or they will turn hard.
Add sugar, pepper pwd., garam masala pwd. and stir to combine well.
Add vinegar; stir. Adjust salt to taste. Taste to check seasoning.
Serve immediately garnished with chopped coriander leaves.
Enjoy your Goan Spicy Prawn Chilli Fry with Goan pao/ ladi pav, bread slices, neer dosa, or any of your favorite breads. It goes well with pulao or as a side with Goan rice & curry.