Only for a South Indian can ‘gunpowder’ mean something delicious. This fiery and spicy blend is a favourite addition to our breakfast table accompanying the much loved idlis and dosas.
Today, let’s shake things up a bit and use this breakfast favourite to spice up some prawns along with other delicious ingredients. Serve as a starter or a side dish; either way, these pan fried gunpowder prawns are a conversation starter.
And make sure you get the juiciest tiger prawns; nothing less would do!
1. 600 gms tiger prawns (with shells)
2. 3-4 tsp gunpowder
3. Salt, to season
4. 2 tbsp butter
5. 1 sprig curry leaves; finely sliced
6. 1 shallot/small onion; finely chopped
7. 1 tsp vegetable oil
8. Coriander leaves; finely chopped, for garnish
9. 1 lemon
For the gunpowder:
• 4 tbsp chana dal (split Bengal gram)
• 3 tbsp urad dal (skinless)
• 5-6 dry red chillies
• 1 tbsp cumin seeds
• Salt, to season
• ½ tsp sugar
1. To prepare the gunpowder, dry roast the chana dal and urad dal till it has lightly browned. Remove and allow to cool. In the same pan, dry roast the cumin seeds and chillies till aromatic and fragrant; remove and allow to cool. Once the ingredients have cooled down, blend all the ingredients including salt and sugar to a powdery consistency.
2. Remove the prawn heads, clean and keep aside. Remove the prawn shells leaving only the tail bit intact. Devein, clean and keep aside.
3. Pat the prawns dry and season with salt. Add 1 tsp of gunpowder and mix through the prawns.
4. Heat butter in a pan along with a tsp of oil and just as it starts to melt, add the curry leaves, shallots and prawn heads. On low heat, cook the prawn heads covered so that it releases its flavour into the butter. Cook for at least 15 minutes on the lowest heat possible taking care not to burn the shells.
5. After 15 minutes, remove the heads carefully and discard. To the same pan, add the marinated prawns. Increase the heat a bit and add 2 tsp of gunpowder (quantity optional to suit heat preferences) and pan fry the prawns till done. Season with salt if necessary.
6. To finish, squeeze the juice of half a lemon and garnish with chopped coriander leaves.
Note – The addition of prawn heads is to add more flavour to the dish. But if you do not wish to use the heads, skip this step. Instead sauté the shallots and curry leaves; then add the marinated prawns to it and fry.