Karuveppilai prawns – To be honest, I borrowed this fancy name from Aachi Aapa Kaddai’s menu card. For those of you who do not know the meaning of Karuveppilai, it means Curry leaves. Curry leaves is a very flavorful leaf used mostly in South Indian cooking and usually for seasoning/garnishing or tadka as we commonly call it. Last day, my friend gave me some curry leaves from her backyard. There was quite a lot and I didn’t want to freeze it. But there was no way I could consume it all in a short time too. So that week, I was making dishes which needed curry leaves in abundance. I still had a lot of it remaining. That is when suddenly I remembered seeing this dish in a restaurant’s menu card. That name always caught my attention, but I never ordered the dish. So frankly speaking, though I have borrowed the name from the menu card of a restaurant, I haven’t tried to re-create that same dish here. I just came up with the recipe keeping in mind the Chettinad style of cooking.
This dish was an experiment. This was the most risky experiment I have done in the recent times. The reason for this being risky was because, all the spices(including the curry leaves) are ground together and cooked at the same time. And at that time I had no clue, how, this much quantity of ground curry leaves would taste. But I went all out and gave it a shot and I am so happy I took the risk 😀 This dish was soo flavorful and so different. Both DD and me enjoyed our dinner. I had made lemon rice along with it and the combination somehow clicked 😀
Shrimp/Prawn – 250 gm
Onion – 1 no, chopped
Tomato – 1 no, puree’d
Curry leaf – 1 strand
Mustard seeds – 1/4 tsp
Curry leaf – 1 sprig
Oil – 3 tbsp
Salt – to taste (apprx. 1/2 tsp)
Ginger – 1/4 inch piece
Garlic – 5-6 pods
Curry leaves – 3-4 sprigs
Black pepper – 1 tsp
Fennel seeds – 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder – 1 tsp
Red chilli powder – 1/4 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
1. Grind all the ingredients mentioned under ‘To grind’ section into a smooth paste and keep aside.
2. Heat oil in a pan. Put mustard seeds in it and let it splutter. Then add curry leaves.
3. Add chopped onion and salt to it. Saute till onion turns light brown.
4. Then add the tomato puree and let it cook well in medium flame. Oil will start to separate.
5. Add the ground paste and saute well. Let it cook in medium-low flame.
6. The spices need to cook well. Once the spices are cooked, the oil will start to separate. You can sprinkle some water if the spices seem to stick to the pan or burn.
7. Once it becomes a thick paste, add the shrimp/prawns to it. Mix well so that the spices coat the shrimp well.
8. Now add water as required. I didn’t add much water(apprx. 1 cup) because I wanted thicker gravy.
9. Cook till the shrimp cooks well and gravy consistency is per your liking.
Serve with lemon rice or plain rice.