Malai Jhingri Poppadoms

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When I try to imagine Mrs Aouda, the love of Fogg’s life, I think of Ravinder Bhogal. Elegant, beautiful and poised, she’s the ideal person to offer a recipe as we begin to plan our departure from Indian shores. There is a popular saying in Bengal: ‘Fish makes a Bengali’. For them, the scent of seafood cooking is a memory of home. Poppadoms are normally a quick filler, but here they are transformed into the perfect food for sharing with friends. These ‘king crackers’, as Ravinder calls them, are topped with gently spiced prawns cooked in coconut milk, the Kolkata way.

Ingredients

  • 350g/12oz raw tiger prawns
  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • Sea salt
  • A glug of groundnut oil or ghee
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 3 cardamom pods, bruised
  • 1stick of cinnamon, broken up
  • 2 whole dried chillies, snapped in half
  • A pinch of saffron, ground with a tablespoon of warm water
  • 6 cloves, crushed
  • 1 fresh red chilli, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon tomato purée
  • 150ml/5fl oz coconut milk
  • Juice of ½ a lime
  • 40 mini poppadoms
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander
  • 3 tablespoons freshly grated coconut or unsweetened desiccated coconut

Method

Put the prawns into a bowl with a teaspoon of turmeric and some sea salt and leave to marinate for 15 minutes.

Heat the oil or ghee in a frying pan, then add the onion and cook until soft. Sprinkle in the cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, dried chillies, saffron and cloves and continue to fry until the onions are golden brown and the spices fragrant.

Stir in the fresh chilli, ginger, sugar, a pinch of salt, the tomato purée and the remaining turmeric and fry for another minute. Whisk in the coconut milk. Once the mixture has come to a simmer, toss in the prawns. When they are pink and opaque, take off the heat and squeeze in the lime juice. Allow to cool.

To serves

Heap the mixture on to mini poppadoms and garnish with the chopped coriander and grated coconut.

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