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    Tempered Prawns

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    Tempered Prawns

    This is a dry curry - in other words, the sauce clings thickly to the prawns, imbuing them with intense, sweet-sharp, hot flavours. In Sri Lanka, the brick-red colour is largely produced by the use of chillis, but softie that I am, I’ve reduced the cayenne and made it up with sweet paprika.

    • Preparation time: 10 minutes, plus 20 minutes marinating
    • Cooking time: 15 minutes to 20 minutes
    • Total time: 25 to 30 minutes, plus 20 minutes marinating 30 minutes

    Serves: 4


    • 200g raw king prawns, shelled, tails on
    • ½ lime, juice
    • ½ tsp salt
    • ½ onion, finely chopped
    • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
    • 1cm fresh root ginger, finely chopped
    • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
    • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
    • ½ tsp paprika
    • 2 tsp tomato paste
    • ½ tsp caster sugar
    • Fresh coriander, to serve


    1. Marinate the prawns with the lime juice and salt for 20 minutes. Drain and reserve the juices.
    2. Fry the onion, garlic and ginger gently in the oil until very tender – allow a good 10 minutes for this. Now add the cayenne and paprika and fry for another 30 seconds, before adding the prawns and their juices to the pan. Sauté for around 3 minutes until the prawns start to turn pink.
    3. Finally, add the tomato paste and sugar and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more salt or lime juice. Garnish with fresh coriander and serve immediately.

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    Drinks recommendation

    Try a sauvignon blanc from South Africa which has all of the purity and depth needed to match the spicy prawns.


    Average user rating

    4 stars