South o' the Border Prawn Masala

Total Time:
1 hr 10 min
Prep:
20 min
Cook:
50 min

Yield:
4 to 6 servings
Level:
Intermediate

Ingredients
  • 1 pound large head-on prawns, shelled, deveined, heads and shells reserved
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large red onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 small jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 dried arbol chile, stemmed
  • 1 dried ancho chile, stemmed
  • 1 (14-ounce) can peeled tomatoes in juice, drained, liquid reserved
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • Naan bread, for serving
Directions
  • Remove the prawn heads. In a medium saucepot, bring the prawn heads, shells and 5 cups of water to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer 20 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onions, garlic, ginger, and jalapeno, and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes.

  • While the vegetables cook, break the arbol chiles and ancho chile into pieces (remove the seeds, if you prefer less heat and spice), then grind in a spice grinder to a fine powder. Set aside.

  • Crush the tomatoes with your hands.

  • Add the turmeric, garam masala, and 2 teaspoons of the ground chile powder to the skillet. Reserve the remaining chile powder for another use. Saute the mixture for 30 seconds, then add the crushed tomatoes and 1/4 cup of the reserved tomato juice. Cook the mixture, stirring, until thickened and most of liquid is cooked out. Cook's Note: This sweetens the tomatoes and helps bring all the flavors together.

  • Strain the prawn shells from the water and discard the shells. The water is now a prawn stock. Add 2 cups of the prawn stock to the tomato mixture and bring the mixture to a simmer. The remaining prawn stock can be cooled and frozen for future use. Simmer the tomato mixture, uncovered, for 10 minutes.

  • Add the prawns to the skillet and cook, stirring gently, until just cooked through, about 4 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, then add the heavy cream and fresh dill. Let the mixture simmer, for 2 minutes more, stirring gently. Season with salt, and pepper, to taste. Serve the masala with warm naan.


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