Recipe courtesy of Anjum Anand

Coconut and Mustard Prawns

Anjum's combination of coconut and prawns is unusual, but it really shows the diversity of Bengali cuisine.
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 50 min
  • Prep: 20 min
  • Inactive: 10 min
  • Cook: 20 min
  • Yield: 4 to 5 servings
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1 pound medium-sized prawns (large shrimp), cleaned, shells removed, tails left on

Kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

1/2 teaspoon red chile powder

4 teaspoons English mustard

1 teaspoon cornflour

4 tablespoons mustard oil*

1 teaspoon nigella seeds (fennel flower, black caraway)*

2 green chiles, left whole

1 onion, finely sliced

2 teaspoon garlic paste, made by blending 1 garlic clove with 1 tablespoon water

2 teaspoon ginger paste* (make your own by crushing or blending fresh ginger to a rough paste, adding water, if necessary, to loosen)

5 ounces freshly grated coconut

1 cup water

Handful chopped fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish


  1. Place the prawns into a bowl, sprinkle over the salt, ground turmeric and red chile powder, and set aside to marinate for 10 to 15 minutes. 
  2. Meanwhile, blend the English mustard, cornflour and a splash of water, to a paste in a small bowl. Reserve. 
  3. Heat the mustard oil in a large nonstick pan over a medium heat until smoking. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool for 15 to 20 seconds, then add the nigella seeds, return the pan to the heat, and cook the seeds until they sizzle. 
  4. Add the green chiles, and onion, stir well and fry for 7 to 8 minutes, or until softened. 
  5. Add the garlic, and ginger pastes, and continue to cook for 45 to 60 seconds. Add the reserved mustard paste, and grated coconut, and stir well to combine. Fry the mixture for 4 to 5 minutes, then add the water, and continue cooking for another 3 to 4 minutes, or until the volume of liquid has reduced by half, and the sauce has thickened. 
  6. Add the prawns and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until pink, stirring well. Stir in the chopped cilantro, and serve immediately.

Cook’s Note

*Can be found at specialty Asian markets.

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