I have endlessly blabbered and always presented you with so many items from the knapsack of my childhood memories ,about prawns.Like I cant go on more..?Never..!!..I neva fall short of words when it comes to food,especially Kerala's flavorful lip-smacking cuisines.Many of ma ole pals ask,why are you still after Sambar n pachadi's n all those Nadan dishes,rather compared to American/other cuisines ,being now in US.?..yeah ..am still n will be always for them..I have tasted so many foods from various cuisines,but never did one grab the place of Kerala food,which is always my fav..I prepare other cuisines only for breakfast,n maybe sometimes for dinner..But mostly its Kerala cuisine,that still reigns my kitchen..So rich n spicy n flavorful..they tickle your tongues n are perfectly piquant for your palate..n the combo's are like infinite..you can mix n match the spices n dish out delicacies,each one totally different from the other..
The heavenly fragrance of oil infused with freshly plucked curry leaves,aromatic whole spices crackling n dancing in the kadai,blissful beat of mortar-n-pestle grinding the fresh spices,crunchy sound of scraping fair-as-thumbapoo(Thumba flower) coconut flakes,lively music of grinding it with some fresh chillies n other ingredients on an authentic Ammikkallu( a heavy flat stone on which the items are placed and ground by rolling horizontally over it with another heavy cylindrical stone),papadams rising with a shhhh.. golden n plump from the hot oil filled Kadai,mouth watering fragrance from the just-opened Pickle Bharani's(large clay pot's) filled to brim,dancing with tender small mangoes, n sealed long long back...
Just a couple of scenes from an authentic Kerala kitchen..sounds so filling n divine no??Its a pleasure to see the kitchen activities,the happy women do in groups so zestfully,sharing old stories n chit-chatting current gossips..Cooking is a leisure activity n fun for them.Now in the era of nuclear families,I wonder if it really happens anywhere,unless when once in a blue-moon the family members rejoin for an Onam or Vishu.We are really missing out something right?
I am feeling so nostalgic now..remembering our long awaited,once in an year or so, train trips to my mom's place...relishing the lush greens that pass by fast,enjoying the music of the train and musing gleefully about the fun that lie ahead..
Ok..I have gone so long off-track..lets get back to business..Prawns Mappas is today's special..When I think about prawns,I get reminded of Bubba's long listless talk to Forrest Gump about n varieties of prawn dishes.It was worth a chuckle..So..Mappas is I dunno,cuisine of exactly which part of Kerala,but it tastes so good n will make a superb combo with Kappa(Yucca root)/hot rice/roti's.In some places its called Pappas n in other Mappas..This recipe is a an adaptation of Mrs KM Mathew's Konju Pappas.For those who aren't much familiar with her,she is a veteran in Kerala cuisine cooking and is the author of so many awesome cook books,which remain still the reference guide n encyclopedia for Kerala cooking.I have slightly tweaked the amount of ingredients,don't remember the exact source though,guess its Vanitha..:)
The original recipe doesn't ask for tomatoes I guess,but I have added a little..
1 Lbs of cleaned Prawns/shrimp
1 cup of sliced onions
8 shallots sliced
1/2 tomato cubed
4 Green chillies
1 tsp Chilli Powder
1.5 tsp Coriander powder
1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
1/4 tsp Pepper Powder
1/2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp Mustard seeds
1/2 tsp Fenugreek seeds
1 cup thin Coconut Milk
1/2 cup thick coconut milk
Cook the prawns in some water with some salt n green chillies till half cooked.
Grind for a second ,the shallots with the masala powder(minus the garam masala),adding a few drops of water.(I din't overdo it ,as I like to taste the shallots as such in the gravy.If you too like it that way, you can saute the shallots in oil and add the masala paste into it also.)
Pour oil in a kadai n add the curry leaves.
Smear it on the bottom of the pan.
Add the mustard seeds and splutter.
Add the fenugreek seeds and fry.
Add the onion and saute well.
Throw in the tomatoes n make it mushy.
Now add the ground shallots n masala powder into the kadai n saute till the raw smell goes n oil comes out.
Adjust salt n add more masala's if it appears less spicy,'cos we gonna add the coconut milk which will mellow the taste.
Add the prawns n mix it with the gravy and saute for few minutes.
Add the thin coconut milk ,cocums .Simmer n close the vessel.
After 5-10 minutes,open the lid n taste.If its too sour,remove the cocums.
Sprinkle the garam masala on top and mix well for a minute or two.
Add the thick coconut milk and stir for a couple of minutes more.(Adjust the amount of this thick milk according to the degree of mellowness you need.The more you add,less spicy.Hence I addded only a little.
Add more mashed curry leaves on top ,mix and close the kadai.
Ever-so-delicious Prawn Mappas/Pappas is ready.Have it paired with some hot Kappa n indulge forever..:)
Check this combo too,if you are a Chemmen-Kappa fan!!!