I cook an Indian meal at home most days in the week and if there’s one thing that I strive to do, it would be to cook food with fresh ingredients but also focus on the health factor of each meal. Healthy food need not be boring food and nor does it have to taste bland. Indian cuisine is a classic example where the use of spices and fresh herbs lend to a very delicious meal but also with added healthy benefits. Regional dishes in India speak volumes of the variety of food on offer; from sprouts, lentils, meats to wheat and millet based breads. All good for you and equally moreish!
My Goan Prawn Caldinho spells just that – full of goodness, healthy and a curry that will keep you coming back for seconds. One of the main things about cooking seafood is the time it takes; really quick and also unlike meat or chicken marinating for 10-15 minutes is just fine. I have opted for full fat coconut milk in the recipe which still lends that creamy flavour to the curry and balances the dish beautifully.
Caldinho is a typical Goan preparation that is mildly spiced; usually made with fish but prawns or even just vegetables are commonly used in the gravy base. It has always been one of my favourite curries growing up in India. My mum cooked it often for the family but it’s also something I have eaten loads while visiting Goa with friends and family. Flavours in a Caldinho are tangy, sweet, lightly spiced with a hint of heat from the powdered spices. The slit green chillies which are added towards the end of cooking give that bout of heat though you can leave them out if you prefer.
In a bowl add the prawns and sprinkle over turmeric powder, vinegar and salt. Mix and set aside for 15-20 mins while you get the curry ready. In a coffee grinder tip in the cumin seeds, peppercorns and coriander seeds. Blitz to a fine powder and set aside.
Heat the oil in a heavy based sauce pan and add the onions and fry for 5-7 mins on a medium until they start to change colour to a light brown. Add the chopped tomato and fry for 3-4 mins. As they begin to soften add the garlic and ginger paste and fry for a further minute.
Now add the powdered spices and mix it all together. Fry for 2 minutes and add the marinated prawns. Stir coating them in the spiced sauce for a few seconds now add the coconut milk, water and tamarind paste.
Bring to a simmer cooking the prawns until they turn pink for no more than 3-4 minutes. Add the green chillies and sugar. Garnish with coriander leaves and check seasoning. Serve with steamed basmati rice or some pav bread and a fresh zingy salad.