A few days ago while grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s, I had the sudden craving to buy some shrimp. Normally we buy uncooked frozen shrimp so that we can cook them when we feel like it and don’t have to worry about them spoiling if we don’t cook them within the next day or so. But as luck would have it, they were out of uncooked frozen shrimp. They only had cooked and frozen shrimp. I almost walked away but then decided to pick up the bag and try it.
Yesterday, I was staring at the contents of my freezer waiting for inspiration to figure out something for dinner and I remembered a shrimp dish called Prawn Patio or Kolmi no Patio. I went to boarding school with a bunch of Parsi friends and have heard a lot about this dish but never had it. It is a Parsi cuisine specialty.
To make this recipe, I referred back to one of my all time favorite Indian cookbooks, Niloufer Ichaporia King’s My Bombay Kitchen: Traditional and Modern Parsi Home Cooking. This book is as enjoyable to read as the recipes are delicious.
I had to adapt the recipe for the ingredients I had on hand and of course for the precooked shrimp. The recipe called for grinding many of the ingredients into a paste. I was lazy, so I didn’t do that and it came out great anyway.
Spicy, Sweet and Sour Shrimp (Prawn Patio)
- 1 shallot, finely diced
- 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1/2 Serrano green chili (or more if you like it really spicy)
- 2 tsp oil
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 7 curry leaves (optional)
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 1/2 tsp brown sugar or grated jaggery
- 1 tbsp tamarind pulp|
- 1/2 tsp red chili powder
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp ground cumin seeds
- 1 tsp ground coriander seeds
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp chopped cilantro leaves
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 lbs cooked frozen shrimp (If you use uncooked shelled and deveined shrimp. Just add about 3-4 minutes of additional cooking time.)
- Heat oil in a saute pan.
- When hot, toss in the cumin seeds and curry leaves. Stir.
- Then toss in the onion. Cook for a few minutes and then add the garlic and green chili. Cook until the onion is translucent and the garlic is soft.
- In the mean time, dissolve the tamarind pulp into 1/4 cup of hot water. Set aside.
- Add in the tomato paste and stir. Cook for a minute.
- Toss in the chili, cumin, coriander, sugar and salt. Cook for about a minute. Stirring often so the spices don’t burn.
- Strain the tamarind pulp and throw away. Add the tamarind water to the pan. Stir and let cook until the mixture thickens and develops a jammy texture. About 5 minutes on medium low heat.
- Add the cilantro.
- Rinse the shrimp under running water for 2 to 3 minutes. Drain and add to the pan. Stir and cook for 1 minute on low heat until warmed through.
- Turn off the heat and stir in the lemon juice.
Prawn Patio is traditionally served with rice and yellow lentils (dal). I served it just with rice. I am sure it would also be great with flat bread.