As you might know, we’re big fans of Mexican food in this household. Chilli is a big draw card but, in addition, the dishes are usually quick to make and very fresh and full of both vegetables and crunch. We’ll often have our chicken quesadillas as a quick, mid week dinner.
Last night I had prawns defrosted and ready to go and no opportunity to head to the shops (yes, thanks to Mr Sleepy Toddler again) so dinner had to be magicked up with whatever we could get from our local shop (excellent for basics, not so excellent for anything too exotic).
The first recipe that popped up in my delicious feed was prawn fajitas, from The Family Kitchen (link now lost to the ethernet I’m afraid). Excellent idea! We (naturally) had to do some tweaking (seriously, who puts together a Mexican recipe with NO CHILLI in it?) but in under half an hour* we had a very tasty meal ready to go.
We wouldn’t normally add fennel seeds to a Mexican dish but the combination of crunch and aniseed flavour was a big win. And, of course, if you don’t have prawns, substitute protein of your choice.
Definitely a dish we’ll be doing again!
The following recipe serves two.
* Add on time if you’re needing to peel your prawns!
- neutral flavoured oil for frying
- half a red capsicum, finely chopped
- 1 brown onion, finely sliced
- 1 clove of garlic, crushed
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- chilli flakes to taste
- 10 prawns, peeled and deveined
- half an avocado
- plain yoghurt
- Begin by heating some oil in a frying pan and frying the onion, garlic and capsicum until soft and the onion has started to caramelise. Set aside.
- In the same pan, heat some more oil and add the spices. Fry briefly and add the prawns. Cook until the prawns are done. Finish with a generous squeeze of lime.
- Take a tortilla, spread with a spoonful of the yoghurt, top with prawns, onion mix and avocado.
- Wrap, serve and eat!
- If you want you can add lettuce, tomato, raw red onion or even a salsa. Or perhaps just a green salad on the side.
curry – always ugly in a photo!
This recipe comes from the usually very reliable Curry. I chose this based purely on the fact that we had both pumpkin and prawns to use up. I was a bit concerned about both the lack of chilli and the coconut milk, as I know this is not one of Andy’s favourite ingredients.
But you never know, if you never give it a go. By our standards, this is a very mild curry. This would suit people who aren’t big on spice (whether that be chilli spice or just lots of different spices) and could easily be served as a vegetarian dish (or side) by omitting the prawns.
Personally I found it lacking in the heat department (rectified by some generous spoonfuls of a fearsome Chinese chilli chutney I have!). Also, as pumpkin doesn’t hold its shape well, if you overcook (like we did – the whole point of curry is cook ahead!) you end up with kind of a pumpkin sludge, rather than pumpkin. Finally, I used coconut cream, rather than milk because that is what was available. However, both coconut and pumpkin are very sweet and, without a serious spice backbone, for both Andy and me, this curry came out a little too sweet for our liking.
This is definitely a dish which has appeal but serve as part of a meal, rather than as the meal, and watch the cooking of the pumpkin.
A final note: I really recommend growing your own curry leaves. They’re fearsomely expensive here in Adelaide (if you can find/buy them at a supermarket) and a curry leaf plant is a very easy patio plant to deal with. No excuses!
- vegetable oil
- ½ tsp black mustard seeds
- cumin seeds (pinch, or to taste!)
- curry leaves (10, or more if you love them)
- inch piece of ginger, peeled and sliced finely
- three dried Kashmiri chillis, broken in half
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 150g pumpkin, cut into chunks
- ½ tsp turmeric
- ½ tin coconut cream
- 8 large green prawns, peeled & deveined, leave the tail section on for glamour, if you wish
- Heat the oil in a wok and add the mustard and cumin seeds. When they start popping, add the curry leaves, ginger, chillis and onion. Cook over a low - medium heat until the onions start turning golden.
- Add the pumpkin and turmeric, stir, and add the coconut cream and add water to cover the pumpkin. Stir and bring to the boil. Cook, covered, until the pumpkin begins to soften.
- When you're ready to eat, reduce the heat, add the prawns and cook until they are done.
- Serve immediately. We served over egg noodles for a change, but rice would work just as well.
date: April 2010
Pad thai is such a staple of Thai restaurant menus that it’s something I’ve never thought of making at home. To be honest, I very rarely even order it. But we had some prawns in the freezer and I found a simple pad thai recipe on the UK Delicious website.
At short notice we weren’t able to pull together all the ingredients from the local supermarket, so you may want to consult the original recipe. However, we were really impressed with our finished product so don’t panic if you can’t rustle up all the ingredients.
I started by soaking some rice vermicilli in hot water. I suspect that I either did this for too long (or the noodles spent a little too long in the wok) because they ended up rather short and clumpy – so I advise you to read the instructions for whatever noodles you use!
Make a dressing by mixing together 1½ tbsp fish sauce, 1½ tbsp palm sugar (we found this in our small local supermarket and I really recommend seeking it out – the taste is amazing and distinctly caramel like), and 1½ tbsp of rice wine vinegar. This is the sweet/sour/salty combination that Thai food is well known for.
Heat some oil (we use peanut) in a wok and add chopped garlic (to taste) and one chopped onion. Cook for a few minutes and then add chilli flakes (also to taste – I opted for hot!) and then the drained noodles. Stir fry for a couple of minutes and then push to one side. Now, tip a lightly beaten egg into the wok and scramble, before mixing in to the noodles.
Mix through the dressing before adding your prawns (or chicken, or vegetables – no reason why you can’t turn this into a vegetarian pad thai!). Toss well to ensure prawns are cooked (if green) or warmed through (if already cooked).
Finish with chopped spring onions and serve dressed with chopped coriander.
How easy is that?
Make more than you think you’ll need – I was expecting leftovers for lunch the next day but we scoffed the whole lot in a single sitting!