Photography and prawns

Mallika Basu - Photography and prawns

Posted 8th May 2007


My husband is soon to leave London for a three-week stay in Peru. This is a problem.

It’s been a while since I changed lightbulbs, used the hoover or fixed the fuse. I am also prone to leaving the iron on, back door open, forgetting my flat keys and/or mobile.

But the BIGGEST worry is that he’s taking the super cool, super professional digital camera with him. I lose my Chief Operating Officer, Chief Creative Consultant and the mean machine for what will be the longest three weeks ever.

After a brief fit and sulk, I agreed to be taught how to make the snappy snap digital camera function as its more techy counterpart for three weeks.

The model is question was prawn patia – a popular hot and sour Parsi prawn curry. My new colleague at work mentioned how much she loved this dish and I thought I would post the recipe for her. I served it with some khichdi – a simple lentil and rice dish.

Taking the photo was a bit tricky, but not as bad as I thought. The prawns were yummy though – isn’t that all that matters?


Serves 2-3:

250gm large prawns (I used cooked frozen ones, thawed)

2 large tomatoes, chopped

2 medium onions, chopped

3 fat cloves of garlic, chopped

Half tsp turmeric

1 tsp coriander powder

1 tsp cumin powder

Half tsp chilli powder (more if you can handle it)

Half a cup of fresh coriander, chopped fine

1 tbsp vinegar

1 tsp sugar

2 tbsp oil

Salt to taste

Heat the oil and when hot, fry the onions until translucent. Add the garlic and continue to fry until pale brown.

Add all the spices, the vinegar, the tomatoes and fry until the pungent smell goes and the onions start disintegrating. You may need to keep adding a little add hot water to the pan to prevent the spices from sticking to the bottom and burning.

Add about half a cup of water to the mixture, stir in the coriander and simmer for about 15 minutes until the oil reappears through little pores in the mixture.

Now add in the prawns and salt to taste. Give them a good stir to ensure they are well coated and remove from the flame. This dish should not have too much gravy.

22 responses to “Photography and prawns”

  1. mandira says:

    The picture looks good and delicious. THree weeks in Peru, that seems like fun. How come you are missing all this?

  2. Asha says:

    Be careful when the guardian is gone!!;D Close that back door and turn off the oven before you leave!!

    Patia looks delicious.You are a good cook and photo is great,not bad at all.Take care Mallika:)

  3. Joanna says:

    Great prawns … I do something similar, so next time I’ll pair it with your rice and lentils, which sound terrific

    Thanks – and good luck with all those demons while he’s away


  4. Coffee says:

    Hey…….. thats not a bad pic at all!!! 🙂

  5. Nandita says:

    It’s exactly the same situation here, just a bit diff. Hubby has left for London for two weeks and Im home alone. We have two cameras, an old Nikon Coolpix and a brand new sleek, fit-in-ur-clutch-purse Canon IXUS – and hubby darling decided not to take either of them, after giving it some thought. Not for leaving them to give me company but for the fear that he’d lose it somewhere:)
    Have a safe time girl –

  6. aria says:

    hi i love your blog, i judt ordered a bunch of indian spices to explore cooking indian food. i’ll be back to check your recipes! cheers, aria

  7. Editor says:

    We publish an information website, Abasar (, in Bangla. I am wondering if we can translate some of your recipe for our readers. We will of course acknowledge the source. Thank you.

  8. Maninas says:

    Hi, could I substitute prawns with fish here, and which fish? thanks

  9. dee says:

    I’ve been looking through Parsi recipes and find most of the ones online fairly unauthentic. This one sounds about right. I use powdered cloves in the masala though, along with powdered cumin and red chillies (no coriander powder). BTW, it needn’t be sweet and sour if you prefer not – use just a bit of tamarind for faint tang.
    Pic looks great!

  10. Shabs says:

    You have loads of yummy recipes….

  11. […] dal is an excellent partner to a spicy curry like the Prawn Patia. Share this: Click here to cancel reply. Leave a […]

  12. Raj says:

    I did this recipe and then repeated it frying mustard seeds & fenugreek seeds in the oil before adding the onions. It worked for me

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