|Andhra Prawn Fry (Royalla Vepudu)|
Photograph by Leticia Alaniz © 2013
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India is a country with an extremely diverse cuisine. There are many regions, and each region specializes in dishes highly evolved according to available ingredients. This is hardly surprising given the versatile cooking techniques and the ingenuity of combining flavors to shape a unique dish.
In the coastal regions of the state of Andhra Pradesh, seafood doesn’t fall short on the menus. The aquatic prosperity of Andhra can be attributed to its abundant water supply from the delta of the Godavari and Krishna rivers along with the great Bay of Bengal.
The sea is home to innumerable forms of life. Thru the years of its history man has learned to use its resources for his survival and has depended on the sea’s generosity. From the vast array of aquatic products that can be harvested from the sea, prawn or shrimp are considered one of the most valuable.
An early morning visit to the fish markets in Andhra proves the best possible choice in the bounty of the sea as well as the catch from inland rivers, reservoirs, lakes, and southern backwaters. Fishermen bring their catch for sale on the spot, for transporting around India, or for quick freezing for international shipping.
The cuisine of Andhra is one of the spiciest of all Indian cuisines and it represents a culinary joy combining spices, meats and seafood of which all are abundant. It is exotic, rich and aromatic, and when prawns come into the kitchens of expert cooks it is a delight to the senses and the soul.
Indian cooks, especially in the coastal communities have many recipes along with plenty of imagination for improvisation with only a few ingredients. As with all seafood recipes from anywhere in the world, Indian recipes rely on ultra-fresh seafood.
Following is one of Andhra’s most exotic recipes for prawns: Royalla Vepudu or commonly known as Andhra style prawn fry. With plenty of spice its for those who prefer robustly flavored dishes or for those who have a flare for a dish that will tickle the senses all at once. Andhra style prawn fry is excellent in flavor and with its delicate aroma, its one of the jewels of indian seafood. This dish can be served with rice or enjoyed as an appetizer paired with a medium body craft beer such as IPA, Bock or Ale, or even a very chilled favorite Lager.
Andhra Prawn Fry
Preparation 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
500 gms prawns, peeled and deveined
1 1/2” ginger
3 green chiles
1 1/2 tsp of red chile powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp lemon juice or yoghurt
1/4 cup water
3 finely minced garlic cloves
2 medium, finely slices onions
1/2 tsp fennel seed powder
15-20 curry leaves
2 tbsp grated coconut
1/2 tsp fenugreek powder (optional)
1tsp coriander powder
1 1/2 tbsp garam masala powder
1 1/2 tbsp cooking oil
salt to taste
Method of Preparation
Grind the ginger and green chiles to form a paste.
Marinate the prawns in the ginger and chile paste along with 3/4 tsp chile powder, turmeric powder, lemon juice or yoghurt, and salt for 10 minutes.
Add 1/4 cup of water to marinated prawns and bring to a boil, reduce to medium heat and cook for 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat and drain any excess water.
Heat oil in a pan, add minced garlic cloves and sauté for half a minute. Add sliced onions, fennel seed powder and curry leaves and sauté for approximately 7 to 8 minutes until the onions are caremelized.
Add the cooked prawns, coconut, the remainder of the chile powder, fenugreek powder, coriander powder, and garam masala powder. Dry stir fry for 3 minutes over medium high heat. Season with salt and turn off heat. Serve immediately.