Prawns Curry(Sungta ambat)

Sungta Ambat

Shrimp/Prawns are some of the very popular seafood available anywhere in the world. While growing up, we got very fresh ones, since we lived on coast. The fresh ones are so tasty. The big shrimp were a delicacy that we only got once in a while. Now we mostly get big ones, which are not comparable to the big shrimp we get here in supermarkets. So when we visit my parents, my parents get these fresh ones for us and one of the dishes we love the most is this Sungta ambat – a spicy coconut based gravy with shrimp. The gravy itself is very simple with just a few ingredients but it gets its taste from the shrimp.

Fried coriander seeds, red chillies, coconut for grinding.

Grind everything to a smooth paste.

Fry onions and then add shrimp, fry for few minutes.

Add the ground paste, green chillies, kokum, salt and cook till done.

1 cup prawns/shrimps
1 cup fresh/frozen coconut
1/2 cup onion
5 red chillies
1-2 green chili
1 tea spn coriander seeds
4 pieces dried kokum or 1/4th tea spn tamarind extract

Heat oil and fry coriander seeds. Grind with coconut and red chillies to a very smooth paste.
Heat oil and fry chopped onions till they turn slightly brownish. Add prawns/shrimps and fry for some time(till the prawns become white in color, this enhances the taste of the curry).
Add the ground masala, green chili(slitted) and kokum/tamarind(In the traditional recipe kokum is used, since I was not having that I used tamarind extract). Add salt and sufficient water. Cook till completely done.
Serve hot with rice.

Serves : 3-4
Preparation time : 30min

(Originally posted Mar 9 2006).

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Shrimp Vada (Sungta Vade)

shirmp vada

There is a very beautiful river very close to our home, this means we get very fresh seafood. Most of the times the shrimp we get here are alive when we bring them home. One of our favorite dishes to make with these shirmp is this vada. Use small or medium sized shrimp for this. If you do not find them, cut the large ones into small pieces. Serve them hot when they are still hot and crisp.

3/4 cup shrimp
1/2 cup fresh/frozen coconut
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 tea spn coriander seeds
1/4 tea spn tamarind extract (or 2 pieces of tamarind)
3-4 red chilies
1 cup sooji/rava

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Heat little oil and fry coriander seeds. Grind them with coconut, red chilies, tamarind, salt without adding too much water.
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To this paste, add shrimp and onions.
Mix all together and make balls. Roll the balls in rava/sooji, slightly press them with hand and shallow fry on tava. Serve with rice as a side dish.

Serves : 3-4
Preparation time : 25mins

shirmp vada

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Shrimp Pickle (Sungta Nonche)

shrimp pickle

Last December when Shilpa visited us, we were trying to remember if there were any recipes  that my mother prepared,  which we have not posted on this site. While discussing this with my brother, he suggested this shrimp pickle. My aayi was a vegetarian, but she cooked nonveg for us. But they basically started making nonveg dishes at home after my marriage. I had heard my brother and father mentioning about this shrimp pickle many times. I had never tasted this before. I got the recipe from her and wrote it down in my diary. I have prepared this a couple of times. My brother has very fond memories of this pickle prepared by my aayi.

This pickle is made with small shrimp. They are fried on a very low heat till they become hard and almost crispy. The pickle has basic pickle masala. It remains good for few days if you take care to fry the shrimp properly. Eat it like any other pickle in small quantities, it tastes great with rice.

1 cup small shrimp
1 tea spn mustard seeds
1/4 tea spn methi seeds
A pinch of turmeric powder
A big pinch of asafoetida (use the best available)
1 tea spn chilli powder
Juice from small lime sized ball of tamarind or 1/2 tea spn thick tamarind extract

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Heat oil and fry mustard, methi and asafoetida. Take them out in a mortar and powder them. Keep aside.
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Heat oil and add shrimp. Let them fry on a low heat. Take care to make sure they don’t get burned and they get cooked through and almost become crispy.
Now add chilli powder, turmeric, mustard-methi-asafoetida powder and tamarind. Add salt, a little bit more than you would add to any dish – salt acts as preservative. Cook on a medium heat till all the water from tamarind is well absorbed.
Cool to room temperature and store in air tight container.

Preparation time : 45mins

shrimp pickle

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Shrimp Biryani

shrimp biryani

This is another recipe sent to me by my pachi (aayi’s sister). I hardly buy shrimp here as we are not big fans of the huge fresh shrimp or the frozen ones that are available in small sizes. I am yet to find small fresh ones – probably I need to check out Asian markets sometime. So this recipe stayed in my inbox for a long time. Finally last week, I prepared this. I wasn’t sure how Ishaan – who had never tasted shrimp before or V – who is not fan of any seafood biryanis, would take it. But both of them loved it. So I am going to make this again soon. The potato slices at the bottom give a great taste to it.

I loved the biryani masala used in this. So I made a big batch and refrigerated it. I have used this masala for other biryanis also, it turns out great.

For rice:
10-15 medium size shrimp
2 sliced potatoes
2 cups basmati rice
4cups water
4 cloves
2 cardamoms
3-4 Pepper
1 bay leaf
1" cinnamon
2-3 tbl spn chopped coriander leaves
1 tbl spn fried cashews (optional)

For gravy:
1 and half cup chopped onion
1 tea spn ginger garlic paste
1 cup tomato
1 tea spn chilli powder
A pinch turmeric

Biryani masala:
1 tea spn Cumin
1" cinnamon
4 Pepper
2 cardamom
A small piece nutmeg
2 mace (japatri)
3 cloves
2-3 red chillies
1 bay leaf
1 tea spn coriander
1/2 tea spn fenugreek(methi) seeds
1 black cardamom (I did not use this)

Roast the biryani masala ingredients and powder it.
Heat oil, add cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, pepper, bay leaf, rice and fry. Add 4 cups hot water and prepare rice.
To sliced potato add turmeric, red chilly powder.
Heat oil add ginger garlic paste and cut onions and tomatoes, red chilli powder, turmeric, biryani powder and fry. Add prawns and one cup water and cook till done. Now gravy is ready.
Add oil in thick bottomed pan. Arrange the potato slices in the pan. Add one layer of rice. Add gravy, add fried onions. Again add rice, gravy, and fried onions in layers. For garnishing add fried onions, fried cashew nuts and cut coriander leaves. Cook for 15mins.

Serve hot.

Serves : 4
Preparation time : 45mins


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shrimp biryani

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Prawns In Spicy Coconut Sauce (Sungta Sukke/Dhoddak)

The specialty of Konkani seafood dishes is – they are almost always quite spicy and made with coconut. A drizzle of coconut oil on top of these, with hot rice tastes heavenly. I can’t stress enough on how much I miss these dishes here. Being from coastal area, we always got very fresh fish and relished these spicy dishes made at home. Don’t know why I don’t make these often here.

Last week I was talking to my friend Hema over the phone. Like every time that we talk, she mentioned that she had a spicy sungta sukke that day. Ohh, just the name of it, made the Konkani girl in me crave for it. I kept thinking about it for next two days. Then finally gave up and asked her to give me her recipe. This is what she gave me, I tried on Sunday. We had awesome lunch.

Well, Hema’s recipe is slightly different than what aayi uses for dhoddak. We usually don’t use coriander and teppal/tirphal in same dish. Here is my aayi’s version. Also, I have rarely seen the usage of non-fried coriander seeds in aayi’s cooking. But for once, I wanted to try the recipe as it is, without modifying. It came out really well.

1 lb (0.45kgs) prawns
2 tbl spn fresh/frozen coconut
9-10 red chillies (if you can handle more, increase it)
1/2 tea spn coriander seeds
3-4 teppal/tirphal
2-3 kokum pieces

Grind the coconut with red chillies, coriander seeds to a very smooth paste. Do not add too much water (This needs a good Indian mixer). When it has become very smooth, add teppal and run the mixer for just couple of seconds. (Note: teppal should never be ground. It will entirely spoil the dish. This step is just to bring out the aroma, but not for grinding it).
In a thick bottomed pan, mix the paste with prawns, kokum, salt. Cook it on a low heat till prawns are done.
Serve as a side dish with rice. A little coconut oil drizzled on it tastes great.

Serves : 3-4
Preparation time : 20 mins


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Shrimp Gravy With Tomatoes

This is a simple shrimp gravy that I tried couple of months ago. My parents were here at that time and they used to take care of cooking, baby and everything else around home. I wanted to give some rest to them and so decided to cook something. This is what I came up with. This is inspired by my aayi’s sungta ambat. I wanted to give a slight different taste to it, so I used a paste of onion and tomato.

1/2 lb shrimp
1 cup onion (for paste) + 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup tomato
5-6 curry leaves
4 cloves
1″ cinnamon
1 tbl spn chopped ginger
1 tbl spn chopped garlic
2 tbl spn fresh/frozen coconut
4 red chillies
1 tea spn coriander seeds
3 green chillies
A pinch turmeric

Heat oil and add coriander seeds. When they are fried, add onion, ginger, garlic, green chillies, cinnamon, cloves and fry till the onions turn translucent. Add red chillies, coconut, tomatoes, salt and cook till tomatoes turn mushy. Grind to a paste.
Heat oil and add curry leaves and onion. Fry till the onions are translucent. Add shrimp, turmeric and fry for 2-3mins. Pour in the ground masala, add enough water to bring it to gravy consistency and cook till the gravy starts boiling.

Serves : 3-4
Preparation time : 30mins


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Grilled shrimp with angel hair pasta

It happens very regularly with me, I see something on one of the foodblogs and I get this craving to make it myself. I try to suppress it as much as possible, but sometimes, the cravings take the upper hand. If I have to blame someone for my latest craziness – it is Sig because of her lovely event Grill it. I have seen grilling in all its forms on Food network which I watch almost all day (when I get time). But it was till Sig started with this event, I never thought of buying a grill pan for me. Not only she announced this event, she started posting absolutely mouthwatering dishes one after the other (check here, here and here). Finally I lost the battle and decided I had to buy a grill pan if I had to sleep well.

I bought a tiny cast iron grill pan – on one of my grocery shopping trips where I just wanted to buy yogurt, I thought of having a look at grill pans. I stopped near that isle for close to half an hour trying to convince myself against buying the pan. But in vain. I finally bought it (Ah, did I mention, I forgot to buy yogurt and returned with just the grill pan??). Anyway, that’s how my grilling madness began.

Now it is this situation in my home- I grill anything and everything on this pan , which by the way is the only cast iron pan I have. I hate cast iron because of its weight. I know it is good to use these pans compared to non stick, but I never owned or liked cast iron pans because of their weight. Since we keep moving from place to place, I feel things keep adding up. So when I showed it to V, he didn’t know why in the world I had decided to buy such a heavy pan.

This is one such dish I prepared last week. Very easy to make and very delicious. I don’t miss those fancy Italian restaurants anymore :).

Pasta same as this recipe. Only changes I made are – did not use lemon in the sauce. Added sun dried tomatoes, olives and basil as garnishes after the pasta got ready.

Grilled shrimp:
20 medium sized shrimps
1/2 tea spn black pepper powder
1/2 tea spn salt
1 tbl spn lemon juice
Olive oil

Clean the shrimp. Add pepper, salt, lemon juice to shrimp and leave it aside for about 45-60mins. Arrange the shrimps on skewers and grill them on a hot grill.

Serve with the pasta.

Serves : 2
Preparation time : 20mins

Update: Click here for details of my grill pan. It is a small one (and very reasonable) which I found at Target. Its enough for two people. But if you have more people in family, go for the bigger one.

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Shrimps green curry

I am a great fan of shrimps and crabs. Even though I absolutely love my aayi’s dishes with these two, I like to try out any new dishes that comes my way. So while going through a Kannada magazine, this dish caught my fancy.

Uttara Kannada or North Kanara is a beautiful district in Karnataka state. My native is a part of this district. So obviously I get fascinated when I read something about this place. Since this place is very close to sea, seafood is very popular among many people here. I am constantly in search of these dishes as I feel I don’t know anything about non Konkani sea food dishes from Uttar Kannada. I covered most of the Konkani sea food dishes on this blog but I am yet to find others. So when I saw this dish, under the heading “Uttara Kannada Special”, I was very interested. I gave it a try immediately. We absolutely loved this.

15-20 shrimps
1/2 cup coconut
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 tea spn chopped ginger
1/2 tea spn chopped garlic
1/4 tea spn tamarind extract or 1-2 pieces of tamarind
3-4 green chilies
3/4 cup coriander leaves

Heat oil and fry onion, ginger, garlic, green chilies till onions turn slightly brownish. Grind these with coconut, coriander leaves and tamarind.
Heat oil and fry shrimps till they turn whitish. Now add the paste, salt and cook till the gravy thickens and shrimps are completely cooked.

Serves : 3-4
Preparation time : 15mins

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Fish/Shrimp pickle (Kerala style) and a song

During my Engineering college days at Belgaum, we had a few senior students who were ultimate singers. Even though I don’t call myself as a music lover, I particularly liked the songs of one person. Some of us called him Junior S.P.Balasubramanium(a famous playback singer). After college, I heard from few common friends that he is taking his singing very seriously and working towards a career in it along with his job of software engineer. Since I didn’t know this person personally nor I had any kind of contact with him, I didn’t hear about him for couple of years.

Then one fine day, my husband V told me that he met Sunil Koshy in social networking site orkut. Apparently they knew each other well in college. They had met after a long time. I think V told him about my site and he sent me an email saying he liked it a lot. I can’t say how happy I was to get his feedback. We exchanged a few emails/chats. Well..the irony of whole situation is, I didn’t know he was from Kerala all this time. In the college, the most popular song he sung was “Karunada taayi sada chinmayee“(this is a Kannada song) and I never realized he didn’t know to speak Kannada.

Finally, after his all friends pushed him enough, he has started a music blog. I feel very honored to know such an amazing singer. If you are a music lover, watch out his blog. There are just couple of songs as of now, but he will update it soon.

Here is one song that I absolutely love. We wish him a very bright future. Please leave your feedback here or at his blog, let him know how you like the song. Thanks.

Get this widget | Track details | eSnips Social DNA

He is a foodie and he said he will bring two of his favorite Kerala dishes for me from his mom. This is the first one he got for me. This is traditionally made with fish(I used catfish here, but I think traditionally it is made with King fish). I tried it many times, first time I made with shrimps and second time I made it with fish. Both were too good. It has become a regular at my home now. I make a big batch of it and refrigerate on weekends. During week days, when I am very tired to cook anything, I love to eat this with curd rice. Yumm…It has a very great aroma of curry leaves and ginger. Give it a try, it tastes great.

Here is the picture of fish version

1 lb cleaned shrimp or 1 lb fish cut into small pieces
2 tea spns chili powder
1/4 tea spn turmeric powder
2 tea spns + 1/2 tea spn mustard seeds
1/2 tea spn methi(fenugreek) seeds
1/8 tea spn asafoetida powder
2-3 green chilies
1 tbl spn ginger finely chopped
20-25 curry leaves
1 tbl spn vinegar

Apply chili powder, salt and turmeric to the fish/shrimps and keep it aside for about 15-30mins.

Then heat a little oil and fry till they are done. Keep them aside.

Heat a little oil and fry mustard seeds (2 tea spns) and methi seeds. Just before taking out of heat, add asafoetida. Grind them to make a powder.
Heat a little oil and add remaining mustard seeds. When they start popping, add chopped chilies, ginger and curry leaves. Fry for about a minute. (Sunil had mentioned adding chili powder again at this stage, which I ignored because I had already added a lot for marination).
Add the ground powder, vinegar and if required, some salt (be careful while adding salt since the shrimp/fish has it already). Mix and then add shrimp/fish and close the lid (I closed the lid to seal in all the flavors of curry leaves and ginger). After about a 1-2mins, take out the lid, mix well and take off heat.
Cool to room temperature and store in air tight container. It can be consumed immediately. I have refrigerated it upto 2 weeks and the taste went on increasing day by day (I think this remains good for a long time).

Preparation time : 30mins

PS: Make sure all the vessels that are used for making/storing this pickle and the mixer are completely dry. Any moisture spoils the pickle.

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Cabbage-shrimp gravy(Sungta-cabbage ambat)

At my native, people add shrimps and clams in many different gravies. But I never knew cabbage and shrimps could be paired. When my aayi told me about this, I said, “you must be kidding!!!, shrimps with cabbage? how does that taste?”. So instead of arguing with me, aayi went ahead and prepared this. Ohh it was so tasty.

While growing up, I had a very strong dislike for cabbage. Apart from cabbage vada, I would not eat any dishes that had this vegetable. That must be one of the reasons I don’t remember eating this gravy. Now that I have started liking cabbage, I simply loved this combination. The shrimps give a very nice aroma as well as taste to it. Try it to know what I am talking about.

1 cup shredded cabbage or shredded radish
3/4 cup toor dal
1/2 cup fresh/frozen coconut
5-6 red chilies
3/4 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup shrimps
1/4 tea spn tamarind extract or 1 piece tamarind
A pinch turmeric
1 tea spn coriander seeds

Cook toor dal with turmeric in pressure cooker.
Similarly cook cabbage and 1/4 cup onion. You can cook both together in pressure cooker, use bottom vessel for the dal and topmost vessel from cabbage-onion.
Heat a little oil and fry coriander seeds. Grind them with coconut, tamarind, red chilies.
Heat a little oil and fry remaining onion till they turn brownish. Add shrimps and fry till they become white. Add the ground paste, salt, dal, cabbage-onion. Cook for about 5-6mins.
Serve hot with rice.

Serves : 4-5
Preparation time : 20mins

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