Recipe adapted from here
Prawns- 250-300 gms
Onion- 1/2 cup, roughly chopped (use shallots for enhanced taste)
Garlic- 4 pods, peeled and roughly chopped
Green chillies- 2, chopped (add more for more heat)
Ginger- 1 1/2 inch piece, peeled and roughly chopped
Tomato- 1 big, roughly sliced
Black peppercorns- 1 tsp
Fennel seeds- 1/2 tsp
Grated coconut- 1 1/2 tbsp
Cinnamon- 1 inch piece
Curry leaves- 2 to 3 sprigs (the more the better)
Coriander powder- 1 tbsp
Kashmiri chilly powder- 2 tsp
Turmeric powder- 1/4 tsp
Water- 1/4 cup
Oil- 4 tbsp
Salt- to taste
Coconut oil- 1 tsp (optional)
Lemon/ lime juice- approx. 1 tsp
Coriander leaves- to garnish
Place a pan over low-medium heat and add around 1 tbsp of oil.
Once hot, throw in the onion, garlic, green chillies and ginger and sauté till they turn golden brown, but not crisp brown. Keep stirring in between to avoid the onions getting burnt, which would affect the overall taste of the thokku.
Add the chopped tomato and continue cooking till they turn soft.
In goes the peppercorns, fennel seeds and grated coconut. Stirring continuously, cook the mix for about 2 to 3 minutes.
Transfer the contents into a bowl and leave aside to cool sufficiently.
Once cool, use a blender/ grinder to make a smooth paste. Try and avoid adding water, but if necessary a tsp or so wont do any harm.
Place the same frying pan back on medium heat and add the remaining oil.
Once hot, throw in the cinnamon, cloves and curry leaves. Stir for a couple of seconds till you get than nice aroma of spices.
At this stage tip in the ground ingredients and cook for a few minutes. It might splutter a bit in the beginning, so be careful.
Add the coriander, chilly, turmeric powders and salt, mix it all into the ground paste and cook, stirring on and off till the oil starts to surface.
This step is important and it needs to be done on medium heat. The masala must turn a deep red.
Throw in the prawns and mix well, so its all coated in the masala.
Pour the 1/4 cup of water and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer till the prawns are cooked and the water has all been absorbed.
At this stage, you can drizzle the coconut oil (if using) and roast the prawns for a couple more minutes, or till the masala becomes dark and completely dry.
Stir in the coriander leaves, and just before serving squeeze some lemon juice over it and serve with some chilled beer or hot rice.
Notes: Add more green chillies to make this dish really spicy. Honestly, its much tastier with a bit of heat.
Make sure you dont overcook the prawns.