Taste of Home: Prawn curry and rice

Asma Khan 16 April 2022

Celebrity chef Asma Khan shares a delightful simple, heart-warming, no-fuss dish that her family maid used to make in India

Ma was a formidable person. She came to help my grandmother look after my mother when she was born. When my mother got married, Ma moved to my parents’ flat and was an integral part of our family.

We always called her Ma, or “mother”, which may have seemed strange to outsiders who probably saw her as a regular ayah or bua (a traditional nursemaid in some Indian households). 

This is the prawn dish she always made for me whenever I returned home from England. It’s a simple, heart-warming, no-fuss dish, that I like to serve with plain boiled rice.


Serves: 6

• 3 onions
• 150ml mustard oil (if you can’t find it, use vegetable oil)
• 1 tsp ginger paste
• 1/2 tsp garlic paste
• 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
• 11/2 tsp chilli powder
• 1/2 tsp ground cumin
• 1/2 tsp ground coriander
• 2 green chillies, slit in half
• 1 tsp salt
• 1.25kg raw peeled 
prawns, de-veined
• fresh coriander, to garnish

If you are using mustard oil, you need to heat it to smoking point to reduce the pungency of the oil. Please ensure your kitchen is well ventilated so the oil does not set off the smoke alarm. Leave the oil to cool slightly before starting the recipe.


1. Put the onions in a food processor and blitz to a paste (Ma would have used a stone grinder).

2. Heat the oil in a heavy-based pan over amedium–high heat. Add half of the onion paste and cook until it turns light brown.

Add theremaining onion paste, ginger, garlic, turmeric, chilli powder, cumin, ground coriander, green chillies, salt and 4 tablespoons of water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

3. Remove the lid, increase the heat and cook the paste until you can see the oil coming to the surface. Add the prawns and cook, uncovered, over medium heat for 10–15 minutes until the prawns have changed colour and are cooked through.

4. Serve immediately, garnished with coriander.

Extracted from Ammu by Asma Khan (Ebury Press, £26), photography by Laura Edwards

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