Valerie O’Connor’s Prawns Two Ways
Prawns are so easy and fast to cook, a sweet and juicy treat, and perfect for when you want to spoil yourself.
Simple Pan-Fried Prawns
prawns, as many as you like; I take off the head and peel them, leaving the tail on, as it looks nice
50ml olive oil
1 garlic clove, chopped
juice of ½ a lemon
parsley, chopped, to garnish
sea salt and pepper
Heat the oil in the pan and lay on the prawns one by one. As soon as you have laid the last prawn, turn over the first – that’s how fast they cook! Add the garlic, squeeze over the juice of half a lemon, sprinkle on some salt and pepper and a small handful of chopped parsley. You can have this with some crusty bread or add it to a bowl of spaghetti. Be sure to have a glass of white wine too!
This chraimeh dish is something I tasted in a roadside restaurant when I went to visit my brother who was living in Bahrain at the time. We went to lots of very swanky restaurants, but the food in this little, plastic-furnished place was the best I’ve tasted in that part of the world. It’s worth making up a batch of this spice mix so you have an instant treat when you want; once you have the spice made, the dish is ready to serve in minutes.
300g fresh raw prawns, peeled
4 tbsp light olive oil
6 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tsp paprika
1 tbsp caraway seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp cayenne pepper
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
1 green chilli, chopped
3 tbsp tomato purée
2 tsp sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice
salt and pepper
chopped coriander, to serve
lemon wedges, to serve
Dry toast the caraway and cumin on a frying pan, grind them in the mortar and pestle, then add the remaining spices and the garlic and chilli, stir in 2 tbsp light olive oil and keep grinding until it has a nice pasty texture.
Heat 2 tbsp oil in a heavy frying pan and fry the prawns as in the recipe above. Remove them from the pan and set aside.
Throw the spice paste into the pan and give it a good stir, cooking it for at least one minute, add the water and tomato purée and stir, then add the lemon juice and sugar.
Season to taste, then lay the prawns back in the pan and let them heat through for a minute.
Serve this with some fresh coriander, lemon wedges and some warmed pitas or plain boiled rice – too tasty for words.
Extracted from Val’s Kitchen: Real Food, Real Easy by Valerie O’Connor (The O’Brien Press, €19.99), out now. Photograph of Chraimeh Prawns by Valerie O’Connor.