James Street Cookery School: Two tasty prawn curries you can make at home in no time

Prawn biryani by James Street – who needs takeaways?

WE ALL love to order our takeaway curries, especially when the weather is as grim and cold as it has been this week. Yet if we did one big cookathon and people realised how easy it is, you might suddenly be able to find the 15 minutes to cook these dishes yourself.

At the Cookery School, many people tell me how important their time in the kitchen preparing a meal for the family is to them as it gives them the chance to switch off after work, relax and spend time together.

This week’s recipes are two great dishes which we love to cook at the Cookery School and while I know only too well how cooking something new isn’t necessarily relaxing, the process of perfecting dishes over time really can benefit you in more ways than one.


(Serves 4)

For the marinade:

1 tblsp red chilli powder

1 ½ tsp garam masala

1 ½ tsp salt

2 tblsp vegetable oil

20 curry leaves, chopped

1 tsp sugar

1 lime, juiced and zested

400g prawns, shelled and cleaned

250g basmati rice

2 large onions, diced

50g ghee

vegetable oil for cooking

1 tsp black peppercorns

1 star anise

3 cloves

10 curry leaves

1 tblsp shrimp paste

4 small green chillis, halved

2 springs mint, removed from stalk and chopped

2 sprigs coriander, removed from stalk and chopped

1 pinch turmeric

1 tsp salt

500ml fish stock


Start by mixing all the marinade ingredients together. Remove the prawns from their shells and clean and place in the marinade, ensuring that they are all coated. Cover in cling film and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

When cooking with rice, always wash the rice first; this gets rid of starch and avoids clumping when serving.

In a heavy-bottomed pot, put in the vegetable oil and cook off the onions; once coloured, remove the onions and leave to the side. Add the ghee and cook on a high heat; add the spices and when they start to sizzle add the onions and reduce the heat to a simmer. Add the paste, green chilli and sauté for a minute.

Add the mint, coriander, turmeric, salt and rice and the fish stock and bring to the boil. When the water has all but disappeared add the marinated prawns, mix well, cover with a lid and leave to cook for five minutes. Take off the heat, stir through and place the lid back on for five minutes. Now it is ready to serve.


(Serves 2)

For the sauce:

20g tamarind paste

4 tblsp hot water

2 tblsp sugar

2 tblsp fish sauce

1 tsp lemongrass, finely chopped

150g prawns, peeled and cleaned

1 tblsp vegetable oil

1 clove garlic, crushed

½ shallot, diced

2 spring onions, cleaned and chopped

1 sprig coriander, removed from stalk and chopped


For the sauce, place the paste and water in a bowl and leave for 20 minutes until it becomes soft and paste like. Mix well and add the sugar, fish sauce and lemongrass.

It is best to use a wok to cook this. Place the oil in the pan and heat; add the garlic, shallots and, when soft, add the prawns and cook off, tossing occasionally. When the prawns turn pink add the sauce and leave on a gentle simmer for a couple of minutes. To serve, garnish with spring onions and coriander.

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