Prawn Patia, a Parsee Curry
Pathia, A Parsee Prawn Curry
Patia is a traditional Parsee/Parsi dish that was brought from Persia by Parsees who settled in India. It is made with prawns or fish, cooked with spices, herbs, jaggery or palm sugar and tamarind. It is hot, sweet and sour. Chicken or lamb version also exist but are not originally Parsee.
We usually serve it on special occasions like birthdays, weddings or any other auspicious occasion like Navjot, with Toor/Tuvar dal and boiled rice. Serves 2.
250-300 gm. or 8 oz fresh prawns, peeled and de-veined. You can use frozen prawns too, but thaw them fully and cook minimally.
3 tbsp. oil
300 gm. or 2 medium onions, peeled and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic (ginger is not used in this dish)
1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
1/2-3/4 tsp. chilli powder
3/4 tsp. coriander powder
1/2 tsp. cumin powder
1 tsp. Sambhar Powder for flavour (optional)
*1 to 1/2-2 tsp. tamarind puree/paste.
2 medium tomatoes, finely chopped or 120 gm. or 4 oz. tinned tomatoes
1 tsp. jaggery or palm sugar
Salt to taste (prawns can be a little salty)
1/2 tsp. Garam Masala
* Tamarind paste/puree can be bought in jars from Oriental, Asian grocers. It is much better, it is just tamarind pulp with fibrous bits removed, where as the dark coloured tamarind concentrate often found in Indian stores is not as good/natural tasting.
Wash and pat dry prawns with kitchen paper.
Heat the oil in a saucepan and fry the onions and garlic, until golden brown.
Add the cumin, coriander, red chilli, sambhar powder and turmeric and cook, stirring constantly for 10-20 seconds.
Add salt and the chopped/tinned tomatoes and fry until oil floats to the top.
Dissolve tamarind and sugar in 1/2 cup of hot water and add to the cooking sauce. Bring to boil. The gravy should be thick.
Adjust seasoning, adjusting the sour, sweet and salt tastes to your liking.
Simmer for 5-6 minutes. The gravy should be thick.
Add the prawns just before serving and cook for a minute or two only. Do not overcook prawns, they get rubbery. Turn heat off.
Just before serving, add prawns and garam masala and bring to boil. Turn heat off.