Prawn and fenugreek stew with tamarind and coriander

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500g raw king prawns, peeled and deveined

4 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp ground turmeric 

5 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed 

Salt and black pepper

100g tamarind pulp

1 onion, peeled and finely chopped 

2 green chillies, finely chopped

5 spring onions, finely sliced

80g coriander leaves, finely chopped, plus 5g finely shredded leaves, to serve 

50g parsley leaves, finely chopped

50g fenugreek leaves, finely chopped (or 2 tsp fenugreek seeds finely crushed in a spice grinder)

1 tbsp plain flour

1½ tsp ground coriander

1½ tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground cinnamon

⅛ tsp ground cloves

¼ tsp chilli flakes

1 tbsp soft brown sugar

This southern Iranian dish features fresh fenugreek, which can be found in Middle Eastern shops and online. The leaves add a more herbaceous dimension than the seeds, although the latter would work here, too. It’s important to cook the herbs, because that creates the deep flavour. Serve with rice.

Prep 20 min
Cook 50 min
Serves 4


Mix the prawns with a tablespoon of oil, the turmeric, one crushed garlic clove and half a teaspoon of salt, then leave to marinate.

Soak the tamarind in 200ml hot water for 20 minutes, then use your hands to separate as much pulp as possible from the seeds and fibre. Strain into a sieve, pressing down on the pulp to extract as much liquid as you can: you should end up with about 160ml tamarind liquid.

Heat two tablespoons of oil in a large saute pan on a medium heat, then sweat the onion for 10 minutes, until soft and lightly browned. Add the rest of the garlic and half the green chillies, and cook, stirring, for a minute. Add the spring onions, herbs and fenugreek, and cook on a medium-low heat for 20 minutes, stirring often, until deep green.

Add the flour, spices, chilli flakes, a teaspoon and a half of salt and a generous grind of pepper, cook for 30 seconds, then add the tamarind liquid, sugar and 500ml water, and simmer for 10 minutes, until the sauce thickens and comes together.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a frying pan on a high flame. Fry a third of the prawns for two minutes on each side, until golden brown, then move to a plate.

Stir the remaining raw prawns into the sauce and cook for three minutes, until just cooked through.

Serve the stew from the pan or a large bowl, sprinkled with coriander, the fried prawns and the remaining green chillies.

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