Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Chemmeen Ularthiyathu / Shrimp / Prawns Roast Kerala style

 There is something comforting about digging into the most delectable spongy soft seafood especially shrimp coated with spicy masala. I have such fond memories of the ever popular Konju olathiyathu . As it rains cats and dogs here right now I cannot stop myself from hitting the nostalgia button.  

Miss the seashore drives between Alappuzha and Kayumkulam or Kollam. But not the reckless speed and panic attacks for sure. :)   I survive long trips by catching up with some small naps and side(not sight)seeing :)   The only thing that makes me wide awake is the inviting call of seaside aroma of fresh fish cooking. The sizzling fish in coconut oil ohhh ! its to die for... 

Though we cook fish at home most of the days there's nothing like immersing nostrils and taste buds in such large amount of different fish preparations made on firewood. Lunch time is much awaited to try new hotels. These is nothing elaborate, most would be extensions of home but the food u get there is phenomenal !!   Most often the meal is served on a banana leaf, rice comes with a mix of vegetarian items and seafood in all forms. As soon as we enter the place and find a clean spot we ask what's today's special and the waiter usually the hotel owner begins the recital of the catch of the day. We begin salivating from that moment on ... To tell u the truth I have wanted many times to sit there one day and try everything from start to finish .... we order seafood like crazy. A fry, a gravy dish and a  dry masala dish is a must for us. Everything is bathed in coconut it may be grated,in milk form or oil. The taste is so gratifying  that we lick our fingers clean ..no forks work on these leaves :)).... After that we buy a latest comedy cassette (not cd :))  to keep us wide awake thru the rest of the drive... oh what nice trips those were! Complete entertainment with driving horror and bumpy ditches in between :) 

Here is the close up ...

As the prawn  roast rests the color would become slightly darker.

Prawns / Shrimp - 1 lb almost 1/2 kg
Coconut bits -1 cup
Red onion- 2 chopped
Tomato - 1  (optional) depending on sourness required
Gambooge / Kudampuli - 3-4 pieces (Fish tamarind)
Ginger - 2 inch piece chopped
Garlic- 4 flakes chopped
Small onion - 5-6 chopped
Green chili -1
Curry leaves -few
Red chili powder - 1 tsp
Kashmiri chili powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder 1/3 tsp + 1/3 tsp
Curry leaves - few
Salt to taste
Coconut oil - 3 -4 tsp

 Dry spices to powder:
Coriander  seeds - 1 tsp
Pepper corns - 1 1/2 tsp
Whole red chili - 2
Cardamom - 2
Cloves -3- 4
Cinnamon  - a small piece
Star anise - 1 petal from the flower
Fennel seeds  - 1/3 tsp + a pinch more if u like it slightly sweet.

1. Heat an empty pan add all the dry spices given above. When it becomes warm switch off flame let it cool down a bit then make it a fine powder. Keep aside.
2.Cook prawns by adding red chili powder.turmeric powder, the gambooge, a small piece of ginger crushed and salt just half glass water. Cover and cook for 5 minutes until soft.Switch off flame and keep aside.

3.Heat coconut oil add ginger then garlic, small onion, green chili ,curry leaves saute this for a few minutes then add the red onion chopped. When the color of onion changes and softens add the coconut bits saute for few more minutes. Then add Kashmiri chili powder, turmeric powder, salt, dry spice powder and saute for few minutes until the masala gives a good roasted aroma of spices. Now add the tomato chopped saute for a few minutes add the water remaining in the cooked prawns and also the gambooge. Cover and cook for 5 minutes so the masala gets the prawn flavors.

4.In the end add cooked prawns give it a few stirs cover and cook for just two minutes so the masala gets into the prawns. Switch off flame and immediately remove from stove and keep it covered for atleast an hour so the flavors mingle.

Serve chemmeen ularthiyathu along with rice, curry and other side dishes.

** Note : The deep brown color is achieved by sauteing the masala and tomato mixture for longer period of time (before adding prawns). My herd doesnot like the blackish brown so the masala here looks reddish.The masala turns slightly brown as it sits.

Now your virtual nadan oonu is ready with whatever is available and in season right now :)
From bottom to top :,Lemon pickle (Naranga achar) , Pineapple and Grapes Pachadi  (Madhura pachadi) ,Rice,Kothamaraka thoran, Pappadam, Sambar , Chemmeen ularthiyathu, Rasam (Strawberry) , Semiya payasam
Hope you like it.


  1. There is something very comforting about Kerala meals, Prawns, fish being my favorite! That gorgeous spread makes me drool. :D

  2. Such a nostalgic walk in the intro. Great to read and when its followed by the prawn dish, triple greatness. Love the flavour though I seldom cook prawns. So lazy to clean them up.

    1. I am lazy to clean too but we get the cleaned ones here which makes life so easy.

  3. Spicy and vibrant! You know we also cook a lot of Sea food and the aroma of sea food is pure bliss! It's hard to explain it to them who does not eat, but I can totally relate how you feel.

    1. So true its hard to explain the joy of having fresh seafood :) Thank you dear.

  4. My Mom makes the prawns roast the same way and I follow her recipe too :). She makes it special for us when we visit them. I am craving for some now. The roadside aroma of fresh food from small hotels are always tempting. I would say, they are the fresh ones than the big hotels as they don't make very big batch and everything will be fresh.

    1. Small batch and fresh catch. Oh Shibi u know exactly what I am saying !:)

  5. mouthwatering one,tempting me so much..lovely spread !!

  6. This looks lovey Meena. My mom prepares them exactly the same way. I can't wait to have them again..:)

  7. Super tempting dear....... njanum veettilekku varattae...... :)


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