Sri Lankan Recipe – Devilled Prawns


Tonight G was full of cold so she requested hopefully that maybe “a very hot curry might help”. Now it happens that she knows I only need hear the word curry and I’m sold on the idea, I have to have one. To me the word provokes a Pavlovian reaction and has me salivating as surely as any well trained dog upon hearing the bell which indicates feeding time. A certain Sri Lankan recipe from Rick Stein’s Far Eastern Odyssey.

Chef Publis devilled prawns with tomato is a fantastic Sri Lankan recipe, not strictly a curry of course but close enough given its ingredients.



It proved to be a hit. Quick to prepare, a tomato rich curry, hot with green chilli, dried red chilli and black pepper and zinging with lime and mint. There were groans of approval from G as she swore she could feel the benefit that her antibodies were getting in fighting off her cold.

Here is my slightly simplified version of this great Sri Lankan recipe:

  1. Finely chop an onion and fry in a little oil for 5 minutes until it’s soft and begins to start to colour
  2. Add finely chopped ginger about the size of walnut and about 4 large finely chopped cloves of garlic
  3. Continue to fry for about a minute, then add about a dozen fresh curry leaves (if you have them), a a 1/4 teaspoon each of turmeric and cinnamon and  a teaspoon of red chilli flakes.
  4. Fry for another minute before adding 2 large chopped tomatoes a good squeeze of tomato puree (about 4 tablespoons) and 2 chopped green chillies
  5. Continue stirring whilst adding about 100 ml water and a teaspoon of salt
  6. Bring to the boil quickly while stirring until the sauce all comes together, it should be quite thick and not at all wet when it’s ready – 2-3 minutes.
  7. Add the prawns – I used 2 packets of cooked king prawns as they were buy one get one free (this would probably have comfortably fed 3 even 4 people, but was so delicious the two of us polished it off quite easily)
  8. keeping cooking on a fairly high heat making sure it doesn’t all stick and start to burn
  9. When the prawns are ready (1-2 minutes) add the juice of a lime, a really good twist of freshly ground black pepper and garnish with fresh mint leaves (if you have any)
  10. Serve with plain boiled basmati rice and a cold lager