1 tablespoon yellow split peas
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 dried red chile, such as thai, cayenne or chile de arbol
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon tamarind concentrate
1/2 teaspoon salt
500g raw prawns (16-20 per 500g), peeled and deveined
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 teaspoon black or yellow mustard seeds
1/4 cup minced shallots
1/2 cup water
- Toast split peas, coriander, cumin, peppercorns and chilli in a large skillet over medium heat, shaking the pan occasionally, until the peas turn reddish brown, the spices become fragrant and the chilli blackens slightly, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool for 3 to 5 minutes. Grind in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle until the mixture is the texture of finely ground black pepper.
- Combine cilantro, tamarind concentrate (or lime juice), salt and the spice blend in a medium bowl. Add prawns and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. (Do not marinate for more than 2 hours or the acidity in the tamarind will affect the prawns’ texture.)
- Heat oil in the pan over medium-high heat; add mustard seeds. When the seeds begin to pop, cover the skillet. As soon as the popping stops, add shallots and the prawns in a single layer and cook until the undersides of the prawns turn salmon-pink, 1 to 2 minutes. Turn the prawns and cook until the other side is pink, 1 to 2 minutes. Add water and continue cooking for 1 minute.
Serve immediately on a bed of brown basmati rice.
Note: Lime juice is an acceptable substitute if you can not find tamarind concentrate