For people who care about their food

Prawn Pathia

Prawn pathia in a steel presentation karahi on a sequined clothMatt from the What I Ate Today blog commented on my earlier British Indian restaurant curries to say that he was disappointed because I’d not included his personal favourite – pathia.

So I found a recipe in Camellia Panjabi’s book for prawn patia. First, though, I had to get some tamarind, which wasn’t as straightforward as one might hope.

Here is Camellia Panjabi’s recipe which, for a change, I actually followed and (more or less) did as I was told. I fall into the “look at the picture, glance at the ingredients” category. Have you done my poll yet?

Camellia Panjabi’s Prawns in Sweet and Hot Curry (Prawn Patia)

Serves 2




  • 8 oz (225g) shelled, uncooked prawns
  • 1½ teaspoons tamarind pulp
  • 5 green chillies, chopped
  • 3 plump garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ¼ cup oil (I used ghee instead)
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon cumin powder
  • ¾ teaspoon coriander powder
  • ¾ teaspoon red chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala powder
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon jaggery (I didn’t have any and used palm sugar instead)
  • 10 curry leaves (Urgh! I’ve run out and couldn’t source any new ones)
  • ¼ cup coriander leaves
  • salt


1. If using fresh prawns, wash and remove the veins. (¿Qué? It’s not a vein, it’s the intestinal tract.)

2. Soak the tamarind in ½ cup of water for about 30 minutes.

Chopped garlic, chopped green chillies and cumin seeds on a plate(Now this recipe gets very confusing because it doesn’t use some ingredients on the list and also repeats itself at times. Here’s my interpretation of it.)

3. Grind the green chillies, garlic, and cumin to a paste.

Ground garlic, green chillies and cumin in a mortar4. Heat the oil in a suitable pan (I used a wok) and sweat off the onions. Add the paste you made in step 3 and fry for another couple of minutes.

Cumin, coriander, red chilli, garam masala and turmeric powders presented in Chinese soup spoons on a plate5. Add the cumin, coriander, red chilli, garam masala and turmeric powders. And stir for another minute or so.

6. Add the chopped tomatoes and fry for 4 or 5 minutes, stirring from time to time.

7. Add half the tamarind water (I still haven’t figured out what you’re supposed to do with the other half), the jaggery, curry and coriander leaves and about 1½ teaspoons of salt.

8. Taste and adjust the sour, sweet and salt flavours to your taste.

9. Add ¾ cup of water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes.

Prawn pathia in a steel presentation karahi10. Add the prawns and cook till ready, ie when they turn pink and opaque.

50 Great Curries of India (2004 edition)

Buy from Amazon UK

Buy from

Camellia Panjabi
Paperback, 224 pages
2004, Kyle Cathie Limited
ISBN 1856265463
RRP: £10.99

Read my review of 50 Great Curries of India

7 Responses to “Prawn Pathia”

  1. Matt

    Thanks ND! Looks great. I will definitely give this one a try, I’ve not cooked a Pathia for ages. The photos are fab too, especially all the spices – you should submit them to DMBLGIT.

  2. Not Delia

    Hi Matt

    Thanks for the comment and compliments. To be honest, I’m not sure that Camellia Panjabi’s recipes are like what you might get in a British Indian restaurant, although the pathia was tasty. She tends to go in for more ‘authentic’ Indian cooking. But, I’ve just bought ‘The Curry Secret’ book, so look out for another version soon!

    Sometimes I submit my photos to 123rf, but I’d not heard of DMBLGIT before so thanks for the heads up. BTW, I use a Canon D60.

  3. Marcos


    Fantastic recipe. It tastes great and feels a lot healthier than my takeaway. Really looking forward to the next version. Star!

  4. Not Delia

    Thanks, Marcos. Perhaps I’ll do another curry soon. Any requests?

  5. Matt Chatterley

    Well, that was a funny coincidence – I was digging around looking for a “reliable” recipe to make a decent Prawn Pathia – and lo and behold, ND popped up in the search results, so thats me sorted. I’d just dug through a couple of links which were pants – the above looks great, has just been printed and will be eaten tonight!

  6. Matt Chatterley

    And the results? It was fab – not the same as you’d get in an indian restaurant; much more authentic I suspect (although I tweaked the recipe a bit and used a can of tomatoes instead of fresh ones + water, which is partly responsible).

    Enjoy with some home made puri bread – very easy to make!

  7. Not Delia

    Glad you enjoyed it, Matt!

    I’ve not been cooking, or writing on Not Delia, as much as usual as I’ve been busy with some of other other websites. It’s time for a come back.

Leave a Reply

Basic HTML is allowed. Your email address will not be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS