July 15, 2011

Kerala Prawn and Drumstick Curry — Chemmeen Muringakka Curry

It’s a shame that I’m not able to post here regularly. These days I’m all over the place, and invariably end up tight for time. That’s just why I haven’t been able to visit your lovely spaces, to be inspired by what’s cooking in your kitchen. Sorry guys—but I promise to there soon.

I’ve also been hoping, in vain, to work towards at least two posts per week. But even such a modest figure seems quite ambitious now, ah. Frankly, a lot of times, I find it challenging to meet my own expectations of high editorial standards. For instance, with this prawn curry recipe, though I am excited to share the taste with you, I’m disappointed with the photos and styling. I’m like, I don’t think anyone’s ever gonna come back after seeing such pictures. Weird, huh? I know. This's gotta stop. On the contrary, it got to such a point that I had to pressure myself into publishing this recipe as is. Basically, what reflects here is my desire for quality as opposed to quantity. And the funny part is, I'm not even sure if I'm meeting my own expectations, duh! This is exactly why I admire people who post unfailingly 3-4 times a week,  that too without compromising on quality. Kudos, guys. You rock!

You must be fed up of my ravings on food photography, eh? For some reason, I can’t stop. Sorry, guys! 

I generally tend to shoot with bright white backgrounds, especially over-exposed shots. Because, with white you don’t need to shout for attention, it kinda comes to you. You know what I mean? My greatest motivation for shooting with bright background is Mowie Kay from Mowielicious. His work is a real inspiration and I usually hit his homepage just to enjoy the sheer beauty of his images. I’m sure most food bloggers are familiar with his incredible talent and classy work. Mowie recently launched his first online magazine, an absolute WOW e-book. I for one am totally bowled over by his awesomeness, and aspire to create stunning images just like him. Can’t wait for that day to happen. Sigh.

Okay, coming back to my recipe images, while shooting this time, I really wished I could borrow or hire some dark background props, if not own it. Beautiful surfaces with a country, rustic feel that would bring out the vibrant orange of the curry. I mean, rustic dark surfaces like the ones you see in Dario Milano’s styling and photography blog, Food Pixels. If you, like me, are seriously interested in food photography, and haven’t yet visited Food Pixels, you better hurry and catch up. He shares a lot of wisdom, all illustrated with gorgeous photography that will harness your creativity and empower you to do your best. Well, since we are on the topic of food photography, I’d recommend you check out Learn Food Photography and Food Styling by Neel too. Neel is currently running a 31-day series on tips to improve your food photos, together with daily assignments to help you put these theories into practice. Interested? Then don’t waste time!

Now, let’s talk about the recipe. Shall we? Prawn and drumstick curry.

No, not chicken drumstick… or ice cream drumstick… but veggie drumstick.

This veg is little known to a lot of people though it’s fairly common in India and Pakistan. The highly nutritious plant is usually grown in most backyard gardens back home and I’ve seen it in many Malayali homes in Qatar too. The leaves, fruits, flower, seeds and barks of this plant have great medicinal value. The fruit can be cooked in myriad ways and the leaves are usually prepared with dal for a highly nutritious and delicious taste.

Anyways, this luscious prawn is fairly simple to make, and one of my family’s finger-licking favorite. If you have never tried prawn in creamy coconut milk, cooked with drumsticks and raw mango, you’ll be smitten. The spices balance perfectly to give a hot, but not overpowering flavor. Seasoning with shallots and curry leaves fried in a bit of oil give this dish a compelling, savory fragrance, and irresistible taste.

It’s funny that I, like most Keralites, always call the shrimp, prawn. To me it’s interchangeable and I don’t break my sweat to differentiate the two. So please keep that in mind whenever you eyeball my prawn/shrimp recipes. Well, shrimp is the most popular seafood in the world and as far as I can remember, I have always loved this yummy crustacean. In fact, my whole family adores shrimpy dishes, giving me the perfect excuse to include prawn roast, chemmeen ularthiyathu, chemmeen mulakittathu, unakka chemmeen chammanthi or any other tasty preparation in our meal. In terms of preference, my family enjoys this prawn drumstick curry after the mouthwatering prawn roast
As with all dishes, ingredients vary little from recipe to recipe, yet altering the proportions create surprising variations in flavor. Raw mango can be easily substituted with kokum for an equally delicious taste. Also, try swapping drumstick for plantain to vary.

Finally, here’s the recipe.
Kerala prawn and drumstick curry — Chemmeen Muringakka curry

Serves 4

1 cup prawn/shrimp, shelled, deveined and cleaned (leave some with their tails on, if you like)
12 piece tender drumstick, peeled and cut into finger-size pieces
½ —1 medium mango*, peeled and cut into chunks (depending on sourness)
*as a substitution for mango, use 3 piece kokum soaked in water for 10 minutes
8 fresh curry leaves
1 cup water
generous pinch turmeric
salt, to taste

To grind
¼ cup fresh coconut, shredded
½ teaspoon fennel seeds
2 green chilies, slit
2 teaspoon Kashmiri chili powder
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon coriander powder
3 small shallots
1 cup water

For tempering
2 small shallots, finely sliced
few curry leaves
1 tablespoon oil (any oil would do, use coconut to enhance flavor)


In a grinder, blitz the chili, shallots, fennel seeds, coconut and 1 cup water to a smooth, creamy blend. Scrape down the sides and set aside.

In an clay pot, bring prawns, drumstick, curry leaves, mango/konkam and turmeric to boil by adding 1 cup water. Season and cook for 5 minutes over medium-high heat or until prawn turns opaque. Pour in the ground coconut mixture and bring to a simmer, stirring. Cook for 3 minutes more.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a small pan over medium-low heat. Tip in shallots and stir-fry until light golden and fragrant. Thrown in curry leaves and remove from heat; stir into the curry.

Serve with plain steamed rice to soak up the tasty sauce. Crisp fried pappadam and upperi (dry veggie stir fry) compliments this meal. Alternatively, you could skip the rice and serve it with bread to mop up the flavorful gravy. Scrumptious!

This dish tastes even better when eaten with the fingers of your right hand following the Indian custom. Make sure to form plump balls of rice soaked in gravy and crisp bits of pappadam, rolled into every bite. Simply delicious! Oh, and make sure to lick your fingers in the end.

Bon appétit!


  1. let me tell u this .. i don't care what others say..I love LOVE your photos.. you styling.. that fist click.. seriously how do you shoot that ??? We are not professionals and we love to showcase best pictures and I know when you say you deny to upload because of photo and that happens with me too very very often and even after uploading I am not happy with my photos! But and when the food and recipe and your writing speaks so much why worry ! It looks amazing and it will look much more amazing the next day and better every time. so chill and upload whenever you have time (((hugs))) :)

  2. wow!!! I totally agree with kankana, your pics are too good!!!! I never tried this combo, looks fantastic!!!!
    Food Blog News
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  3. Thanks for the lovely and encouraging comment...will incorporate them ASAP...
    Curry looks superb...I am drooling over it...

  4. Delicious looking prawn curry using drumstick. Loved the gravy color.

    Hamaree Rasoi

  5. Curry looks delicious !! lovely clicks !!

    Ongoing Event - CC-Roti Pachadi/Chutney

  6. delicious looking flavours looks wonderful

  7. Chattiyode ingottu oru parcel poratte.....mouthwatering curry dear.

  8. Oh dear! Why do you worry so much, your photography looks amazing as everyone says, we all admire at your talents. If you are not happy with your pictures, then what should I say about mine, I should never publish anything with my picture quality.
    BTW the prawn or shrimp curry looks very delicious and I love the way you have served it in your clay pot.

  9. I have never tried shrimps and drumstick, but I am sure they are very good. I have a weakness for prawns/shrimps too, but my hubby dearest is allergic :'(, so never cooked it. Maybe I will share this recipe with my mom and ask her to cook it for me, the next time I am home. btw, I love your pics :) I thought the pics of the fennel seeds was very good, as so were all the others too.....

  10. adipoli curry...nalla combination curry!

  11. Never eaten this combo....looks yummy.

  12. I agree with others on your photography skills....this is my favorite too...

  13. I absolutely love this curry , my mom makes this very often , the pics as usual are gorgeous . I live in calicut and will be here for ramadan and eid here, what abt you , where do you live ?
    P.S: almost heaven and once and always are my fav Judith Mcnaught books . have you read Jude deveraux books , they are really great , it's mostly humour and romance , the perfect combo :).

  14. AnonymousJuly 15, 2011

    Hey Nash, Thanks for dropping by my blog...This is my hubby's favourite dish.. I love all the snaps posted here , but my fav is the one with the pots and drumstick by side..

  15. Beautiful clicks....and yummy looking curry, prawns and drumstick is a nice combo

  16. Such beautiful shots!!! I loved the shot of the Anise seeds. :)

  17. Dear, you never fail to impress us with your amazing photography skills. I admire your work. And this flavorful curry sounds fantastic, lovely combination :)

  18. Lovely combo.Prawn with drumstick looks spicy, yummy and delicious.

  19. i love chemeen curry.......yummyy and superb clicks........loves it soooo much....

  20. i too love mowies pics..so so gorgeous. pinne this dish has been made its way to my kitchen so many times after following shabs recipe, but it never turns out as awesome as i think it is :O

  21. Hey Nash, don't worry about your pics. They are simply great. We enjoy viewing each and every snap. Loved this curry a lot. Never tried this combination.

  22. Yummy looking curry..and absolutely fantastic clicks as always..
    I jus admire your work dear..your pics are always perfect and looks so professional.You are jus amazing and so talented....keep goin..


  23. That curry looks mighty scrumptious! I'd love to eat some now... Lovely clicks too.



  24. That first pic is so gorgeous dear.. and Ur photos are too good... dont discourage urself..
    Yummy and making-me-drool curry...

  25. Oh dear, why do you pressure yourself so much? I just wanted you to know how much I enjoy your blog and sometimes I stop by here just to look at your pictures and styling..which are always perfect and very nicely presented..so keep them coming..And about the dish.. it's been ages since I've seen fresh drumsticks and this curry looks so flavorful and delicious..never tried this combo before..thanks for sharing..

  26. AnonymousJuly 15, 2011

    You have me drooling..but I am a vegetarian for sometime so....but I think I might have a change of heart soon-the curry looks that scrumptious.I admire the way you photograph and keep gawking at your shots all the time!!You aredoing splendidly!

  27. Every pic is beautiful in its own ways! Your pics are always excellent. Period.

  28. I think all your pics looks awesome, I'm way behind. I must come here often to look at your lovely recipes and pictures :)

  29. Beautiful picture dear,I absolutely love your clicks and styling..curry kandittu kothiyavunnu..love this combo..

  30. Your shot are always wonderful and make us drool, you're the best dear not only in photography but also in cooking. Keep them coming....

  31. AnonymousJuly 15, 2011

    Wow.. i love your pics.. dont even think twice about them :) I wish I had this talent! :(

    This is such a yummy naadan curry. Love it..

  32. lovely combo and the curry looks superb, great presentation, cool clicks..

  33. Pls dont say
    "This dish tastes even better when eaten with the fingers of your right hand following the Indian custom. Make sure to form plump balls of rice soaked in gravy and crisp bits of pappadam, rolled into every bite. Simply delicious! Oh, and make sure to lick your fingers in the end."

    Especially i ended my dinner with a mexican pizza...i gobbled 3 piece...i see this recipe esp these lines and i am hungry again.....u r soooo mean i say.
    Adipoli clicks

  34. When I saw this post first thing even before reading the post that came into my mind was "How did she make the simple rice and curry look so good"and reading your post I did have a good laugh.My dear you are a good photographer, but I understand that you have set such high standards for yourself that you are not satisfied.So just chill girl, don't put to much pressure on yourself.

  35. AnonymousJuly 16, 2011

    honestly i come here everyday just to look at ur pictures! its soo wooooww, i think u can start a tutorial also along with this,
    and i see ur in qatar...nice to know...
    keep up the goodwork

  36. I can't believe ur cribbing about ur pics! Ok, ok... i understand it must be ur little OCD :P but seriously, go visit my blog, look at my sorry pictures and feel better :)
    my biggest problem is I almost always feel like cooking after sunset! dont ask why... so I invariably have no natural light and end up shooting under ugly tube lights and stuff. ugh. i know...
    So, stop obsessing and keep those beautiful pictures and recipes coming my girl!

  37. Lovely looking dish, the photos are great. Never had a "drumstick", yet.

  38. Delicious looking recipe and great pictures,simply superb.

  39. Hi Nashi, thanks for your encouraging and lovely comments. No no, rather compliments :-) What more could I ask for that post?? Yeah sure, make a visit to Belgium when you could. And, if you do so, try to drop by at my place too :-)

    Now, coming to your post, lovely pics, great curry as usual. About your write up, well, I have read the comments above and they must sure have given you an idea of what your readers think about your photography and culinary skills. What more should I say!!

    But, I do remember, when I was at school, I used to score 98 or 99% at the exams and still used to think I'm bad at studies or I'm not up to the mark and used to cry at times. When I think of it now, I could only smile at it. Well, I think you are a perfectionist and that's what make you think so. Just chill out dear!! You are just doing a great job and we love what you do!! :)

  40. this dish is new to me, Nashi... looks mouth-watering... u do not have to worry abt ur pics at all... they are all so gorgeous! i love ur shots! go on and post whenever you are comfortable... after all, this is no exam or test... this is your space where you can be just who you are...

  41. lovely space here and awesome recipes..interesting combo of drumstick and prawns..looks fab!!

  42. Nice yummy curry and beautiful clicks...why worry..

  43. awesome recipe dear...first click is lovely..:)
    Tasty Appetite

  44. whoa..looks incredible.ithu oru ugran combo alle Nash...iniku ippoo vishakkunnu...:)

  45. Nash!!! i am all over your pictures!!!! what a beauty they are madam!!!
    yeah i do love mowilicous !!! food pixels lemme check..
    each and evry pic are too good gal..loved loved loved it!!!

  46. ah pinne i forgot to say about ur recipe while drooling over your pics..Awesome!!

  47. This is one of my favorites. Like everyone said..amazing pictures!! What a color! You are a talented photographer Nash!

  48. I love delicious shrimp recipe in all its forms, nice recipe, I like your kitchen, big hugs and good week

  49. Aww, you are a bunch of sweethearts! I feel really touched by your notes. A lot of times I falter, not knowing how my photos or even my babbles are going to be received, sorry! I know I have tons to learn, but it’s a pleasure to realize that I can do that with your support. Thanks again, and huge hugs for bearing me!

    Kankana, so sweet of you to say that! If you’re interested in the technical details of the first shot just check out my earlier response to this post: http://nashplateful.blogspot.com/2011/05/watermelon-shake.html

    DD, thank you! This is a delicious combo, I have to say.

    Reshmi, Deepa, Sravani, Akhila and Tina: Thank you!

    Hey Ayeesha, I love your pictures. Hmm, wonder why we are never satisfied with our work..?!! lol

    Indu dear, I hope you get to taste it. A truly a unique combo it is!

    Rekha, Shobha, Nisa: Thanks!

    Hey Shabs, I’m actually from Thrissur. But, guess what, we have a family wedding in Calicut the first week after Eid! You gonna be around then? And for Judith, I’ve read all her novels. Besides, I do have a small collection including Jude Deveraux, ….Shirlee Busbee, Susan Elizabeth Philips, Christina Dodd ….and plenty others :)

    Foodiecorner, Sharmilee, Paaka Shaale, Ambreen, Babli, Fajeeda: Girls, thanks for being so nice.

    Nisha, this is pretty good, I have to say. I hope you give it a try!

    Zareena, thanks. You should try this!

    Vidya, you are too nice. Thank you!

    Thanks Rosa!

    Thank you, Vimitha. I too like the first picture :)

    Hey Suman, I was so happy to read your lovely note -- thanks a bunch dearie!

    Thank so much, Anita. You are an absolute sweetheart!

    Aww, Kithi. Thanks dear!

    Anncoo, you are too kind. Thank you and hope to see you around :)

    Thanks Suja!

    Treat and Trick, you are way too sweet , thanks all the same!

    Lol.. Biny, you are a doll!

    Vidhya, thanks a ton for the support!

    Hey Shameela, thank so much for the sweet note. I’m flattered! Truly.

    Swati, sorry! I know I’m being a pain--thanks much for your patience with me... :))

    Hi Anthony, thanks. I hope you get to try the drumstick soon.

    Hi butterfly, I’d love to visit Germany as well as Belgium. Someday soon, I hope. Hey you really cried over 2-1%.... now why does it make me feel better…?!! lol. Seriously, thanks for the support sweetness.

    Sarah, you must try this! You see, if I don’t feel pressured, I’d hardly be posting anything at all… :) Amongst other things, I’m so lazy these days!

    Arthi, thanks for visiting! Hope to see ya again.

    Pushpa, Jay and Kurry leaves: Thank you!

    Sarah Naveen, you are too sweet! Thanks for the generous comments... :) And yea, do check out Food Pixels--it's a wealth of info for food photo enthusiasts like you and I.

    Yummy team, thank you! This’s one of my favorites too.

    Rosita, welcome to my space. Nice to meet you!

  50. I love this combo' so much, whenever I visit India, this will be on my to-do list. These pictures are so beautiful...awesome clicks.

    Thanks for the warm comments at my space, dear. Means a lot to me, very comforting...feeling bit better.

  51. the curry looks fantastic!

  52. woww... awesome Nash.. im drooling over your snaps.. aa chorum kootti unnan thonnunnu...adipolitto :)

  53. Hi Nashira, I love your blog. I would also love to see some of your photography tips. I hope you will consider doing this in the future.

  54. hello, first time i'm visiting ur blog and i'm stunned with the beautiful pics! so glad to know ur a macaron fan too, i just love the pic of ur raspberry macs..i will def visit this site often..drop by to mine too whenever ur free:-)

  55. Thank you Malar and Lena!

    Ann and Jehanne: Thanks for popping over and leaving a note. See ya around!

    Hey Corry, thanks for your kind suggestion. Your wish is my command.. lol. Seriously, will consider :)

  56. AnonymousJuly 31, 2011

    Hey, saw my favourite snap among this in foodgawker.. and u were worrying about ur photography skills.:) .. Do seriously consider photography tutorial in your blog.. :)

  57. I've been seeing this drumstick curry alot recently! Really want to get my hands on this curious ingredient! That looks simply amazing!

  58. Foodiecorner: thanks for the cheer, you are so sweet!

    Hey Shu, it tastes even better than it looks. Trust me! You gotta find drumstick and get cooking. Cheers!

  59. thanks for sharing.

  60. Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as though you relied on the video to
    make your point. You obviously know what youre talking about, why waste your
    intelligence on just posting videos to your weblog when you could be giving us something enlightening to read?

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  62. mmm this sounds really yummy. Thanks for sharing this, looks simple to make as well.



A million thank you's for stopping by, taking the time to connect, and coming back to visit again. I genuinely appreciate each of your kind thoughts, lovely words, love and support. Happy, happy to hear from you, and hope to see you again!

♥ Nashi