BITS and Pieces

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Piri Prawns

Are the monsoon blues starting to weigh you down? Looking to add some zest to your appetizers or gravies, without having to go splurge on Chili’s or Nando’s every now and then? How about a sizzling tangy touch of Portuguese, African & Brazilian perhaps? Here is an easy, fiery and delicious appetizer especially hand-picked for our multi-culture enthusiasts: Piri Piri Prawns!

Piri piri sauce (used as a seasoning or marinade) is Portuguese in origin and its name is derived from a Swahili word which means ‘pepper pepper’. Popular in the southern part of Africa, it is essentially made from crushed chillies, citrus peel, onion, pepper, salt, lemon juice, bay leaves, paprika, pimiento, basil, oregano, and tarragon. Today Piri Piri (or Peri Peri) has become a popular marinade for barbecued or grilled chicken as well as shrimp recipes. The recipe of the original sauce consists of ‘Piri Piri’ chilli, garlic, lemon juice and oil, but of course you can always play around with flavours.

What will I need?

250 gms prawns (about 6)

8 dried red chillies (adjust to suit your preferred heat level)
5 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon red or white vinegar
1 tablespoon groundnut oil or sunflower oil
Salt & pepper to taste
Fresh coriander / lemon wedge – for garnish

How is it done?

Clean, peel and devein the prawns. Wash and pat dry.

Remove the seeds from the dried red chillies. Boil the chillies for about 20 minutes. Drain and keep aside.

Blend the chillies, garlic, vinegar, smoked paprika powder, lime juice with salt and pepper until smooth, and then fry this paste in a skillet over a slow fire.

Turn off the heat and let it cool.

Marinate the prawns in this paste in a closed container in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. Overnight works too.

Allow the prawns to come to room temperature about an hour before cooking.

In a hot skillet, sear one side of each prawn and allow cooking for 5 minutes.

Then turn it over, and cook the other side for another 5 minutes. Could also be grilled or baked.

Serve hot with a lemon wedge and sprig of fresh coriander garnish, with some extra piri piri sauce on the side, or even some ciabatta bread.

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Alifya Thingna - Associate Director | Key Accounts Having grown up around the Middle East and India, Alifya is a shy, yet friendly and colourful personality with a keen interest in human psychology, ethnology and contemporary dance forms. An aesthete by nature, she is extremely passionate about getting to know new people, immersing herself in new cultures, writing and doing the 'little things' that make this world a better place to live in. She also has a Masters degree in French literature, enjoys biking and is the modern definition of a logophile and an equalist.