As a teenager, I attended a family wedding in the city of Karachi, Pakistan, a bustling, cosmopolitan port city, and my senses were overloaded in every way possible. At the wedding celebration, I remember being served gigantic skewers loaded with plump juicy prawns that had been cooked in the tandoor oven. They were feverishly smoky, subtly spiced, sea sweet and utterly, utterly delicious. I have recreated that memory here – you can cook these under the grill, in a griddle pan or on the barbecue in the summer. I like to keep the tails on the prawns when I shell them as it looks rather attractive.
By Khazana: An Indo-Persian Cookbook with Recipes Inspired by the Mughals. Reprinted with permission of Mobius/Hachette Book Group, recipes by Saliha Mahmood Ahmed.
Photography by Kristin Perers, food styling by Ellie Mulligan and prop styling by Louie Waller.
Yield: 4 servings
1. Mix the paprika, chiles, mustard seeds, honey, ginger, melted butter and lime juice together in a large bowl. Add the prawns and season to taste with salt. Massage the marinade into the prawns; if possible allow them to marinate for 15–20 minutes.
2. Pour the yogurt into a bowl and season to taste with salt.
3. Heat the olive oil in a small pan over a high heat; when it is very hot, add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, chilli flakes and turmeric. As soon as the spices start popping, carefully pour the searing hot oil onto the yogurt. Swirl the spiced oil into the yogurt to create a marbled effect but be careful as the fat will spit a bit when you do this. Dust with a pinch of paprika.
4. Preheat the grill to high or place a griddle pan or non-stick frying pan over a high heat. Cook the prawns for a couple of minutes each side, turning them only once during cooking. They should end up with a nice charred tinge to them. Serve immediately, with the spiced yogurt.