Grilled saffron prawns with carrot and coconut salad

Grilled saffron prawns with carrot and coconut saladIngredients 

  • 12 large raw tiger prawns, peeled but heads left on and deveined
  • 1 in. fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped, then crushed in a mortar
  • ½ tsp red chilli powder, preferably Kashmiri
  • Juice of ½ lime or lemon
  • ¼ tsp ground white or black pepper
  • Butter to serve

For the marinade:

  • A pinch of saffron threads
  • 1 tbsp warm milk
  • 100 ml thick Greek yogurt
  • ½ tsp ground cardamom
  • ½ tsp ground mace
  • 1 small fresh green chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil

For the salad:

  • ½ tbsp sunflower oil
  • ½ tsp black mustard seeds
  • 6 fresh curry leaves; if using dried, soak in water for 10-12 minutes and dry thoroughly before adding
  • ¾ in. fresh root ginger, peeled and grated
  • 2 large carrots, grated
  • 4 tbsps freshly grated coconut
  • 4 or 5 mint leaves, shredded
  • Juice of ½ lime


  1.  Rinse the prawns and drain well. Combine ginger paste, chilli powder, juice, pepper and some salt in a bowl and mix well. Add the prawns and toss lightly to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, start the marinade. Heat saffron threads in a small frying pan over gentle heat until crisp, then transfer to a small bowl of warm milk. Cover and leave to infuse for 15-20 minutes.

  3. Put yogurt and remaining marinade ingredients in a bowl. Add the saffron liquid and whisk to form a smooth paste. Add the prawns to the marinade and stir to coat, then cover and chill for at least two hours.

  4. Make the salad just before barbecuing. Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat; add mustard seeds and curry leaves and sauté until they release their aroma. Add ginger and stir for a few seconds, then take off the heat and set aside to cool.

  5. Put carrots and coconut in a serving bowl and add the cooked ginger mixture. Stir in the mint leaves. Squeeze in the lime juice and season with salt.

  6. Light a barbecue; heat the oven to 240°C/475°F/Gas Mark 9 or heat a grill to high. Thread the prawns on to metal or pre-soaked bamboo skewers, pushing the tip through the head and tail of each one.

  7. Suspend the skewers above the barbecue rack or over an oven tray (to prevent sticking) and cook for about six to seven minutes, until the tail part becomes dark and the meat changes colour. Take care that the prawns don’t overcook and become rubbery; test by slitting one open to see if the meat is opaque. Brush with butter and serve with the salad.