Neela Bhajjias

You can’t learn too much about food since there’s always that next meal staring you down. That’s where Claire Stancer and Karyn Millman come in, helping us broaden our food palates at their Cook It School ( Not only do they provide terrific classes, but they also send out a newsletter that is a wealth of information and tips.

In their upcoming class on November 7, they will bring Neela Bhajjias, former chef and owner of L.A.’s trendy Bombay Cafe and author of the Bombay Cafe cookbook, to teach a menu of fritters, dal, lamb, and more.

Neela’s Jhinga Tamatar

Spicy Tiger Prawns

in a Fresh Tomato Sauce

Serves 4-6

3 Tbs. vegetable or canola oil

1 tsp. black mustard seeds

10-12 sprigs Kari leaves

(available at Indian stores)

2-3 whole dried red arbol chiles

3-4 Serrano chiles, chopped

1-inch piece ginger, peeled and

finely chopped

4 medium tomatoes, chopped

¼ tsp. turmeric

1 tsp. cayenne

2 tsp. ground coriander

18 large tiger prawns or large shrimp, shelled and de-veined; leave tails intact

1 tsp. salt

Cilantro for garnish

Heat oil in a large skillet and tilt the pan; add mustard seeds, Kari leaves, and red chiles. Cover

immediately to avoid splattering. When they stop sizzling, add the green chiles, ginger, and saute for about a minute ’til the chiles start to blister.

Add tomatoes and toss well. Fry for a minute or so; add turmeric, cayenne, and coriander. Stir thoroughly and continue to cook on medium high heat for 3-4 minutes until the oil separates from the spiced tomato “masala.”

Reduce heat, cover, and cook for 8-10 minutes. Uncover, add the prawns, and cook over medium heat until the prawns turn pink in color and are cooked through (about 3-4 minutes). Make sure not to overcook the prawns as they will toughen.

Serve garnished with cilantro and plain Basmati rice.

Note: It is best to cook the prawns just before serving; the “masala” can be made ahead of time. Heat thoroughly before adding prawns.


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