Location: A small town in Kerala
Characters: Yours truly and her aunt
Almanac: Late 80’s
- ½ lb (Approx. ¼ kg) prawns or shrimp peeled, deveined and washed thoroughly.
- 4-5 small red pearl onions/shallots
- ½ to ¾ tbsp finely chopped ginger
- 7-9 fresh green chillies
- A small sprig of curry leaves coarsely chopped
- ¼ tsp of turmeric powder
- Salt to taste
- Oil for deep frying
- Using a small jar of the food processor or blender, make a coarse paste of the small onions, green chillies, ginger and curry leaves. To this, add the cleaned prawns or shrimp and run the processor until everything combines well, forming a coarse paste and add turmeric powder and salt to taste. Do not make them too smooth as you do for chutney or other condiments.
- Make around 10-12 small balls with this mixture and flatten them into a round shape; For flattening, keep the ball of mixture onto your left palm and press it with your right palm. You can do this either on a plastic wrap sheet or a plantain leaf as well, whichever is convenient.
- Heat oil in a small saucepan, deep fry each of them, in low-medium heat, until it is cooked or reaches brown colour. Serve warm with a hot cup of tea/chai.
I added only 7 green chillies which did not provide me the required heat, so I ended up adding ½ tsp red chilly powder, which compromised the visual appeal, resulting in a slightly black colour, according to my mother. So it is better to go with green chillies alone. From the photographs, my mother felt that my base mixture of small onion, ginger, green chillies and curry leaves were not a coarse paste exactly, which was true to an extent :D Yes, she is a perfectionist in cooking! So, make sure that you follow both the tips to make your Chemmeen Vada/Prawn Fritters, appealing not only to your palate but also to your eyes :)
Verdict: A ‘must try’ for prawn lovers! The ones in pictures were the last two ‘saved’ with great difficulty, for the sheer act of photographing this dish, to blog!!