I was more than just a little excited to learn that Masterchef’s Jimmy Seervai would be attending the CurryFest this year.
As I have stated previously, curry is not my specialty, so the knowledge that Jimmy “The Curryman” himself was going to give three cooking demonstrations throughout the day was music to my ears. The demonstration I was most interested in was the Prawn Curry. On Masterchef the Crab Curry was Jimmy’s signature dish. The prawn curry he was preparing for the festival was an adaptation of this dish.
Jimmy was born in Indian and moved to Australia when he was just two years old. He grew up with the aroma of spices both at home in the kitchen, and in the family business, a spice store located in Ryde.
The family are marketing there own blend of spices for various styles of curry. I sampled Jimmy’s Prawn curry and I purchased a selection of the blends so I could recreate some of “The Curryman” magic at home.
In person Jimmy has a huge personality, more so than came across on the Masterchef program. Throughout the demonstrations he was chatting constantly about the show, letting tidbits of gossip out of the bag, and keeping the audience enthralled both in the cooking and the story telling.
I had been curious to know who actually cooks in the family. Seems that Jimmy is not only the Masterchef of the family, he is the only chef in the Seervai household. He said his wife has cooked about five meals in the time they have been together, occasionally she will make the announcement that she will cook, but Jimmy will come home only to find that the meal had not eventuated.
At that point in the story telling he would stop cooking and look over the audience heads and say, “oh no, I think she may be here…. I feel that death stare”
As he was speaking the rice was being put on to cook, and the Paratha’s were getting underway.
Jimmy’s assistant Harvinder
He told a story of coming home from work with a leg of lamb and announcing to the wife. “I’m going to make lamb for dinner tonight.” He then went into detail about all the delicious things he would do with the lamb. Now I would suspect the usual response for most wives would be, terrific, thanks sweetheart. Jimmy said “not my wife, her response was, but I don’t feel like lamb”. There were laughs all round, and then more laughs when Jimmy check again to see that his wife hadn’t yet arrived at the festival.
Not all the jokes were at the expense of his lovely wife. There were stories about mishaps on the Masterchef show, jokes about Indians v’s Australian cricket, it just kept coming and the audience appreciated the sense of humour whilst they salivated at the gorgeous aromas.
So here it is Jimmys Prawn Curry check out the family spice blends.
Jimmy’s Prawn Curry
Serves: 6 – 8 (or closer to 200 if you are doing a cooking demo)
1 kilo green prawns
600 ml coconut milk
300ml of fish stock
20gms palm Sugar
1 tsp fish sauce
1 tbsp spoons soy sauce
5 whole dried Kashmiri chillies (mild)
1 bunch fresh coriander
¼ Tsp tamarind (block – found in Indian Shops)
2 tsp sea salt
2 large tomatoes
50 ml of mild peanut oil
1 fresh lemon juice
2 large brown onions
4 cloves garlic
1 stick lemon grass
1 bunch of coriander roots
1 small knob of fresh turmeric
6 lime leaves
2 small red chillies
4 large green chillies
1 very large bulb ginger
1 small bulb galangal
7 curry leaves
3 1/2 tablespoons of Jimmys Special blend curry
¼ cup water
Roughly chop all the ingredients for the curry paste.
In a large frying pan over a low to moderate heat add the curry paste ingredient and oil. Fry until a slight brown colour is reached.
At this stage Jimmy told another story which I particularly wanted to share because it highlighted to me the feeling of community that is Woolgoolga, and what I see as some of our non urban appeal as a town.
Jimmy telling the story about the missing ingredients
Jimmy commented that he always tries to buy local produce for these types of demonstrations. He had been out sourcing ingredients at local stores only to find he was having difficulty locating some vital ingredients such as lemon grass, curry leaves, okra. In desperation he said to a store owner. “Why can’t I locate these items?” the store owner answered, “because there is no need to stock them, everyone just grows their own.”
When I moved here from Sydney I had the same problem. I would complain to anyone who would listen “How can they not stock…” Now I find that I may not grow a particular item myself, but I always know who does, and I get it fresh out of the garden.
Seems Jimmy was privy to the same hospitality. Before the cooking demonstration a lady brought the remaining items Jimmy had needed for his dishes from her garden.
Yesterday I noticed bananas were $12 per kilo in the supermarket. Naturally I couldn’t justify the purchase. When I got home I found a large hand of locally grown banana’s on my doorstep.
Back to the recipe, add the chopped tomatoes, dried chili, chopped fresh chili and half the coriander, allow the dish to cook down further.
Now did I mention the Seervai family has their own blend of spices on the market?? The next step is to combine the “Jimmy’s Curry Spice” with water to form a paste. Add the paste to the frying pan, allow it to cook whilst stirring occasionally.
Pour 300mls coconut milk, fish stock, palm sugar, tamarind, fish sauce and soy sauce. Reduce the heat to a low simmer and cook the curry until the mixture starts to thicken slightly.
Jimmy hamming it up for the camera & entertaining the audience
Add the peeled and prepared prawns and cook until the prawns are just coloured.
Squeeze the juice if a lemon into the curry and add the remaining coconut milk and chopped coriander just prior to serving.
Serve with rice and paratha.
For more recipes from Jimmy http://www.jimmysspicekitchen.com.au/
Now pretending I am a Masterchef judge… the presentation may not have been quite up to Masterchef standards, given the paper plates and plastic utensils… just joking!
I didn’t hear a single complaint as everyone lined up to sample “the curry mans” dish. I would have liked to get a final image of the Prawn curry but as the masses swarmed I quickly retreated to safety.