paNNa upkari can be made with fresh or dried prawns, small fishes or pomfrets too. Sardine paNNa upkari is the best. This time made it dried prawns.
The first time I had dried prawns was at my cousins place. She had made a pulav which was more like ghee rice. And the pulav was served with a prawns paNNa upakri. It was a wonderful combination. Dried prawns have a typical smell, very unpleasant to the beginners.
2 medium onions
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 inch cube tamarind
2 tsp oil
1 cup dried prawns
1 tbsp coconut, optional
Clean the dried prawns. Konkani people usually do like to remove the head and tail of the prawn. That leaves behind only a tiny amount of prawns left behind. You can leave the head and tail intact of you wish to. That will not a difference in the end result. The trimming job can take a good 1 hr hence its good to clean the prawns ahead and store.
Wash the dried prawns in water. Soak it in water for 10-15 minutes. Rub the prawns between fingers, this will wash away any sand particles in the prawns. Rinse till all the sand particles are washed away.
Soak tamarind in half a cup of water. Squeeze out the fibers and keep the pulp ready.
Heat oil in a kadai. Stir in the onions and keep frying till all the onions are turned golden brown. Its very important to get the onions fried evenly to golden brown. Do it on a low flame for a better result.
Add prawns and fry till they turn pink. Add coconut and fry for 5 minutes. Add red chilli powder and fry till its aromatic. Add tamarind pulp and salt. Simmer on low flame till the prawns are cooked.
The dish should not be completely dry. Keep some liquid.
Serve with plain rice or ghee rice or jeera rice.