Lisa Ganesh seems to do it all.
Wife to surgeon Ganesh Ramalingam and mother to two young children, she works at G & L Surgical alongside her husband, tends to her family, supervises the building of their new home, all while having an active social life.
The recipe she shares here is one that’s praised by her family and friends for its rich flavours and visual appeal. Adapted with pita bread chips, the prawn tartar papdi chaat recipe is an amalgamate of Indian flavours and one of Lisa’s favourite seafoods.
“I found a good video on the history of this dish and of the chaat spice blend,” says Lisa. “This dish works in the marriage of flavours. Carabinero or scarlet prawns are a luxurious seafood item that is mainly found in the waters surrounding Spain and Morocco. These prawns, which appears scarlet red when raw, have a deep savoury taste. Most people consume these prawns uncooked, but we cook them very lightly to be safe. Poaching lends a springy texture without compromising their true taste. The chaat spice blend and black salt gives the prawns a distinct Indian taste, and we can call it a chaat (since we put the chaat spice blend inside the tartar).”
“Tamarind chutney gives the snack a tang, while the sorghum, a nice healthy alternative to murukku, gives the dish more texture. Instead of a fried puri dough, I use pita bread for the base, as it is lighter, less oily, with a cleaner taste and more bite,” she adds.
She suggests serving as a snack in-between mealtimes. It is best paired with bubbly or a young white made from the Albariño grapes from Rías Baixas. For teetotallers, Lisa recommends having it with a salted lassi or masala chai (her preferred choice).
Ingredients for pita bread base
250g all-purpose flour
4g active dry yeast
A pinch of salt
10g caster sugar
260g lukewarm water
- Add all dry ingredients into a mixing bowl and combine with a spatula.
- Gradually add water in three batches and mix, until a dough comes together.
- Let it rest for 15 minutes covered with a mixing bowl lid. After which, knead until the dough is elastic before shaping it into a ball. Allow the dough to rest for a further 30 minutes, then divide and shape the dough into two balls.
Roll the dough with a rolling pin on a floured surface to a thickness of 3mm. Use a small round cookie cutter to cut the dough into smaller pieces.
- In a hot skillet, toast the small circular dough pieces on each side until lightly browned before flipping.
- Finally, place the slightly-charred pieces of bread on a rack and heat in the oven at 160 degrees Celsius for 2 to 3 minutes or until crisp. Set aside over a wire rack to cool.
Ingredients for prawn tartar papdi chaat
4 pieces of Carabinero prawns, shelled and deveined
1 boiled potato cut to small cubes
2 tablespoons of cucumber cut to small cubes
Chaat masala powder to taste
A sprig of mint
2 tablespoons of yoghurt
Mustard oil to taste
Black salt to taste
A sprinkle of puffed sorghum
A dash of tamarind chutney
- Season the prawns lightly with salt, then poach at 60 degrees Celsius for 3 to 4 minutes or until prawns start to turn opaque but not curled up completely. Remove and chill in a bowl of iced water.
- Dry the prawns and cut them into small cubes
- Julienne the mint leaves and combine with prawns, potatoes, cucumber, yoghurt, chaat marsala, and black salt. Adjust the thickness of the tartar with mustard oil until you get a smooth texture as desired.
- Assemble the snack by smearing some tamarind chutney on the bread. Put some tartar on top and sprinkle with puffed sorghum for a light crunch.
(All images: Lisa Ganesh)