I made these with anka prawns, which I came across when I was shopping at the wet market. Here’s a tip: if you buy seafood from the wet market, it pays to get there early, not just to avoid the crowds, but also because you get your pick of the best.
That said, if you go at off-peak hours during the weekdays, when the stall holders are starting to pack up for the day around noon, you may be able to pick up good bargains too.
My favourite time to go is on rainy days, when few customers venture out and hawkers are more open to giving discounts. My method of selection is simple: if the head is firmly in place and the prawn looks appealing, I will take my chances and go for it.
Finicky customers from the prodding school of thought may disagree with my less-than-thorough method, but I have found that when you treat stallholders and their offerings with respect, they are more than happy to help you pick the best from what they have.
Back to the recipe for curry prawns, to which I added Thai basil leaves. They lend their unique aromatic fragrance to the dish. This was a tip I picked up from a colleague’s wife, who is an excellent cook.
Shallots in the spice mixture help to thicken the gravy, such that I find it unnecessary to use coconut milk. You do not have to use too much oil to fry the spice mixture either.