Prawn ahkni

Every year when my  mother springs the house from top to bottom she makes me clean out and use all the meat in the freezer before our annual prayers.

This year was the same, she gave me a months’ notice to get my butt into gear and start using every last piece of meat in that freezer.

That is how I came upon a pack of frozen prawns, those prawns eyes just staring back at me, willing me to look them in the eyes and give me night mares for ever and ever amen.

I was reading the Sydow sister recipe book, when I came across a recipe for prawn akhni and I knew I just had to make it. The last time I tasted akhni was when I was still in preschool , actually that was the first and last time I ate akhni.

So I was super excited to try it out, one bite and I was hooked.

Of course it wouldn’t be my cooking if there was no oopsie in the kitchen.

The original recipe stated that 2 tsp of turmeric should be used. When I copied the recipe down for myself I accidently wrote down 2 tbsp and as you can only imagine how everything turned out after that mishap.

Every and I mean everything was yellow. Two days later and my hands are still yellow.

My family was complaining left right and center that they could taste turmeric and that everything they were touching was now turning yellow, my response to them was simple.

In our culture we use turmeric to cleanse things so I was just doing them a favour and cleansing them inside and out before the fast started.

They were not happy people at all.


  • 650g x basmati rice.
  • ¼ x cup oil.
  • 2 x onions, finely chopped.
  • 1 x green pepper, deseeded and thinly sliced.
  • 1 x red pepper, deseeded and thinly sliced.
  • 1 x yellow pepper, deseeded and thinly sliced.
  • Salt
  • 3 x chillies, finely chopped.
  • 3 x cardamom pods.
  • 5 x cinnamon sticks.
  • 2 x tsp cumin seeds.
  • 4 x cloves garlic, finely chopped.
  • 2 x tbsp. masala.
  • 2 x tbsp. paprika.
  • 2 x tsp turmeric powder.
  • 30 x large prawns, cleaned and deveined.
  • 3 x tbsp. butter.
  • Freshly chopped coriander to garnish


  • In a pot, boil the rice with salt and ½ x tsp turmeric powder till cooked.
  • Drain, rinse and set aside.
  • In a pot.
  • Heat the oil.
  • Add the onion, chillies, peppers, salt and all the whole spices.
  • Saute till the onions are soft.
  • Add the garlic, ground spices and ½ x cup water.
  • Braise for a couple of minutes.
  • Add the prawns and butter and toss to coat with the sauce.
  • Allow the prawns to change colour.
  • Add the rice and make sure that all the prawns are covered by the rice.
  • Cook for 15 minutes, without stirring.
  • After the time is up, give it a good stir.
  • Garnish with the coriander.

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