Prawn curry in a red hot bowl, Visakhapatnam

Contributed by Debasish Roy


Visakhapatnam was an oft repeated name when India was a socialist backyard and Indians were die-hard followers of Soviet propaganda. That small town was smaller than it is now and was a favourite among school children as mentioning it in social studies exams meant easy marks as the great V was a shipyard. Well, now you don’t find people discussing the town so much as there are many more small and medium sized ship yards now including a private sector one belonging to the Adani group.

However, Vishakhapatnam should also be famous for something else: Prawn curry. My last visit was a glide through heaven as every afternoon I used to walk down to the wharf and sit at a small shop with benches and raised benches (the raised ones served as tables) I did not ask for the menu as these places never had one. A short, dark boy would plumb down a metal bowl full of at least half a kilo of prawns swimming in red chilli gravy. Yummm.

I used to take the battered Hindalco spoon and scrape the last morsel out of the bowl in nearly half an hour. Half an hour for half a kilo of prawns, not bad at all…. burrrp.

Those days, Visakhapatnam was a quiet town with very few cigarette stalls. I never smoke so never had a problem. But it was common to see other visitors from the east and the south gasping for a smoke and drowning it all in hot prawn curry. Not a bad way to prevent a bad habit.

– Debasish

Chef at Large Member

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