Isso Thel Dhala is a super simple and quick Sri Lankan dish, often translated as Devilled Prawns. It is traditionally very spicy but you can turn down the heat by reducing the quantity of chilli paste/powder or even omitting it completely.
Isso Thel Dhala
a dozen or so king prawns per person
1 clove garlic
a drizzle of olive oil
1/2 can of cherry tomatoes (or use fresh)
a squeeze of tomato paste
a squeeze of chilli paste
1 tsp shrimp paste (optional)
1tsp smoked paprika
You can use whole prawns but I always peel them so they're easier to eat. This is the only time-consuming part of the recipe. Gently fry the onion and garlic then toss in the prawns. (Mine were pre-cooked so just needed reheating.)
Add the cherry tomatoes - mine were tinned so already had a lot of juice with them. If using fresh, you might need to add extra water/tomato puree.
Squeeze in some tomato paste and chilli paste, then stir in the shrimp paste if using - go easy (and hold your nose !), it is very strong so a little goes a long way. Add the paprika and, if not using shrimp paste, you might need a pinch of salt.
Heat, stirring, for a few minutes for the tomatoes to soften and the flavours to mingle. Taste and adjust the seasoning-spice level then serve with rice.
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Fancy trying some other Sri Lankan recipes? How about Chicken Biryani, Crispy Medu Vada-style, Lentil Fritters, Egg Hoppers, Kadai Chicken (or Tofu) and Payasam ?