Food & wine

Chilli prawn puffs with green coconut relish

Much as I love turkey and the crunchy goose-fat potatoes, pigs in blankets and bread sauce it brings with it, the incurable glutton in me can't help wondering, even as I order the bird, what they're eating in places where Christmas doesn't always mean a big roast.

Chilli prawn header

This menu, from the tropical beaches of Goa on India's south-west coast, a former Portuguese colony with a large Catholic population, should bring some much-needed warmth to your festive celebrations, whether you have it on the big day, or serve it on Christmas or New Year's Eve instead. Best of all, it can all be made in advance. Perfect for stress-free entertaining, leaving you more time to enjoy yourself – and perhaps a glass of wine or two as well. It is Christmas after all.

These spicy little puffs are a popular snack in Goa, often in the form of small pies – my more delicate triangles make a great starter or canape, but feel free to use a fairy cake tin if you prefer. Like the relish, they can be made ahead and then glazed and baked just before serving. (Those short of time should know they're also pretty good with mango chutney, or a quick dip of yoghurt mixed with a pinch of salt and some more chopped coriander.)

Makes 12


  • 2 tbsp neutral or coconut oil
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp finely grated ginger
  • 1 small green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1/4 tsp fine salt
  • 225g raw peeled prawns, defrosted if necessary and finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped coriander
  • 400g puff pastry
  • 1 egg, beaten with a splash of milk or water

For the relish (optional)

80g unsweetened desiccated coconut
100g fresh coriander
1-2 small green chillis, deseeded
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
Juice of 3 limes

Felicity Cloake

Guest Writer

Felicity Cloake

Felicity Cloake is an award-winning writer specialising in food and drink and has a regular column with The Guardian.

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