My late-mama (maternal uncle) used to brighten up a room with his presence and be the life of the party anywhere anytime. Once in a while, he used to get an urge to cook and he'd do it without any masala powder or chilli powders. And the end dish would be really good. Lip smacking, tongue tickling, 'give me more, right now!' - THAT good! Once in a while, I try to make some dish like that - without any masala powders. It can't get any fresher than that (unless ofcourse, you grow your own vegetables!). Here is one such recipe. The hot and spiciness comes from ginger, garlic and green chillies. Lots of them!
Green chillies -4-6 depending on how how hot they are
Garlic - 6 pods
Ginger - 2 inch
Curry leaves - few
Oil - 1-2 tbsp
Salt - to taste
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Lemon juice - 1 tbsp
Heat oil in a thick bottomed pan and add the curry leaves. Add the onions and saute this for a few minutes, till they get soft. You can keep the lid closed and the let the onions cook till they are soft and almost mushy. Add the ground paste and saute for a few more mins. Add the prawns and keep stirring. Add the turmeric and salt after a few mins and close the pan with a lid. After 5 mins, open it and add a sprinkle of water if you need. Keep stirring till the shrimp is cooked. When it is almost dry, add the lemon juice and stir once. Remove from heat. Serve with hot rice or roti.
ETA: A friend of mine made this and said she loved it but couldn't get the same caremelised brown color. I used a cast iron skillet with a cast iron lid, which I think contributed to that rich caramelized color. Or maybe it was the onions, saute'd for a longer time.. It adds a great taste too.