Kerala prawn curry

60 minutes


Keralan prawn curry

  • 250g of prawns, raw, shelled and deveined
  • 1/2 tbsp of ground coriander
  • 1 pinch of turmeric powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 small shallots, English
  • 2 tbsp of oil
  • 1/4 tsp chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 pinch of fenugreek seeds
  • 1 green chilli, slit
  • curry leaves, 4–5
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp ginger, grated
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced
  • 1/2 tsp tamarind paste, or gambooge if you can find it
  • 300ml of coconut milk
  • salt, to tatse


Grind together the coriander, chilli, turmeric and pepper powders along with the English shallots to a coarse paste. Keep aside
Heat the oil in a wok, add the mustard seeds and wait for them to splutter
Add the fenugreek seeds followed by green chilli, curry leaves and onions. Sauté until the onions turn a light brown
Throw in the ginger and garlic and continue cooking until the raw smell disappears, say about 2–3 minutes
In goes the ground masala paste. Keep cooking on medium-low heat until the heady aroma of the paste rises. Be careful not to burn the mix, and if you feel it’s charring, then add a teaspoon or so of water and keep stirring at intervals
Stir in the tamarind paste and coconut milk. Season with salt and bring to a gentle boil
Finally, add the prawns, mix them into the gravy, top with a lid and cook on low heat for about 7–8 minutes, or until the prawns are well cooked. It’s very tricky with prawns, because if you over cook them, then they will become rubbery and very unpleasant
Once the gravy becomes thick, remove the curry from the heat and serve hot with some rice and a side of stir-fried vegetables