Keralan prawn curry

By Nisha Thomas •

It’s that time of the year when bowls of warm soup and hot curries make their way through to dinner tables. Spicy Keralan prawn curry, rice and a side of sautéed vegetables is Nisha’s idea of comfort food. Discover how to make it.
Chilly evenings call for wholesome curries like these which take less than 30 minutes to prepare, but fills to your heart’s content.
This is a very authentic South Indian curry and some of the ingredients like gambooge for example, may not be familiar to all and for that matter easily available at local stores. It’s used as a souring agent and can be easily replaced with the much more common tamarind paste.
Fresh curry leaves do lend a fabulous taste to the dish, but since it’s not widely available, omitting it is fine. Whatever it is, please don’t use that dried version, which doesn’t do anything to the flavour.
My grand mom used to say this curry tastes even better the next day because all the spices, gravy and masala’s would have caught on to the prawns really well. So if you can resist the urge to finish off the whole thing at one go, keep some aside for the next day and you’ll enjoy it even more.

Keralan Prawn Curry


250 gms raw prawns, shelled and deveined
1/2 tbsp coriander powder
1/4 tsp chilli powder
a pinch of turmeric powder
1/4 tsp pepper powder
2 small English shallots
2 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
a pinch of fenugreek seeds
1 green chilli, slit
A few curry leaves
1/2 cup chopped onions
1/2 tsp grated ginger
6 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced
2 pieces of gambooge washed and soaked in 1/4 cup water (replace with 1/2 tsp tamarind paste, if not available)
11/4 cups coconut milk
Salt to taste

Grind together coriander, chilli, turmeric and pepper powders along with the English shallots to a coarse paste. Keep aside.
Heat oil in a wok and splutter the mustard seeds.
Add the fenugreek seeds followed by green chilli, curry leaves and onions. Sauté till the onions turn a light brown.
Throw in the ginger and garlic and continue cooking till the raw smell disappears, say about 2 to 3 minutes.
In goes the ground masala paste. Keep cooking on medium-low heat till 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 gambooge water (or tamarind paste) and coconut milk. Season with salt and bring to a gentle boil.
Finally, add the prawns, mix it into the gravy, close with a lid and cook on low heat for about 7 to 8 minutes or till 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.

Notes: If you are using cooked prawns, then make sure the gravy becomes thick and only then you add the prawns or else, it could turn chewy. This is a spicy curry, so omit the green chilli to make it milder.

Inspired? For more delicious curry recipes visit Great British Chefs


Looks like a great dish and would have been wonderful to link to Nisha on G+ but she doesn't seem to have a profile. Nisha, please look at the FB, T & G+ counts on this blog and consider setting yourself up a profile ;)
8 October 2013

Nisha Thomas

Nisha is a freelance writer, avid food blogger and wannabe food photographer / stylist with plans to make it big in the food industry some day. When she’s not messing around in her own kitchen she’s busy learning the art of French macaron making with a top chef in London. Nisha also manages PR and social media marketing for the chef and her macaron business.

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