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Kerala Prawn Curry

Kerala prawn curry

This Kerala prawn curry is a celebration of fresh, local, in season seafood. The balance of flavours is exquisite. It’s tangy from the pot tamarind, creamy from the coconut milk, and distinctly hot from the moderate use of bird’s eye chillies.

I am in Kerala enjoying the Southwest monsoon. It is a great time of the year to watch the rains. There is nothing like enjoying some hot food while it’s raining outside. A cup of tea with some freshly fried “parippu vada” (lentil fritters) is my favourite snack combo when I am in this part of the world. If it is lunchtime, a steaming plate of rice with some hot prawn curry is my favourite comfort food.

Kerala Prawn Curry
Kerala Prawn Curry

About this Kerala prawn curry

This delicious Kerala prawn curry is a traditional recipe from my mom-in-law’s kitchen. The unique flavours of this prawn curry are from some of the popular and easily available ingredients here – grated coconut, coconut milk, kudampuli (pot tamarind or Malabar tamarind), kanthari mulaku (Piri Piri or bird’s eye chillies) and coconut oil.

Cleaned and deveined prawns are marinated in a paste of ginger, bird’s eye chillies, curry leaves, shallots, and coconut oil. They are then cooked with a coarse paste of grated coconut and select spices in thin coconut milk. The coarsely ground paste adds to the texture and will ensure that the curry won’t become too watery. The thick coconut milk added towards the end of the cooking adds a bit of creaminess to the curry. A garnish of fried shallots and curry leaves completes this Kerala prawn curry.

This Kerala prawn curry recipe was developed in association with InSeasonFish‘s #InSeasonFishChallenge to create a unique dish using only seafood that is in season now. Starting this World Oceans Day, diversify your seafood choices and choose fish that’s InSeason.

Kerala Prawn Curry - Enjoyed best with some steaming rice
Kerala Prawn Curry – Enjoyed best with some steaming rice

Indian White Prawn

Indian White Prawn was my InSeason choice for the #InSeasonFishChallenge. They have a firm texture with a mild flavour.Β The Indian White Prawn is one of the many prawns in Indian coastal waters. Found up to a depth of 90 meters, it lives on sandy or muddy bottoms in the sea and has a lifespan of 18 months. They can grow up to 20 centimetres and weigh up to 25 grams. The larvae and juveniles live in estuaries. Once they become sub-adults, they go back into the sea. It is also produced by aquaculture.

The Indian White Prawn is generally white in colour with tinges of grey or pink. They can be purchased fresh on both the East and West coasts of India. Season to avoid is Feb – May & Oct – Nov and InSeason the rest of the year.

If you like this Kerala prawn curry recipe, don’t forget to check out the following prawn recipes as well.

Kerala Prawn Curry
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5 from 1 vote

Kerala Prawn Curry

This Kerala prawn curry is a celebration of fresh, in season seafood. It's tangy from the pot tamarind, creamy from the coconut milk, and mildly hot from the bird's eye chillies.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Main Course, Main Dish, Side Dish
Cuisine: Kerala
Servings: 4 people


  • 500 grams Indian white prawn about 350 grams after cleaning and deveining
  • 1/2 cup shallots chopped
  • 1 inch ginger chopped
  • 6-7 bird's eye chillies you can use regular green chillies based on availability
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • 2 1/2 cups grated coconut 1/2 coconut grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 2 pieces pot tamarind kudampuli
  • salt

for garnish

  • 1/4 cup shallots
  • 2-3 sprigs curry leaves
  • 3 tablespoon coconut oil


  • Clean the prawns and devein them.
    Indian White Prawns
  • Take half of a coconut and grate it.
    Kerala Prawn Curry Recipe Step - Grated Coconut
  • Wash and soak the pot tamarind pieces in water and keep them aside.
  • Blitz three tablespoons of grated coconut with turmeric powder, coriander powder, and chilli powder to a coarse paste.
    Kerala Prawn Curry Recipe Step - Grated coconut ground to a coarse paste
  • Grind the ginger, green chillies, curry leaves, and shallots to a thick paste.
    Kerala Prawn Curry Recipe Step - Ginger, kanthari mulakku, and shallots for the marinade
  • Add salt and mix well.
  • Transfer the ground mixture and the cleaned prawns in a mixing bowl. Add 1/2 tablespoon oil.
  • Combine well to get the prawns coated uniformly in the marinade. Let it marinate for 10-15 minutes.
  • Use the remaining grated coconut and prepare first and second extracts of coconut milk.
    Kerala Prawn Curry Recipe Step - First and second extracts of coconut milk
  • In a clay pot (or a pan), add the marinated prawns, the ground coconut paste, the soaked pot tamarind, 1/2 cup water, and mix well.
    Kerala Prawn Curry Recipe Step - Combining the ingredients before cooking
  • Bring to boil on a low flame.
  • Add the 2nd extract (thin coconut milk), mix well, and bring to boil with the lid closed.
  • Open the lid, reduce a little, and add the 1st extract (thick coconut milk).
  • Mix well. Add more salt if required. Switch off before it reaches the boiling point.
  • In a different pan, heat some oil and temper some thinly sliced shallots.
  • When the shallots start turning golden brown, add the curry leaves and fry for another minute.
  • Switch off. Garnish the prawn curry with the shallots and curry leaves.
  • Serve hot with rice.


  1. 5 stars
    Very good!
    I used tamarind though due to availlibility.
    The fact that no curry powders are used except for the chilli turmeric and corriander makes this curry so light. Will try using raw mango next.

  2. 5 stars
    OMG! Such an awesome curry, and so brilliantly explained.And the pics? Out of this world! πŸ™‚

    • The Take It Easy Chef

      πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚
      Thank you very much, VeeYen!!
      That’s some generous feedback you have shared! πŸ™‚

  3. Usha Devi

    This looks divine! Definitely trying this soon

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