Kerala prawn curry

Prep: 15 mins - 20 mins Cook: 15 mins


Serves 2
Warm up the coldest day with a creamy coconut milk curry - it's got quite a kick!

Nutrition and extra info

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal294
  • fat16g
  • saturates8g
  • carbs8g
  • sugars0g
  • fibre0g
  • protein31g
  • salt2.76g
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  • 2 red chilli split, cut into quarters lengthways and seeded
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 2½ cm piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tbsp vegetable or sunflower oil
    Sunflower oil

    Sunflower oil

    A variety of oils can be used for baking. Sunflower is the one we use most often at Good Food as…

  • 1 tsp black mustard seed
  • ½ tsp fenugreek seeds
    Fenugreek seed

    Fenugreek seed

    fenn-you-greek seed

    A popular seed in Indian cookery, in which it's termed methi, this small, hard, mustard…

  • 14 curry leaf, fresh or dried
  • ½ tsp turmeric



    Turmeric is a fragrant, bright golden-yellow root that is most commonly seen and used dried and…

  • ½ tsp cracked black peppercorns
  • 250g jumbo prawns, leave some with their tails on if you like



    There are thousands of different species of prawn, but tiger, king and North Atlantic are the…

  • 150ml reduced-fat coconut milk

To serve

  • a squeeze of lime



    The same shape, but smaller than…

  • chopped fresh coriander, plus a sprig or two
  • freshly boiled basmati rice


  1. In a food processor, blitz the chillies, onion and ginger with 3 tbsp water into a smoothish paste – you may need to scrape it down the sides.

  2. Heat the oil in a heavy pan or wok. When hot, toss in the mustard and fenugreek seeds, and curry leaves – they’ll crackle and pop – and fry for 10 seconds. Add the onion paste, turn the heat down a tad and cook without colouring for about 5 minutes. Splash in some water if it starts to catch.

  3. Add the turmeric and cracked peppercorns and stir the spices around for a few seconds before tipping in the prawns. Pour in the coconut milk and bring to a simmer, stirring all the time. The milk will take on a yellow colour from the turmeric. Cook for 1 minute until everything’s heated through. Squeeze over some lime, sprinkle with fresh coriander and serve with rice.

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Comments, questions and tips

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Comments (106)

rotterdam's picture

Absolutely superb, I have made this a few times, the only negative is that you have the aroma in your house for a few days!

kcanavan's picture


Made it to the recipe this time and it was great. Will add a little fresh tomato next time to give it some extra acidity.

Thanks Roopa!!

parisiansummer's picture

Loved this recipe. Like my curries hot so substituted 2 habaneros for the 2 red chillies. With the combination of the coconut milk it was delicious and warming. Will definitely make again.

shelleybobbins's picture

Absolutely delicious, have also made with 1 tsp harissa paste and 2 tbsp tandoori paste to substitute for the chillies and ginger as i ran out of fresh ginger and only habanero chillies left growing in the garden, stuck exactly to rest of recipe and it worked a treat...

soussweet's picture

Chris, the fenugreek powder could be the problem as it has a bitter flavour. Try 1/4th of a teaspoon next time. Powder should be added to the coconut milk not the oil.
Also make sure you drop in the black mustard seeds when the oil is really hot and the seeds should crackle else they go bitter.
Use curry leaves, they are important.
Avoid the red chillies, I used half a deseeded green chilli instead of red chilies and it worked well. If you like it spicier or need some colour, red chilli powder can also be added to coconut milk (in addition to green chilli).
Taste while you cook, increase quantity of coconut milk if still seeming bitter. Good luck!

lowstar99's picture

Please can someone help me! I have tried this twice and everytime it has been so bitter it is almost inedible!

First time I thought it was curry leaves so second time i traded for Kafir lime leaves but that wasnt the problem. Could it be that I am using Fenugreek powder (1/2 teaspoon) instead of leaves? Do any of the spices go bitter with age? Black mustard seeds for example??

It looks and smells fantastic, I reduced the chilli slightly second time round!!

Just wish it tasted as good as it looks!! Very confused!!

foodiefan1's picture

Have been looking forward to cooking this one for a while. I sourced all the ingrediants (Barts do fenugreek and black mustard seeds) which I found in Waitrose and have only seen in Waitrose. I've got to say I found this too fiery for such lovely delicate prawns. Yes it was authentic in taste, but I won't be doing this one again. And my house now smells of curry leaves!!!!! Not good!!

madeleine79's picture

Really loved it. Very subtle, hardly any heat. Everyone loved it but the house stank for days afterwards!

annabarry's picture

I loved it. Just the right amount of heat and not too heavy yet very satisfying.

philscholes's picture

Fantastic authentic tasting curry. Don't worry about the crushed pepper but definitely get curry leaves, they are essential to the character of the dish.

Outstanding and really easy

iambatman's picture

After all the positive reviews, I thought I would try this and it was surprisingly bland! It was quick and easy though, and after adding heaps more other spices and salts (cumin, curry powder, garam masala, veg stock and some others I had on hand but can't remember) it was super yummy!

hellsheaven's picture

This is nice and quick and easy to do. For anyone having trouble getting hold of the spices - ehad to waitrose, they have a fantastic selection there

germania's picture

A quick easy and delicious recipe. Accidentally picked up a bag of kaffir lime leaves instead of the curry leaves from the asian grocer, but used them anyway and it still tasted fine.

Will definitely be making this one again. I have to, as the bag of black mustard seeds was so large (but still dirt cheap) that I don't want to waste them!!

mrsi2b's picture

This was very tasty but very hot! I'll make it again but I'll only use one chilli next time - one of my dinner guests complained that it was hot it made her ears ache!

tornadruhn's picture

Enjoyed this last night. Herself found it too hot (she always thinks thy're too hot). I found it a bit watery, so may use full-fat milk or coconut cream next time. Recommended.

lucy-iw's picture

Great recipe!
I did it slightly differently, adding the coconut milk before the prawns, the can be left if being cooked in advance without having to reheat/over cook the prawns.
Also good with desiccated coconut added before the milk.
Would advise not to double/triple (etc.) the curry leaves or the mustard seeds (but less so the the leaves) - either stick to single amount or add a few more, as this can make it taste a bit 'sour'.

susiem's picture

I absolutely loved this! I did substitute Kafir lime leaves for curry leaves and was very pleased with the result. 2-3 leaves is plenty. Am now keen to find more Kerala recipes.

lelliott1323's picture

Made this for "hubby" tonight as it was such a cold evening! It was delicious, would definately make this again - it was so quick and easy.

clonjess's picture

is it cooked or raw prawns that you use?

gr1jase's picture

Chances are you are either under toasting or over toasting your spices. It's quite important to fry your seeds lightly.


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