Keralan Prawn Curry

In contrast to the simple Gujerati style Cauliflower Curry, this Keralan style version uses more spices but is equally simple to make. Coconut is a key ingredient and the potatoes are a good base to add other shellfish. Large chunks of white fish would work well too. I have made it ‘dry’ but you could add a whole tin of coconut milk and make it more soup-like like Dhal.

This recipe would serve 6 adults or 4 greedy ones


  • 2 x 160g packs of cooked prawns
  • 4 large potatoes chopped into squares
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil – I use sunflower
  • 1 tsp small mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp chilli powder 1 small green chilli – de-seeded and cut in half
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 cloves
  • 5 or 6 curry leaves
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cumin and coriander powder
  • 1 tsp tumeric powder
  • 1 tsp minced/crushed garlic
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • Half tin coconut milk – I use the reduced fat version from Barts at Waitrose
  • Zest and juice of half a lemon
  • Handful of chopped coriander for garnish


  • Put the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, green chilli, cinnamon stick, cloves and curry leaves in a small bowl and set aside.
  • Heat the oil in a large pan. It’s ready when a mustard seed fizzles and pops.
  • Now, you may need to use the saucepan lid to protect yourself from the fizzling and spitting as the potatoes hit the oil so now is a good time to grab it!
  • Throw the leaves, seeds and spices from step 1 above into the heated oil. Let them fizzle and pop for about 20 seconds and then quickly add the potatoes.
  • Turn the heat down and add the salt, tumeric, chilli powder, coriander and cumin powder, crushed garlic and ginger and cook out for a minute or so. Try not to stir to much and if you do, use a fork not a wooden spoon (which the spices stick to).
  • Pour over the coconut milk and a cup of water.
  • Give this a quick stir, cover and leave to simmer on a low heat until the potatoes are just tender. Keep an eye on the liquid level during simmering. If the heat is too high, it will get too dry or stick. If it does stick, just add a little more water.
  • Stir in the lemon juice and zest.
  • Add the cooked prawns and stir them in to cover in the spices and coconut sauce. I use a large fish slice and fold from bottom to top so as not to break up the potatoes.
  • Cover the pan and leave to simmer for just a few minutes to warm the prawns through.
  • Garnish with lots of chopped coriander, freshly grated coconut and even chopped fresh tomatoes. Serve with rice or couscous