Kerala King Prawn and Coconut Curry

Kerala Prawn Curry made in coconut sauce with Malabar tamarind; tasty and easy to cook

Kerala King Prawn and Coconut Curry
Total Time (Mins): 
Prep Time (Mins): 
Cook Time (Mins): 

King Prawn: 200 gm
Onion: 1 large
Shallots: 4-5
Sliced Fresh coconut bits: 2 tbsp
Green Chili: 2 (sliced lengthwise in half)
Curry leaves: 5-6
Fresh Coconut scraped: 20 gm (approx 4-5 tbsp)
Ginger: 17 gm (2 inch)
Garlic Pods: 5
Malabar Tamarind: 3 (soaked)
Turmeric Powder: 1 tsp + ½ tsp
Red Chili Powder: ½ tbsp+ 1 tsp
Coriander Powder: ½ tbsp
Pepper Powder: ½ tbsp + 1 tsp
Fennel powder: 1 tsp
Fenugreek Powder: ¼ tsp
Water: 1 cup (150 ml)
Sugar: 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Earthen vessel (optional)
Coconut Oil: 4 tbsp


Cooking Method: 
Frying, Simmering
Skill Level: 

1) Detach the head from the prawn. Split open the shell from the leg, giving a slight squeeze at the tail and remove the prawn from the body. Make a slit at the back of the prawn to devein it. Pull out the dark black vein/poop shoot and discard it. Add 1 tbsp of salt to the deveined prawns and mix well for 1 min. Wash it with plenty of water. Salt treatment gets rid of the bacteria and sliminess.

2) Add ½ tsp of turmeric powder, 1 tsp of red chili powder and 1 tsp of black pepper to the prawns and marinate for half hour

3) Grind ginger, garlic and onion to a smooth paste without adding water. Transfer to a bowl. Grind scraped coconut to give a coarse mixture without adding any water.

4) Heat oil in an earthen vessel. Add coconut bits. Fry for 3-4 min. Add sliced shallots, green chili and curry leaves. Fry till shallots turns golden brown (approx 5-7 min)

5) Add ginger, garlic and onion mixture. Fry till oil separates from this mixture. Add ground coconut and fry for 3-4 min.

6) Add turmeric powder, fennel powder, red chili powder, coriander powder, pepper powder, salt and sugar. Fry till oil separates (approx 5-6 min).

7) Add Malabar tamarind, water and bring to boil. Simmer for 7-8 min till oil starts appearing at the top of the curry. Add more water if desired.

8)  Add marinated prawns and simmer for 7-8 min till the prawn is cooked.

9) Remove from heat. Keep aside for 30 min for all the flavors to blend and to give the best results.


Common Mistakes: 

Do not overcook the prawns as it turns chewy


1) Cook the spices well in coconut-onion mixture till oil separates. This gives the dish rich texture and adds flavor to the curry. Allow the curry to simmer for 7-8 min before adding prawns.

2) The flavor of the curry intensifies when you keep it for a long duration  


Alternative Ingredients: 

Substitute Malabar tamarind with tamarind pulp (1 tbsp). Add more if desired.


Serve hot with Rice, Bread or Indian naan/roti

Dish Type: