prawn curry

Prawn Curry (Prawn Masala)

By Swasthi on August 9, 2022, Comments, Jump to Recipe

Prawn Curry is a simple delicious & flavorful dish made with fresh prawns, onions, tomatoes & ground spices. It is also known as Prawn Masala & pairs well with steamed rice, Chapati, Roti or Plain Parathas. Indian cuisine is very diverse and most foods are made in their regional style with locally available ingredients. This prawn curry has always been a winner at home for its simplicity and delicious taste.

prawn curry

Each region makes curry in a different style with different locally grown or available ingredients. Different ingredients like coconut, coconut milk, kokum, tamarind, red chilies, whole spices, poppy seeds etc are used depending on the region.

This prawn curry is made with the most basic ingredients that most of us have in the pantry. It never fails to surprise me & my guests at how superb it tastes every time.

The recipe shared here yields a restaurant style gravy. It is a generic one and is not made in any regional style. You can also check this Andhra style royyala iguru, it is a simple prawn curry made without tomato or coconut.

More similar recipes
Shrimp Tikka Masala
Spicy prawns fry
Prawn biryani
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Prawn pulao
Spicy prawns pakora

Please scroll down to the recipe card to find the quantities of ingredients.


1. Fry onions in hot oil till they turn pink or golden. Then fry ginger garlic paste till the raw smell goes away.

golden fried onions

2. Add chopped tomatoes, sprinkle salt and turmeric. Fry till the mixture turns mushy & break down completely.

frying chopped tomatoes to make

3. Add garam masala, coriander powder, red chili powder and grated coconut. I used frozen coconut. you can also replace coconut with cashews nuts.

addition of spice powders coconut for prawn curry recipe

4. Fry on a medium heat till the mixture is nicely roasted, for about 3 to 5 minutes. Take care not to burn. To give a restaurant gravy taste and texture, we need to cool this and blend. You can also continue to cook the curry without blending. Just skip the next 2 steps and follow from step 7.

roasting coconut garam masala

5. When it cools down blend with ¾ cup water to smooth. I pour ice cold water to the blender. Then I add the hot mix and blend to cut down the cooling time. Set this aside.

blend masala in a jar to smooth

How to make Prawn Curry

6. Heat the same pan. Add oil and heat up. Next add cumin, green chilli and garlic. Wait till the garlic is lightly roasted then add curry leaves. Fry till crispy.

frying garlic in a pan for tempering prawn curry

7. Pour the onion tomato mixture and more water or coconut milk as needed. Cook until the gravy thickens and traces of oil are seen on top. Reduce the heat completely, and add the prawns. Simmer just until they swirl up to “C” shape, meaning they are fully cooked.

Overcooking will make them hard. Switch off the stove. Sprinkle chopped coriander leaves.

addition of ground onion coconut masala

Optional : Alternately: You can also saute the prawns first till they turn pink, for about 2 minutes. Then add to the gravy. This helps to remove the raw flavor of prawns.

sauteing prawns for 2 minutes to prepare prawn curry recipe

Serve with fragrant rice or roti, naan or chapathi. Ghee rice & Jeera rice is a good choice to enjoy this prawn curry.

prawn curry recipe

Tips to make best prawn curry

1. The base of this prawn masala is made by frying the onions, ginger garlic & tomatoes along with the spice powders until aromatic. This is what elevates the flavor of the gravy.

Roast these ingredients very well to get a unique flavor.

2. I have used tiger prawns. You can use any variety even the small ones. Just make sure you devein, clean & rinse them well before using in the recipe.

3. The prawn curry is made using a small amount of fresh coconut. If you do not have that replace it with cashew nuts.

4. For a creamy and rich taste, you can pour little coconut milk towards the end of making the curry. You can use either canned coconut milk or fresh homemade coconut milk. If you prefer to make your own their just blend a cup of fresh coconut with half cup of water. Filter it and use in the recipe.

5. The roasted onion tomato masala is blended to give a restaurant style taste & texture. However you can also make the prawn curry without blending the masala. You will just have a chunky prawn curry.

6. Garam masala is a common spice blend used in Indian cuisine. It is available in most Indian grocery stores. If you are not accessible to it, then just replace it with curry powder. But the taste of the curry will be different.

How to choose prawns for curry

  1. Choose prawns that have the shell on as they are fresher.
  2. Avoid buying prawns that have a fishy smell. Fresh prawns do not have any odor or fishy smell.
  3. If buying from the fresh market, look out for prawns on the ice as they are well kept. Avoid prepacked ones unless they are frozen.
  4. When you touch the prawn with shell, it has to be firm. Avoid buying prawns that are slimy & limp as this indicates they are not fresh & are a sign of decay. They will not taste good too.
  5. Look out for the right color of prawn. Fresh prawns are white or grey in color. However brown prawns will be brown in color.
  6. The meat of the prawns should be white without any black spots on them. Black spots begin to appear first on the head and then on the body of the prawns which are an indication of losing the freshness.

Preparing prawns

  1. Discard any spoilt or discolored prawns.
  2. Shell them first by removing the head. legs & tail. Devein them.
  3. Then transfer them to a bowl and pour 2 to 3 cups of cold water. Drain and repeat rinsing them a few times. If using frozen prawns defrost them the same way and avoid thawing or defrosting in microwave or using hot water as the prawns lose their taste and texture.
  4. Rinse each prawn well, drain the water & place them in a bowl.
  5. Use them up immediately to make the prawn curry.

Fresh vs frozen prawns

Most times I use fresh prawns as they are easy accessible here. But if you are using frozen prawns, then defrost them for 20 to 30 mins at room temperature before using.

Devein them and rinse well. Drain and use them in the recipe.

Related Recipes

Recipe Card

prawn curry recipe

Prawn Curry Recipe

Prawn curry is a simple delicious Indian gravy made with fresh prawns, onion, tomatoes & spice powders. Serve it with steamed rice, chapati, naan, parathas or roti.
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For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card

Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Total Time30 minutes

Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )

For masala

  • 1 ½ to 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 large onion chopped or sliced
  • 1 tsp ginger garlic paste or grated or chopped
  • 1 large tomato chopped or pureed
  • 2 tbsps coconut or 10 cashews
  • 1/8 tsp turmeric or haldi
  • ½ to ¾ tsp red chili powder
  • ½ tsp coriander powder
  • ½ tsp garam masala

Other ingredients for prawn curry

  • ¼ tsp cumin
  • 1 green chilli chopped or slit
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • 1 garlic clove chopped – optional
  • 250 grams prawns
  • 1 ¼ cup water or 1 cup water + ¼ cup coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp coriander leaves Chopped



  • Devein and wash the prawns well with cold water. Drain the water completely and set aside.
  • Pour ¾ tbsp oil to a pan and fry onions till transparent. Then add ginger garlic paste and fry till the raw smell disappears.
  • Add tomatoes, salt and turmeric. Then fry till the tomatoes turn mushy. 
  • Next add red chili powder, garam masala, coriander powder and then the coconut. Fry everything well for about 3 to 5 minutes without burning. 
  • Cool this and blend with ¾ water to a smooth puree. To speed up the process you can use ice cold water to blend the hot mix. Set this aside.

How to make prawn curry

  • Pour another ¾ tbsp oil to the pan and heat up.  
  • Add cumin, green chilli and garlic.
  • When the garlic is lightly roasted add curry leaves and saute till they turn crisp.
  • Pour the ground mixture and add water or coconut milk only if needed.
  • Bring the gravy to a boil and cook on a medium flame until the gravy thickens and you see traces of oil on top.
  • Reduce the heat completely and then add the prawns.
  • Cook just until they swirl up to C shape. Or Alternately you can also saute the prawns in a small pan just for about 2 minutes and add to the gravy.
  • Do not overcook they turn hard. Taste the gravy and add more salt if needed.
  • Garnish with coriander leaves. 
  • Serve prawn curry with any fragrant rice, biryani or roti, naan or chapathi.

Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.

For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.

NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)

Nutrition Facts
Prawn Curry Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 285 Calories from Fat 117
% Daily Value*
Fat 13g20%
Saturated Fat 2g13%
Cholesterol 315mg105%
Sodium 1075mg47%
Potassium 321mg9%
Carbohydrates 11g4%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 4g4%
Protein 27g54%
Vitamin A 455IU9%
Vitamin C 46.7mg57%
Calcium 221mg22%
Iron 4mg22%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tried this recipe?Mention @SwasthisRecipes or tag #swasthisrecipes!

© Swasthi’s Recipes

prawn curry
Prawn Curry (Prawn Masala)

About Swasthi

I’m Swasthi Shreekanth, the recipe developer, food photographer & food writer behind Swasthi’s Recipes. My aim is to help you cook great Indian food with my time-tested recipes. After 2 decades of experience in practical Indian cooking I started this blog to help people cook better & more often at home. Whether you are a novice or an experienced cook I am sure Swasthi’s Recipes will assist you to enhance your cooking skills. More about me

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5 stars
recipe is good, i tried. taste yummy.

5 stars
This prawn curry recipe was the best that I have ever tasted. Either at home or eating out! Absolutely suburb recipe Swasthi. Restaurant quality. Thank you so much.

5 stars
All your recipies are good 😊 my daughter likes it

5 stars
Big fan of you!!!All your recipes are excellent, they never fail?

5 stars
I was out of coriander powder midway cooking and substituted home made kulambu masala (which has mainly coriander) for it. Must say, I’ve never tasted anything this tasty in a long time. Thank you, this recipe is timeless and going to stay with me for a long time.

5 stars
This recipe is brilliant. I’d run out of curry leaves, but used fresh kaffir lime leaves from my daughter’s plant instead. It was wonderfully fragrant. Can’t wait to try it with curry leaves. I intend to try many of your other recipes. Thank you.

I have a question – when I scale the recipe to double/triple it, the number of cashews didn’t change. Is that right or an error? If I triple the recipe, do I use 30 cashews? thanks in advance for responding :).

5 stars
Now I cook like a chef, salute to the Author.

5 stars
Thank you ?
The recipient turned out really nice

5 stars
Fabulous! I didn’t have coconut or cashews so used 1 tbsp ground almonds. Restaurant quality curry – mwah! 5 stars from me

when you say substitute cashews- do you mean raw? Do you chop them or grind them?

Swasthi can I use passata instead of fresh tomatoes?

5 stars
Wowzers – this is SO delicious!! Easy to make, and so full of flavour! Thank you so much for sharing the recipe!!!!! Love love love

Hi how do I make it more saucy please? Thanks

5 stars
Amazing recipes both veg and non veg. Your ingredients are available in every kitchen you rock dear Swasthi

5 stars
I like all your recipes ..they’re simple ang easy to follow

5 stars
Fantastic thank you

5 stars
This has become my signature dish. Absolutely delicious. Thank you!!!

5 stars
Just blended the masala and it made all the difference! Daughter insisted that I share my review as she simply loved the way the prawns curry turned out ? I always follow your recipes, Swathi. Simple to make with a fantastic taste. Thank you ?

When you say pour the ground mixture – are you referring to the puréed mixture? And with the coconut, is it desiccated coconut? Thanks!

5 stars
Love all your recipes Swasthi! I have never left a feedback before because I had only tried one or two but now after trying a variety of recipes, including this one, I have to say you have the easiest and tastiest recipes.
Thank you very much for sharing this. I tried following you on Instagram, but you don’t post recipes there – but you are simply brilliant!
Thank you so much!