Indian Prawn Curry recipe

Indian curry prawns are popular in most regions of India. There are numerous delectable prawn curry recipes, as they vary depending on the landscape and climate of the area where the produce is grown. Prawn curries come in various colours and have remarkably distinct flavour profiles.

Thick curry sauces are used to make most prawn curries. They are based around tempering spices and sautéed onions. The spice combination and method for sauces create the difference in each type of regional prawn curry.

Regional Prawn Curry

Every curry has its flavour profile and uses different ingredients. For example, an Eastern prawn curry will use a combination of Panch Phoron or Pancha Phutana. It is a five-spice blend of fenugreek, nigella, cumin, black mustard, and fennel. On the other hand, a Southern variety uses freshly grated coconut. This prawn curry with coconut milk and tamarind has its own unique taste.

Even the cooking oil will vary from region to region. In the southern states, coconut oil is used, whilst mustard seed oil is preferred in the Bengal region. Popular Indian prawn curries are from the Kerala, Goa, and Bengal regions. Other areas, such as Gujarat and Punjab, have wonderful tomato-based prawn curries.

Northern, Spicy Indian Prawn Curry Recipe

This prawn curry is based on the northern Indian flavours of richly spiced tomato sauce with layers of taste from onion and garam masala and only takes around 30 minutes to cook. It is a delicious, homemade, authentic Indian masala curry with prawns. That means it uses regional spicing and no curry powder.

Since the prawns are cooked in a light, fresh tomato masala sauce, not only is this a healthy prawn curry, but it is also a cheaper and quicker alternative than your local Indian takeout. It’s rather extravagant in taste, yet it is an easy prawn curry recipe made with readily available kitchen ingredients. 

Masala prawn curry is great to serve with plain basmati rice or Indian bread such as naan, paratha or chapattis. Cooking the prawns with tails on is a traditional way to make this curry which will add richness and an extra sweet depth of flavour to the curry.

Know Your Prawns

fresh prawns

In the UK, we consume a variety of prawn types. Coldwater prawns tend to be sweet and tender and are wild-caught. This prawn type is used frequently in cold dishes like sandwiches, legendary prawn cocktails, and salad dishes. Prawns used in curries and stir-fries are, on the whole, farmed and larger.

Prawns are referred to as Jhinga, Kolambi or Chingri in different regions of India and, more recently and often, as shrimp as referred to notably in America. King prawns work best. However, you can also use medium or small prawns instead. For the best prawn curry recipe, use fresh prawns. You can also use frozen prawns if you like, but allow them to defrost before cooking and following this recipe. If using pre-cooked prawns, reduce the cooking time by 2 minutes. Do not overcook the masala prawns, as they will become rubbery and chewy.

An authentic prawn curry Indian recipe will often have tails and shells. Choosing prawns with shells and tails allows the curry sauce to take on a more robust prawn flavour.

Nutrition Information

Prawns are a total protein, which is good for the body to function properly. 100 grams of prawns contains about 25 grams of protein, approximately the same as a similar amount of beef and chicken. Prawns are also extremely low in calories; the same 100 grams of prawns contain only about 115 calories, whereas chicken contains about twice as much and beef three times as much.

Prawns are a great source of vitamins as they include B-6 and B-12, which help the body produce energy, build muscle, and replenish red blood cells. They also contain significant amounts of iron.

Very often, prawns are classed as high-cholesterol food and are often advised to avoid consuming them regularly. Prawns contain a high amount of omega 3 acids than omega 6. Studies have shown that foods with high amounts of Omega 3 are associated with a reduced risk of heart attacks and lower blood pressure. The type of cholesterol contained in prawns is vital for a healthy diet.

Customise Your Curry


If you like, customise your prawn curry with vegetables by adding fine green beans, pre-cooked potatoes, sweetcorn, peppers, or any other vegetables you may have. It will add another layer of flavour, texture, and an abundance of colour to the masala prawns. Great, too, for feeding the whole family and other larger groups. Reheat leftover prawn masala with added chopped vegetables and serve with quinoa for a quick, healthy lunch, served with a garnish of coriander.


Grated coconut creates a rich, creamy sauce. You can make a lightly creamy and equally delicious prawn curry by adding coconut milk. Alternatively, if you don’t have fresh coconut, you can add a tablespoon of coconut cream.


To create a milder prawn curry recipe, leave out green chilli and make the curry with only ½ tsp of garam masala. Add more green chillies to taste, or sprinkle finely sliced fresh green chillies on the curry if you like more heat. If you can’t get fresh chillies, you can use red chilli powder.

Add Dhana Jeera. It is a combination of ground coriander and ground cumin seeds. Many shops and online Asian stores sell this spice mixture.

Add curry leaves to create an aromatic curry prawn dish. If you can’t find curry leaves, substitute them with a zingy zest of lemon or lime. You can even serve this curry recipe with fragrant rice by adding curry leaves.

Serve When Entertaining Guests

This prawn masala curry is light and delicious. For a more indulgent curry for such occasions as a dinner party replacing the oil with ghee is fabulous with rich buttery flavours. You can create the prawn masala in advance. And when entertaining, reheat the prawn masala and add the prawns.


The prawn masala curry can be refrigerated in an airtight container for 3-4 days. Using fresh raw king prawns means you can freeze leftovers or cook an extra batch to freeze.

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Indian Prawn Curry recipe

Indian Prawn Curry

  • Author: Judith Hughes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x


Impress your family and friends with authentic Indian cuisine. This prawn curry recipe is fabulous and easy to make, with maximum flavour, minimum effort and even less cooking skills! It’s absolutely delicious and will make you want to come back for seconds. It’s a definite keeper, so let’s get cooking and start learning how to make prawn curry.



4 tbsp sunflower oil

2 cassia bark (4cm length sticks)

4 whole cloves

400g finely chopped onions

2tsp/15g fresh garlic, minced/grated

1tsp/10g fresh green chillies, minced/finely chopped

¼ tsp ground turmeric powder

1 tsp ground cumin powder

1 tsp ground coriander powder

1 tsp garam masala

1 can chopped, tinned tomatoes

2 tbsp tomato puree

½ tsp salt or to taste

4 tbsp chopped coriander with stalks

900g approx. (78 each) raw king prawns with tails, deveined

200mls of water
Prawn Curry Ingredients


1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan on medium heat.

2. Add the cassia bark and whole cloves to the hot oil and allow all the spices to sizzle for about 20 seconds until the spices become fragrant and darker in colour. This method releases the flavours from the whole spices and infuses the oil.

3. Reduce the heat to medium and add the onions. Fry them for around 10 minutes or until golden brown and lightly caramelised. Make sure to stir the onions frequently, preventing the onions from burning and sticking.

4. Add the fresh minced green chilli and garlic, continuously stirring and cooking for a minute or so.

5. Add the ground cumin, turmeric, coriander powder, garam masala and salt. Cook for about a minute or so while continuously stirring.

6. Pour in canned chopped tomatoes (feel free to use fresh chopped tomatoes) and tomato puree along with half of the chopped coriander leaves and all the coriander stalks.

7. Cook the spicy masala prawn curry sauce over moderate heat for around 15 minutes until the curry sauce releases oil to the surface.

8. Stir the curry sauce every few minutes as the spiced gravy thickens.

9. Add the prawns into the spiced sauce, mixing well and making sure each prawn is coated with sauce.

Masala with serving spoon

10. Simmer on low heat for about 2 minutes until prawns just turn pink.

11. Add water to slightly thin the sauce but not watery.

12. Bring to a boil, then simmer gently for 5 minutes, until the prawns are cooked.

13. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

14. Garnish with freshly chopped coriander and serve with adding a wedge of lemon with your choice of plain rice or Indian bread.

curry top view

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Category: Main
  • Cuisine: Indian


  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 274.79kcal
  • Sugar: 5.75g
  • Sodium: 1001.3mg
  • Fat: 15.98g
  • Carbohydrates: 17.62g
  • Fiber: 4.55g
  • Protein: 17.67g

Keywords: indian prawn curry recipe

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