Chettinad Prawn Curry

Just something I found on the internet today, I wanted a tasty curry that doesn’t use coconut milk (fattening) to use up some of the Tiger prawns I have.  This is definitely a keeper! I have done a variation on this curry,

depending on what I had in the cupboards, and what I felt like it needed after tasting! This is quite hot so use less chilli if you can’t take the heat.

It looks really complicated as its a long ingredient list but it really isn’t if you have all or most of the spices.


Spice mix

1/2 tsp Cumin Seeds
1/2 tsp Fennel Seeds
1/2 tsp carom seeds
1/2 tsp Fenugreek seeds
1 tsp Coriander seeds
8 black peppercorns
1 Red dry chill
1/2 small piece of cinnamon
2 cloves
2 Green Cardamon
pinch of Mace if you have it.

I still have some spice mix left over though so I reckon it could make 2 or 3 curry this lot!

300g Tiger Prawns – Uncooked are best.
2 onions chopped
2 large tomatoes
1 Green chilli chopped
1 tsp Coriander powder
1/2 tsp Tumeric powder
1 tsp chilli powder (depending on how hot you like it)
2 tbsp oil
Pinch of asafetida if you have it.
5/6 Curry leaves
1 tsp Mustard seeds
1/2 tbsp garlic ginger paste
small piece of tamarind ( I didn’t have this so just used some tamarind sauce! 1tbsp)
Chopped Coriander
2 cloves of garlic finely sliced.
Large knob of butter

Dry fry the spice mix until it gets fragrant then whiz in a food processor or bash in a pestle and mortar.


Rinse the prawns and add 1/2 tsp turmeric and 1 tsp salt and mix well. Rest for 10 minutes then rinse again.

If using tamarind, soak in 1/2 cup of water for 10 -15 minutes and extract the pulp.

Coarsely chop the onion tomato and green chilli.

Heat some oil in a wok or frying pan and add the asofetida and mustard seeds, when it starts to splutter add the curry leaves, onion, green chilli, ginger garlic paste and sauté until it gets soft.

Then add the chilli powder, turmeric and coriander powder and mix well – cook for a minute.

The add the tomato and cook until it starts looking like a pulp.

Add the tamarind sauce or extract, 1/2 pint of water pinch of salt and bring to the boil then simmer for 2 minutes.

Add 2 tsp of your ground spice mix and boil again then simmer for 5 minutes. At this point I removed half the mixture and put in a food processor and whizzed it up for 10 seconds until it became like a thick lumpy sauce to make it more like a curry house texture but still retaining some of the big chunks of onion in the pan. Mix the sauce back in with the rest and add the slices of garlic.

Cook on a low heat until it becomes thick and keep tasting to see if the flavours are coming through. At this point I added a large knob of butter for some richness and a tsp of sugar. You could also add a splash of white wine vinegar to give it a tangy taste.

When you think the sauce is done and tastes right add the prawns and cook briefly until they are cooked through ( pink) This should not be long so don’t overcook the prawns or they will just be chewy.

Serve with basmati rice and chopped coriander.

You could even stir some spinach through at the end to add a bit of goodness, but I hate spinach 😉

You can probably do this dish with chicken or lamb too but you would add them earlier on at the  Chilli, turmeric and coriander stage.



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