Masala Prawns

A light, quick and enlivening supper dish, this version of masala prawns is somewhere between a ‘wet’ and a ‘dry’ curry, with just enough sauce to stick to the shellfish and moisten the rice.

This is easily enough for supper for two. Increase the prawns to 450g if you’re serving four and add an extra onion and another tomato. Everything else can stay the same.

If you want to make it richer and dial down the heat a tad, stir through a tablespoon of double cream at the end.

Masala Prawns

Image of Masala PrawnsIngredients:

250g king prawns, shelled and deveined

A squeeze of lemon juice

2 tbsp oil

Salt and pepper

1/2 tspn cumin seeds

1/2 tspn mustard seeds

1 large or 2 small onions, peeled and finely sliced

1 thumb of ginger, peeled and grated

4 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed

1 chilli, red or green, slit lengthways

5 or 6 curry leaves (optional)

1/2 tspn powdered turmeric

1/2 tspn coriander powder

1/2 tspn chilli powder

1/2 tspn garam masala

A pinch of sugar

2 large tomatoes, skinned, de-seeded and finely chopped

About 70 ml water

1 tbsp chopped fresh coriander

Optionally: 1 tbsp double cream

Fresh coriander, to garnish

Lime or lemon wedges, to serve


Marinate the prawns with a squeeze of lemon juice, a pinch of salt and some freshly ground black pepper and set to one side.

Heat the oil in a pan and add the cumin and mustard seeds. Cook until they’re sputtering, then add the onions. Saute until golden. Add the garlic and ginger, curry leaves, whole chilli and remaining spices and fry for a few minutes more.

Pour in the chopped tomatoes and cook until they have broken down into a thick sauce. Add the water and cook down until the sauce has thickened again and the flavours have amalgamated. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste, adding a pinch of sugar if it’s too acidic.

Throw in the prawns and cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they are pink and tender. Stir in the chopped fresh coriander and the cream, if using.

Serve over steamed rice or, if you have leftover cooked rice, stir-fry with browned onions, garlic and ginger, spices and a handful of peas. Not perhaps terribly authentic but very tasty.

Garnish with more coriander and wedges of lime or lemon.

2 thoughts on “Masala Prawns

  1. This looks gorgeous – I’m going to make it over Christmas as a complete contrast to the usual fare (lovely though that is!).

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