Prawn Curry

I love prawns. I actually am just a general seafood lover – it’s so funny when Ben and I go out to dinner together. He always orders steak and I order fish/prawns/crab.

Prawn curry is really nostalgic for me, it was always a real treat when my mom made it for us, as prawns are so expensive. It can get even more expensive when you have three prawn-eating monsters to feed! My mom would thoughtfully de-shell and de-vein each prawn, and her curry was always delicious.

As usual, feel free to modify this recipe, you can add coconut milk/cream (just a splash) to add a richness to the curry, you could roughly chop up some peanuts and throw them in too. If you prefer a more sour curry, then add more tomatoes. My mom likes a very peppery prawn curry, so she adds a lot of pepper at the end.

I do sometimes pack this up for lunches for the week, but it does go kind of weird in the tupperware and when I re-heat. It’s like the ocean separates from the prawns, and there’s this odd water-y stuff that seeps into the lunchbox. Not that it’s inedible, it’s still tasty, but if you’re not keen on it, just do you 🙂


Total Prep and Cooking Time: 1 hour (if you are good at time management and multi-tasking)

Note: I use Baba’s meat curry powder in my curries, you can find these packets in any Indian grocery and some Asian grocery stores. Make sure you get the yellow packet for  fish and prawn curries. Pictured below:

Fish Curry Powder


Source: Adapted from my mom’s instructions over the phone, and then tweaked for personal preference

Serves: My recipe uses 1 kg of king prawns (de-shelled), it makes about 10 servings.


3 tbsp of vegetable oil or butter

½ stick cinnamon

5 cloves

1 star anise

1 tsp fennel seeds

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 large red onion (fine dice)

5 cloves garlic (crush first to remove skin and get juices running, then fine dice / mince)

2 tomatoes (large dice – 1 half tomato cut into 6 pieces)

2 tbsp Baba’s fish curry powder (heaped)

2 tsp chilli powder

2 tsp minced ginger


1kg king prawns (de-shelled)

Salt and pepper to taste

Jasmine rice to serve (1 cup rice to 1.5 cups water)


  1. Hot pan, oil/butter in first with all spices. Fry in pan until spices become aromatic.
  2. Put onion, garlic and tomatoes in next, fry off until skin is peeling away from tomatoes and flesh of tomatoes becomes soft and gooey. Keep an eye on the pan during this phase, ensure you are scraping the bottom of the pan every so often to ensure it’s not burning. Onions and garlic should become translucent.
  3. Put curry powder, chilli powder and minced ginger in with approx. 250 ml water (what am I saying, I never measure out the water. Put enough water in the pan that all powders dissolve and almost covers the onion and tomatoes). Cook down until you see bubbles on the surface of the curry paste. Stir at this point (make sure you scrape the bottom of the pan) and then cook down again. Repeat until you can see the oil separate from the paste in the bubbles.
  4. Sometimes, I do blitz up the curry paste in the blender, it just looks more refined, and less rustic than if you had all the bits in their original form. Completely optional for you, if you do decide to do it, blitz away, then return to the pan.
  5. Put the prawns in to the pan, give it a toss to coat the prawns with the curry, add just a splash of water to encourage cooking. I would be a bit reticent with the amount of water added to this curry, as if you add too much water, then you risk the prawns overcooking. I would say, add the water gradually. You really want this to be a more dry sort of curry, not prawns drowning in curry. Cook until the prawns turn pink.
  6. Add salt and pepper for taste.
  7. The curry is now ready to be served.

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