Prawn Curry
Indian Recipe

This quick, flavorful curry comes from my dear friend Leela Manilal, who has been making it for more than 50 years. Add some fluffy basmati rice and your favorite chutney for a superb yet simple Indian feast.


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3–4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon+ 1 teaspoon crushed garlic
~ water
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
2/3 cup tamarind water*
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 medium tomatoes, cut in eights
2 whole Thai or serrano chiles, stems removed
3–4 curry leaves**
1/2 cup canned coconut milk
1 pound prawns, # 21–25 (count per pound), shelled and de-veined
~ cilantro, for decoration
*Small blocks of dried tamarind pulp are available in ethnic grocery stores or online at e-stores such as Make the tamarind water by breaking off a 2-inch piece and soaking it in 1 cup of water until softened. Press the pulp through a strainer catching all of the liquid. Discard fibrous materials. Refer to our illustrated, step-by-step guide on How to Make Tamarind Water.**Locate curry leaves at the above sources.

1. Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pan over medium high heat until sizzling.

2. Add the onion and sauté until golden brown. Adjust the heat as needed to prevent burning.

3. Lower the heat to medium-low and stir in the crushed garlic. Cook for 30 seconds. Add a tablespoon of water, if needed, to prevent burning.

4. Add the coriander, cumin and chili powder and cook for 10–15 seconds.

5. Pour in the tamarind and stir well.

6. Add the salt, pepper, tomatoes, whole chiles and curry leaves, and cook until the tomatoes break down and blend into the mixture.

7. Stir in the coconut milk and bring to a bubbly simmer.

8. Add the prawns and cook until the prawns are pink and cooked through—Approximately 3 minutes.

9. Transfer to a serving bowl and decorate with cilantro.

Preparation Time: 
Under 40 minutes.