Kerala Style Sweet and Spicy Prawn Fry

Author :
Michelle Peters - Jones at The Tiffin Box
Recipe with pictures and further instructions:

1 bag (400g) large frozen prawns, peeled, but ideally with the tails left on, thawed
2 tablespoons coconut oil (or any other unscented oil) + a little extra
1 large onion, diced fine
2 small tomatoes, diced fine
1 teaspoon sugar


1 inch piece of ginger, finely chopped
3 - 4 teaspoons red wine vinegar
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
Salt to taste

Spice paste

5 long mild red chillies (or 1 tablespoon mild Kashmiri chilly powder, see notes)
About ½ cup hot water
4 - 5 cloves of garlic, crushed


1 tablespoon coconut or unscented oil
10 - 15 curry leaves


Marinate the prawns -  Place the thawed, cleaned prawns in a bowl, and add the ginger, red wine vinegar, turmeric and about 1 teaspoon of salt (or to taste) Place in the fridge for at lease 1 hour.

Make the spice paste -  Soak the dried chillies in the hot water, topping up with a little extra, if required for about 5 - 10 minutes. Drain, reserving the water. Blend to a fine paste with the garlic cloves, adding about 2 tablespoons of the reserved chilli soaking water, or as required to make a loose spice paste. Keep aside. Or - place the mild Kashmiri chilli powder in a bowl, add the crushed garlic and water to make a spice paste. Reduce water to 1/4 cup if making this version.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil, and add the onions and tomatoes. Fry together for about 5 minutes, then remove to a bowl and keep aside. 

Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in the same pan. Add the prawns and marinade, and fry on a high heat until the prawns just turn pink. Take off the heat, and remove to another bowl. 

Reduce the heat and add the spice paste to the pan, and fry for about 3 - 4 minutes, stirring constantly, and adding a little more oil, if required. 

Add the onions and tomatoes to the pan, and fry together for another 4 - 5 minutes. 

Stir in the prawns and fry together for another 2 - 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt. 

Stir in the sugar, and adjust seasoning to your taste. 

To make the garnish, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a small pan, and toss in the curry leaves. Sizzle for about 30 - 40 seconds, then pour over the whole thing into the prawn fry. 

Serve hot with rice.