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Monica Haldar
Monica HaldarPublished on March 25, 2021

I spent my whole Summer in Chennai in 2018 - it was such a memorable time for me. The cuisine of the South is beautiful and vast. There are so many micro-cuisines within this region. Tamil, Keralan, Chettinad, Managlorian, Karnataka – and that’s just to name a few! I learnt this dish from a Tamilian chef whilst I was out there and I have now given it a couple of my own tweaks. It’s a little bit special so give it a try. You can use paneer instead of prawns and it still works a treat.

Happy cooking y’all. Your shikshak, Monica


200 g raw king prawns skinless & deveined. If you are veggy you can use 225g paneer


1/2 tsp turmeric powder

1/4 tsp chilli powder

2 tsp yoghurt

Oil for cooking

1 tsp mustard seeds

1/4 tsp cumin seeds

1 onion 100g, very thinly sliced

20 fresh curry leaves optional (you can add dried but soak in warm water for 10 minutes then drain, ahead of time)

2 cms ginger grated

2 big cloves garlic grated

Small bunch of fresh coriander optional, you just need the stems

1 small tomato diced

2 tsp tomato puree

1-2 chillies as per your taste, finely diced,

3/4 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp coriander powder

1/2 tsp sugar


How to:

1. Place prawns in a bowl. Add the yoghurt and sprinkle on 1/2tsp salt, 1/2 tsp turmeric and 1/4 tsp chilli powder and mix well. Keep aside

2. Heat 4tbsp oil in the pan. Once hot, add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, 1/2 of the curry leaves and onions. (The spices should sizzle as soon as they go in the pan).

3. Mix well and add ¼ tsp salt. Cook the onions for for 3-4 minutes until translucent.

4. Now add the ginger and garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes. (If you feel your pan is looking dry or your ingredients are catching, add a little more oil or add a little water).

5. Once the onions, ginger and garlic look light golden in colour, add the chopped tomato and chilli. Finely chop the coriander stems and add them to the pan too.

6. Now place the tomato puree in a small bowl and about 1/4 cup (60ml) of water. Mix well to form a watery paste, then add this to the pan.

7. Continue to cook on medium heat – you will see the masala paste thicken. When you notice the masala paste release its oil around the edges, lower the heat.

8. Now add 1/4 – 1/2tsp salt (as per your taste), paprika, coriander powder and sugar and continue to cook for 30 seconds. (Again, if you feel the spices are catching, add a little water)

9. Now add the marinated prawns and increase the heat to medium/high. Mix well and cook for a minute. At this point add 1/2 cup (120ml) of water as well as the remaining curry leaves. Mix again and place a lid on top. After a couple of minutes, mix once again and allow to cook for a further 2 minutes with the lid on.

10. You will see the sauce will have thickened and should look nice and glossy. Once the prawns are completely cooked through, Taste for seasoning and adjust accordingly.

11. Turn the heat off and serve with steamed basmati rice, naan or chapatis.

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