Kerala Prawn Curry

Kerala Prawn Curry, also known as Chemmeen Curry, is a popular seafood dish from the coastal state of Kerala in South India. It is known for its rich and flavorful gravy made with coconut milk and a blend of spices. Here’s a recipe to prepare Kerala Prawn Curry:


  • Prawns, cleaned and deveined: 500 grams
  • Coconut oil: 2 tablespoons
  • Mustard seeds: 1/2 teaspoon
  • Curry leaves: a sprig
  • Onion, finely chopped: 1 large
  • Ginger-garlic paste: 1 tablespoon
  • Green chilies, slit: 2
  • Tomatoes, finely chopped: 2 medium-sized
  • Turmeric powder: 1/2 teaspoon
  • Red chili powder: 1 teaspoon
  • Coriander powder: 1 teaspoon
  • Black pepper powder: 1/2 teaspoon
  • Thick coconut milk: 1 cup
  • Thin coconut milk: 1 cup
  • Tamarind paste: 1 tablespoon
  • Salt to taste
  • Fresh coriander leaves, chopped: for garnish


  1. Heat coconut oil in a deep pan or kadai over medium heat. Add mustard seeds and let them splutter.
  2. Add curry leaves, chopped onions, and a pinch of salt. Sauté until the onions turn golden brown.
  3. Add ginger-garlic paste and slit green chilies. Sauté for a minute until the raw smell disappears.
  4. Add chopped tomatoes and cook until they turn soft and mushy.
  5. In a small bowl, mix together turmeric powder, red chili powder, coriander powder, and black pepper powder with a little water to form a paste. Add this spice paste to the pan and sauté for a minute to cook the spices.
  6. Reduce the heat to low and add the thin coconut milk to the pan. Mix well and let it simmer for 5-7 minutes until the flavors blend together.
  7. Add the cleaned prawns to the pan and stir gently to coat them with the coconut milk gravy. Cook for 5 minutes or until the prawns are cooked through and turn pink.
  8. Stir in the thick coconut milk and tamarind paste. Simmer for a couple of minutes, ensuring that the gravy doesn’t come to a boil.
  9. Adjust the salt according to taste. If the gravy is too thick, you can add a little water or thin coconut milk to achieve the desired consistency.
  10. Garnish with freshly chopped coriander leaves.

Serve the Kerala Prawn Curry hot with steamed rice, appam (rice pancakes), or roti. The creamy and aromatic flavors of this curry make it a delightful and comforting dish for seafood lovers.

Note: You can adjust the spice levels by increasing or decreasing the amount of red chili powder and green chilies according to your preference. Additionally, fresh coconut milk can be extracted from grated coconut or you can use canned coconut milk as a convenient alternative.

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