Kerala Prawn Fry


Growing up, we always had some kind of seafood cooked at home. So in a way, rice and fish was and always will be staple food for me. Also, growing up in Mumbai meant that we had excellent quality and variety of seafood available locally. I have such fond memories of my mom standing in the kitchen cooking fish or prawns for my sister and me. She cooked them in so many ways that one could never get bored eating them. However, this is not one of her dishes! It’s just that my mother loved her fish-fare, and she’s surely passed this love on to me – I cannot cook or relish seafood and not think of her.

The recipe of the day is one that has been lovingly passed down to me by Susheel’s (my husband) mom. Another mom who loves fish! When my husband and I were living in Hyderabad after our wedding, often she would get some prawns with her usual purchase of fish from the market and prepare this dish for us. What is great about it is that there is no ceremony to this dish; it is Kerala style Prawn Fry, quite simply. It’s not a masala fry, pepper fry or anything like that. It is a traditional Malayali preparation, in that, the ingredients  used in the dish such as, coconut oil, black mustard seeds, curry leaves etc. represent and exemplify the tradition taste of Keralan cuisine.

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Prep time: 10 minutes

You will need:

  1. Prawns- 300 gms, cleaned, de-veined and de-shelled
  2. Onions- 1 large, sliced
  3. Garlic- 7-8 cloves, sliced
  4. Ginger- 2” piece, julienned
  5. Green chillies- 2 nos, slit in the middle
  6. Curry leaves- 2 sprigs
  7. Coconut oil- 2 big tablespoons
  8. Turmeric powder- ½ tsp
  9. Red chilli powder- 2 tsp
  10. Black pepper powder- 1 tsp
  11. Back mustard seeds- 1 tsp
  12. Salt- to taste



  1. In a small pot, add the fresh prawns, a pinch of salt, ¼ tsp turmeric powder, 1 tsp red chilli powder and a tiny splash of water. Mix well and cook covered for 5 minutes on low-medium heat. You will see the prawns curling up and getting firm and having a very orangish hue to it. Remove from heat and set aside on a plate.

(Note– if there is some masala water from the cooking of the prawns, please keep it aside to be used later in the cooking.


  1. While the prawns are cooking, slice the onions, ginger, garlic and green chilies. Place a pan on medium-high heat and splutter the black mustard seeds in oil. (the mustard seeds are to be added only after the oil is literally smoking hot)
  2. Now fry the onions till they are light brown and then add the ginger juliennes along with the sliced garlic, slit green chillies and the curry leaves. Sauté for 2-3 minutes or until the raw taste disappears.
  3. Add the remaining turmeric and red chilli powder now and fry for 1 minute. If you feel the dry spices are burning then add the masala water kept aside from the cooking of the prawns. Mix this well and cook for 1-2 minutes or until the mixture is well cooked.
  4. Add the previously cooked prawns to the mixture and combine well. Add the black pepper powder and check for the salt. Fry the prawns till it is well coated in the onion masala and gets a little crispy. (we don’t want to overcook the prawns so taste one and decide if further frying is required)
  5. Once, the prawns are fried well, remove on a plate and serve hot with accompaniment of choice. Enjoy!


I hope you like this recipe just like I do!

I look forward to your comments and experience of cooking this dish.





8 Comments Add yours

  1. cook&learn says:

    Wow…that looks super delicious 🙂 thanks for sharing this..


    1. susanabraham says:

      Hey Thanks a lot!


  2. Shonnel Carr says:

    Tried this dish last night and it was one of the best prawn dishes I had! So simple and easy to make. Everyone at home loved it too & I’m sure we’ll be making this dish on many more occasions to come 🙂

    Look forward to more recipes from you Susan.


    1. susanabraham says:

      Thank you so much dear😘❤️


  3. Looks delish 😊


  4. tanha lalwani says:

    This dish was just wow.. made it last night with vegetable pulao and my husband simply loved it. Can’t wait to try your other recipes too.


    1. susanabraham says:

      Thank you so much Tanha! I’m so glad you liked the dish and thank you for sharing your review with me. Made my day!


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