Mangalorean Prawn Curry Recipe (Coconut-Based Prawn Ghassi)

A pile of ground tumeric on a granite surface

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  • Total: 40 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 30 mins
  • Yield: 4 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
634 Calories
31g Fat
29g Carbs
64g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 servings
Amount per serving
Calories 634
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 31g 40%
Saturated Fat 14g 68%
Cholesterol 500mg 167%
Sodium 1651mg 72%
Total Carbohydrate 29g 10%
Dietary Fiber 9g 31%
Protein 64g
Calcium 298mg 23%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

In this popular Malvani (from the western coast of India) curry, the delicate flavors of coconut are a perfect complement to the taste of the prawns. It is a dish that overlaps Goan and Mangalorean-style dishes—coastal Indian communities famous for their cuisine. In this curry recipe, prawns are cooked in coconut oil with a spicy tamarind gravy. Make the most of this dish by serving it over a bed of rice alongside garlic naan. 

Authentic, delicious fish recipes in India are also known as machli. Various regions of India offer different takes on seafood, particularly fish and prawn dishes. True to its seaside orientation, Mangalorean cuisine is almost primarily made up of seafood. The people there eat seafood multiple times a day and mainly live off of the foods that the tropical climate provides such as coconut.


  • 5 red chilies (dry)
  • 3 large onions (chopped fine)
  • 2 cups coconut (fresh grated)
  • 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons black peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 tablespoons garlic paste
  • 2 pounds/1 kilogram shrimp (or prawns, medium-sized, shelled, and deveined)
  • Salt to taste
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons tamarind (walnut-sized ball, soaked in hot water, and pulp removed)
  • Garnish: chopped fresh coriander

Steps to Make It

  1. Roast the dry red chilies on a hot pan till they begin to release their aroma.

  2. Grind all the spices, coconut, two onions, garlic, and tamarind pulp into a smooth, thick paste. Do not add any water while grinding the masala.

  3. Heat the oil in a wide, heavy-bottomed pan on a medium flame. Add the remaining onion and fry till golden.

  4. Add the wet masala paste and fry, frequently stirring, till the oil begins to separate from the masala.

  5. Add 1 1/2 cups of hot water to this masala and stir to mix well.

  6. Bring to a boil, simmer, and add the prawns. Cook for three minutes and turn off the heat.

  7. Garnish with chopped fresh coriander and serve with plain boiled rice.


  • Frozen shrimp: Most shrimp come frozen. To quick-thaw before cooking, put the amount you need in a ziplock bag, remove the air as best as you can, then run the bagged shrimp under a steady stream of running cool water for 5 to 10 minutes. If not bagged, the shrimp can become waterlogged.
  • Overcooked shrimp: Avoid overcooking your shrimp. The recipe calls for three minutes, but turn off the heat sooner if the shrimp have turned pink and are starting to curl up.
  • Garnishing Indian food: This is easy with almonds, grooved lemon slices, finely chopped fresh herbs such as fresh coriander or cilantro, as well as julienned orange peels. These all serve as creative ways to make the presentation of your dish appealing. 
  • Big family meals: An excellent way to stretch the dish for larger parties or family get-togethers is to double the gravy in this recipe and add fish to the second half of the sauce. It will give you two distinct dinners that more people can enjoy.