Malabar Prawn Curry Recipe

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Malabar prawn curry recipe is a South India Curry which has deep flavour and a creamy finish.

Prawn Curry
Prawn Curry

This curry is a little different to my other curries. The reason for the slight flavour change is this is a South Indian Curry. The recipes in my book “An Indian ThermoKitchen” feature recipes from the North of India.

If any of the spices are unfamiliar to you take a look at this spices page. I have given substitute products and given an explanation for some of the more unusual ingredients.

South Indian V’s North Indian

I’m sure you’re wondering what the difference is between North and South Indian cuisine. Here are some of the differences.

South India

  • Seafood is more prominent as there are loads of coastal communities.
  • Due to the proximity to Asian countries such as Thailand & Malaysia the flavours change and ingredients such as coconut milk and tamarind are included in the recipes.
  • Fresh ingredients such as chili and curry leaves are used more often.

North India

  • Meat is featured in North Indian cooking. Although some religions such as the Sikhs prohibit the eating of meat and vegetarian curries such as Palak Paneer or Red Lentil Dahl are more common.
  • Cream is used when making the gravy (sauce)
  • Ground spices such as garam masala are used to finish the curry.
Typical Kerala Spices
Typical Kerala Spices

I started developing a Thermomix Malabar curry recipe for a lovely lady on our  Facebook group page. Suzanne asked if I would share a recipe for one of her favourite Indian dishes. I really hope she enjoys the dish. Everyone has a favourite rendition of a dish so I have my fingers crossed that my version is close to the one she loves.

Malabar Prawn Recipe
Malabar Prawn Recipe

My family tried the Malabar prawn recipe and it was a huge hit. Even my 10 and 12 year old loved the recipe. They did the usual whinge;

“I hate seafood!” why do we have to have curry all the time…. (blah blah blah). Then I looked up from a phone call I was on and their dishes were clean and they were looking for seconds! Now that’s a win! I even served the curry with brown rice (they hate brown rice!)

Spices for Prawn Malabar
Spices for Prawn Malabar

Then I looked up from a phone call I was on and their dishes were clean and they were looking for seconds! Now that’s a win! I even served the curry with brown rice (they all usually want white rice ONLY!) ALL GONE!

Prawn Malabar Recipe
Prawn Malabar Recipe

Malabar Curry Note

A word of warning. The recipe only serves four people. Most of my dishes on this website will serve 4 adults with leftovers. This dish will serve two adults and two kids. It would also be perfect as a banquet dish. I didn’t want to increase the prawn quantity in the steamer because I felt they wouldn’t cook well enough. Also, I’m not a fan of having leftover seafood dishes in the fridge.

Malabar Prawn Curry FAQ

Can I substitute fish for the prawns?

Yes, you can, just allow a little longer for the fish to cook. I would try 10 minutes, but it will depend on the type of fish and the size of the fish pieces.

Can I substitute chicken for the prawns?

Yes, you can, allow at least 15 minutes of cooking time and slice the chicken into strips for the best results.

What can I use in place of coconut milk?

You can swap the coconut milk for cream.

What is Kashmiri Chilli Powder?

Kashmiri Chili is a mild chili with a smokey flavour. It gives the dish a vibrant red colour.

Can I swap the Kashmiri chili for regular chili?

If you swap the chili, use only 1/4 of the quantity. You won’t get the same colour in the dish.

Prawn Malabar Curry Recipe -PIN ME
Prawn Malabar Curry Recipe -PIN ME

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Malabar Prawn Recipe

Prawn Malabar Recipe

Julie Carlyle
A delicious authentic recipe from South India
5 from 6 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4 people


  • 50 gm vegetable oil or Indian Spiced Ghee for those that have my book
  • 1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 5 curry leaves optional
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 10 gm fresh ginger
  • 15 gm garlic
  • 130 gm brown onion quartered
  • 1-2 fresh long red chilli mild
  • 1 tsp Deggi Mirch Kashmiri Chilli Powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp tamarind paste or pulp
  • 150 gm tomato passata
  • 100 gm vegetable stock
  • 3 tsp jaggery sugar
  • 16 king prawns (400gm unshelled) peel but leave the tail on for presentation
  • 270 gm coconut cream
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp fenugreek leaves optional


  • 1 Tbs vegetable oil or Indian Spiced Ghee for those that have my book
  • 1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 5 fresh curry leaves optional


  • Place the prawns in the internal steam basket and reserve for later.
  • Place the oil, mustard, cumin, corianders seed and 6 curry leaves to TM bowl. Saute 2min/Varoma/ Speed 1.
  • Add the ginger, garlic, fresh chilli and onion to the spice mixture. Blend 6 sec/Speed 9.
  • Scrape down the bowl.
  • Saute 5min/Varoma/ Speed 1 (MC OUT).
  • Add the chilli powder, turmeric, tomato passata, vegetable stock, sugar, salt and tamarind. Blend 30 sec/Speed 9.
  • Place the internal steam basket in the TM bowl. Cook 20 min/100 degrees/Speed 3.5.
  • Add the coconut milk to TM by pouring it over the prawns in the basket. Cook 5 min/100 degree/Speed 4.
  • Remove the internal steam basket and place the prawns in a Thermoserver.
  • Pour the curry sauce over the prawns.


  • Add the oil to a frying pan and heat until hot.
  • Very carefully add the mustard seeds and curry leaves. They will spit! Cook for 5- 10 seconds.
  • To serve, pour the Tarka over the curry whilst hot.
  • Add the Tarka to the top of the Malabar Prawns.
  • Sprinkle fenugreek leaves over the dish to serve.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Also, If you would like to suggest a future recipe, please feel free to message me below.

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Happy Cooking



13 thoughts on “Malabar Prawn Curry Recipe”

  1. SS says:

    Wow I just came across this recipe and your opening statement is really racist. Why would you need to bring Apu into this, a very stereotypical character mocked for generations for the way that he spoke, allowing many people to think it’s fine to imitate and mock actual Indians. The fact that you have even written a book on Indian food makes me think you should know better.

    1. Julie Carlyle says:

      …because I like the Simpsons and Apu, and it never occurred to me that this could be considered racist as it was said with love and humour. I don’t have a racist or mean bone in my body. I love the diversity in our life which comes from having all different cultures in our society. If we don’t see or acknowledge any cultural differences how can we celebrate what a wonderfully rich tapestry they all add to our life?
      I’m sorry if I offended you.

  2. Grace says:

    5 stars
    I’ve tried this 3 times with whatever seafood we’ve had in our freezer stash. It is delicious. My favourite is with barramundi. So quick and easy and soooo delicious

    1. Julie Carlyle says:

      That’s so fabulous to hear! I will have to make it with Barramundi too!! What a great idea 🙂

  3. Kylie says:

    5 stars
    This was a lovely flavourful curry and a doddle to make. The only change I made was to steam some vegetables to add to the prawns. Thank you for a delicious recipe, I look forward to purchasing your Indian cookbook!

  4. Andreya says:

    wow! It looks soo delicious. I like prawn and fish very much. definitely gonna try and hope this will be perfect with rice. Thanks for sharing the recipe 🙂

    1. Julie Carlyle says:

      My pleasure! I hope you enjoy the recipe 🙂

  5. Suzanne Ward says:

    Thank you for producing this at my request! What fabulous service. I am yet to try it as I have been out of the country for a couple of months. On my to do list now! It sounds just like I have made before on the stove top so I am sure it will be amazing! Thank you again. 🙂

  6. Emily says:

    5 stars
    This looks fantastic, I love currys but have no idea where to start when making them myself. Thanks so much for sharing!

  7. Elizabeth says:

    5 stars
    My goodness, this sounds heavenly! I can almost smell the gorgeous spices through my screen!

  8. Laura says:

    5 stars
    Great photo and recipe, I will try to combine all the spices listed to make my own curry. I prefer to have a lighter curry for seafood. Hopefully, I will find most here in France. Thank you

  9. Allison - Celebrating Sweets says:

    Look at all those spices- yum! This looks like a fabulous dish!

  10. Kim @ Three Olives Branch says:

    5 stars
    This looks incredible! I love all of the spices and flavors you have here, I will definitely be trying this!

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